Leaving the comfort of Australia, I arrived in the unfamiliar, foreign land of Fiji… a different place, climate, and people, but the same God.
Along with the 75 other students in the Youthworks Year 13 Gap Year program, we were given opportunities to learn how the Fijians live, eat, work and function as a society. We then learnt to apply this to our teaching, ministry, and relationships.
From organised ministry at youth groups, churches and schools, to unplanned opportunities with workers, and shopkeepers, we shared the gospel with many people.
I quickly learnt that the mission was God’s, not ours, which meant that things often did not go as planned. Sometimes we were disappointed or confused, like when our homestay visit with a family was suddenly cancelled.
Other times we were overjoyed with surprise opportunities, like when we turned up to a local primary school in Suva, prepared for a single 15-minute assembly, only to leave having done 17, simultaneous classes.
My highlight was the ten days spent in the small village of Nakavu, where I was welcomed into the home of a beautiful family from the Methodist Church. We were totally immersed into the village life, living with the people and learning from them.
So much of the mission was unstructured, playing with the children at the stunning Navua River, forming friendships which provided many amazing chats. This has made me realise the importance of investing in children outside set hours of ministry events.
Most of all, I was challenged to be totally reliant on prayer, not only when things go wrong, or as a backup, but as the most important thing for effective ministry.
I am so thankful for each and every one of you, for your generosity in prayer and financial support. Lives were changed in Fiji, and my life was certainly one of them.
Jemimah McNeill – Year 13 student