I am a bit late with September’s thoughts…I was off the grid, having a fantastic time in the Pacific. Vanuatu was like going home. Seeing familiar faces, meeting new friends, opening my own coconut to drink…what more could a girl ask for.
I was privileged to be the keynote speaker and lecturer at the 2nd National conference of Elim Somang church and again I was overwhelmed with kindness, honour and love. How do I even begin to tell of all the great things The Lord has done. Healing miracles were the order of the day, but more significant is the breakthrough people experienced. After teaching on women’s role in the church and the misconceptions of women in ministry, for the first time ever brothers and sisters prayed for each other, blessing and honouring one another as equals in the body of Christ. Contrary to custom this was a significant shift in the church. Not bad for a day’s work!
Three times, during the evening altar call The Lord confirmed His work by the weather. The first time, as I was praying, asking Holy Spirit to “blow through this place”, a gust of wind swept through the assembly. A hush fell…we were paying attention. The second time, a local pastor was praying. It was overcast, not a glimmer of sunshine in sight, but as he prayed for The Lord to shine His light into our hearts, the clouds parted and everyone was bathed in bright sunlight. As soon as the altar call finished, the cloud cover returned, not to shift again all day. That same evening, on the final altar call before declaring the conference closed, I was praying over the delegates, asking Holy Spirit for a fresh and new anointing. A gentle mist started to fall – we could feel it but nobody got wet! Again, as soon as the altar call was over the mist stopped falling. God was indeed in that place and as delegated recognised that, they decided to stay on. Three days later they will still on Ifira, worshipping, dancing, praying and praising God. How do you even describe in words the joy you feel, as God’s servant, when you hear that people stayed up all night, praying, praising and worshipping The Lord?
Too soon it was time to depart for my first visit to Fiji. I feel very much like one of the 12 spies, sent to look over the promised land. My report…there are giants there! Those Fijian brothers are big guys, for sure. Again, I was so blessed and privileged to be the house guest of a local family. How awesome to experience life as no tourist will ever see a country. It was a humbling and novel experience having to draw water from the well before you could wash anything – including yourself.
People are poor there, but so much richer than we are in the west. My hosts slept on mats in the kitchen so that I could have a bed, everything is shared. It reminded me of the Christians described in the book of Acts…”they had all things in common, nobody lacked”. Food, cars, equipment, joy and sorrow – all is used for the common good. As we were waiting for a bus at the side of the village road, I saw a small group of people walking down the road. One man was wearing a single flip-flop and as I was still trying to comprehend what I was seeing, another walked past, wearing the other flip-flop. I guess the road got a bit long and they share and share alike. That spoke so much to me of the heart of Fiji and it’s people.
Again, healing miracles happened, people were delivered of demons and The Lord lifted many heavy burdens off His children. Families were restored as truth was revealed during lecture times. On the last night the Holy Spirit broke out and together we sang, danced, wept and feasted. Again, as people realised their God was truly present in their place, no-one was in any hurry to go to bed. After dropping his family and guests home and settling in for the night, my host received another phone call. As the only church member owning a car, he was called upon to drive a mother in labour to hospital, so he made another trip into Nausori. Good thing his wife tagged along…little Speedy was born on the back seat just as they reached the hospital. All in a days work in Fiji!
So here I am, sitting at my dining table, reflecting on a trip that is so hard to put into words. People ask me “So, how was it?” and I say “Great, thanks for asking. God is good”. They seem too relieved that I don’t say “you should have been there” or something similarly “judgmental”, as “we’re not all called to be a missionary, you know!” Like I said, the people I have been with are poor, but so much richer than you will ever know.
Revelation 3:17 NIV
You say , ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.