Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sa vinaka na Kalou! (God is so good!)

Ministry all day everyday.....I love it!

I have just recently returned to Nadi after being gone for over two weeks on another island called Vanua Levu. I traveled there by boat and returned by plane. Traveling around Fiji these past few months has been such a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Wherever I am a home is there with a precious family to take me in and care for me. And God is constantly providing people my age in those homes as a source of companionship and fellowship. I love how God is going before me, knowing my every need before I see it.

The first week I was in a small area called Nabouwalu where the main part of town consisted of only two shops, the open market, post office, and police post. One never knew when the electricity would be working, and the nearest internet connection was five hours away. I stayed with Pastor Vilitati, a Fijian EE field worker, and his family. The church was right next to their home. Pastor Vilitati has such a passion for youth and evangelism. The Lord is truly using him in these areas as he is overseer of all youth ministry in Vanua Levu. I have grown close to him. He is such an example to me and has become like a father to me. My time there was relaxing and wonderful. I was humbled by their way of living. I was able to spend a great amount of time with the youth there encouraging them in their faith and calling while building relationships with them. I also traveled to a nearby village to speak at a youth gathering where I was able to challenge them in taking every moment to serve Christ wholeheartedly.

The second week I was in another town called Labasa(one of the main towns on the island). Several Fijian EE workers and I conducted an EE clinic at one of the biggest churches in town. There were twenty-two trainees from four different churches who attended the clinic. The trainers came from different places in Fiji to help with the clinic. Most of the trainers I had already known from past clinics so it was a nice little reunion. It was a blessing to see these trainers serve and make themselves available to help with another clinic. God is continuing to build up these youth to lead and equip others in sharing the Gospel. Many of them will be attending the youth conference I am organizing for December, so I am really looking forward to spending more time with them. All the trainees were so encouraged by the clinic. As a result, the host church will be starting a thirteen week semester of EE among their congregation! This week their church is fasting as they prepare to implement EE and recruit church members to train. Two of the youth trainers will be conducting the teaching during the semester. Praise God for those who are ready to do His work and proclaim Christ! During this week I stayed with another pastor and his family. I felt so at home with them. It was a wonderful time of bonding and sharing. I was also able to have several tutoring sessions with their daughter Ana who has been struggling in math. I really enjoyed using my background to help her. This family has taken me in as part of their family.

Since being back in Nadi, we have been preparing for the six week Implementation Field Worker(IFW) Training. We will be training over thirty people from India, Spain, Vanuatu, Fiji, Malaysia, African nations, etc to be full-time EE workers. It is a beautiful thing to fellowship with believers from all over the world! I am also working on further plans for the partnership of Kid’s EE with One Hope. It is such an exciting time. There is so much work to be done!

Prayer Requests:

Follow-up with the EE clinic just completed in Labasa

Finalizing plans for the December youth conference

IFW Training

One Hope & Kid’s EE partnership (preparing to launch new workshops globally)

Anshu (young Indian girl who received Christ during one of my OJTs)

Talatala Orisi, Radini Paulini, Jovesa, & family in Labasa :)

Hanging out with the kids after church

Precious children who have been trained in Kid's EE

Teaching the kids action songs during Sunday School

Me & Isimeli Maba

The clinic group

Break time: Seva, Bale, & Rusi

Some of the trainees at the clinic

EE clinic at Evangel Temple, Labasa

My OJT team during the clinic: Mere & Luisa....such godly passionate women!

Talatala Vilitati's church

after church with some of the gals, wearing my new jaba hehe

hanging out with some of the little boys

Saturday= youth day...visiting Buna in the hospital

Talatala Vilitati's house where I stayed in Nabouwalu....gunuti (breakfast)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kalou yalo dina - You, God, are so faithful

the church leaders praying for Tevita who was part of the EE course last year that I attended at is now studying to be a pastor!!!
cici! rruuunnn and not grow weary, we will rise :)
youth gathering at Lomaivuna church

Pastor Manoa(EE field worker)'s new church held in his home, such beautiful people!

Lomaivuna church, so blessed by them!

Chief's house where we stayed in Navolau village, I slept in the right upperhand corner hehe

ohhh my girls! so great, wearing our chubas hehe

home visitation in Suva in a very poor area...with Radini Taina and Radini Alisi. sharing and praying with this lovely Indian Christian

another home visitation in underprivileged area, girl sitting next to me is Sangeeta (read about her story below)

Pastor Manoa's wonderful family!
food in the highlands! so good!

performing the action chorus with the youth at the church service, i am so Fijian! hehe

speaking at the youth gathering, encouraging the youth

Elenore and I in the village amidst the busyness during the wedding

groom and the best man in their traditional wear

maid of honor, flowergirl, and bride - love the outfits

relatives pouring in with their Fiji wear

Me & Tevita - such a good brother to me!

mmhhmm roroball(made from taro plant leaves and coconut milk fried witha boiled egg inside & dalo)

fellowship & worship - love it!

entrance to the village, so scenic :)

village homes

hanging out with the kids of course!

Bula Vinaka :)

Vinaka Jisu (Thank you Jesus) for His goodness and faithfulness! The past few weeks I traveled to 2 different areas of Viti Levu (the largest island of Fiji where I live). I was able to spend one week in a village called Navolau which is way up in the highlands in a very remote area. The week after I traveled to a small town in Suva (Fiji's capital city).When I left Nadi I did not know what to expect of my time in the village and Suva, I just prayed that my time in those areas would be fruitful.

Well, my time away from the EE training centre was more than what I hoped for. The first week away I traveled to Navolau village with Elenore Beach (EE worker for people groups who was such an encouragement and inspiration as she shared so much wisdom about cross-cultural missions with me. Her family had been on the mission field in Guatemala for many years) and the family of Isikeli, a Fiji EE field worker. It was a long first day. We took the bus from Nadi to Suva and were pretty crammed in the bus. It was a 4 hour ride. Then Isikeli and Tevita picked us up and we went food shopping before driving up to the village(another 2 hours). We had to do the shopping then because there would be no towns or shops near the village to do so. The village is up in the mountains in a remote area where you are surrounded by the jungle pretty much(lots of vegetation). There is no electricity and water comes from small rivers. Certain homes in the village had generators that they would turn on from 6-10pm. During the week I was able to spend lots of time with the youth and children.

The people in the village often walk about 3.5 km to get to church. They walk on bad roads that are muddy and rocky. I took that walk twice by moonlight. Whew! My calves were sore after that haha....I'm walking like a true Fijian now :) There was lots of rain while were in the village, so the weather was windy and chilly. One evening I spoke at the youth gathering at church. The young people were so blessed as I stayed and bonded with them. I got really close to people such as Isikeli's kids: Sokoveti, Timaima, Seta, and Una as well as Tevita's sister Emele. I encouraged them to be ‘salt and light’ in this world where we need to go against the current of this world, to be set apart. I told the youth to feel free to come to me about anything. Some of the teenage girls had such great questions, "How do we grow closer to God?"...."How do we discover God's Will for us?" I was so glad to be able to share my own experiences with them. The youth also taught me two Fijian action choruses (dances) to Fijian Gospel songs. Every night we would gather to fellowship and sing together where I was able to learn more Fijian worship songs. I praise God for being able to do things I love - dance and worship ministry! I also got to practice my Fijian a ton and learn more hehe

The Fijian culture is so communal. There was a traditional wedding in the village, and it was beautiful to see the village come together for one another helping in need. There are so many rituals and customs during a wedding. People poured into the village from many different places and the village was a busy place for a few days. Tons of handmade mats, pillows, blankets were exchanged among the bride and groom's family. 3 cow were killed for the wedding!

On Sunday church was an all day event. I was able to share my testimony and perform the Fijian dances with the youth during the afternoon service. The worship team even called me up to sing a Fijian gospel song with them during the service hehe The people of Navolau are such beautiful people with huge hearts! I had grown so close to Isikeli's family and many of the youth and children. They did not want me to leave and even offered land for me to build on and live there.

The second week away I stayed at Pastor Manoa's (Fiji EE field worker) house in Nakasi. Pastor Manoa has started a new church that is currently meeting in his home. I immediately developed a close bond with his wife, Alisi. She has a wonderful testimony and is a great leader along with her husband. He and his wife speak Hindi fluently and are able to minister to the Indian families in addition to Fijian ones in the area. They hold two services on Sundays, one Hindi and one Fijian. I was truly touched by their ministry. Their home is open 24/7 for anyone with a need. Their home is a home of prayer. People are always in and out of their home to share burdens or praises through singing and prayer. Everyday there are testimonies of God's love and power:

One afternoon, Pastor Manoa’s wife, I and a church member visited the homes where underprivileged families stay (receiving social welfare). We went to different homes praying for the families and sharing the Gospel. I was able to share with one boy, Fareez, who is from a Muslim background. As I was sharing I could see God open his heart. After sharing he prayed to receive Jesus Christ! Then I asked him, "How do you feel Fareez?" He replied, "I feel so good and at peace." The next day I went to buy him a Bible, and amazingly God provided me with free Bibles, tracts, and clothes from the staff of Nabua Bible Society. They were so encouraged by the outreach we had been doing that they gave us all the stuff for free.

In addition, at the homes I met a young girl named Wati. She is Indian but speaks fluent Fijian and attends a local Methodist Church. She had attended a mission school before but didn’t finish. Pastor Manoa's wife told me that she has been attending church for the social atmosphere and needs guidance on her personal walk with the Lord. I was able to encourage her on both growing externally through church and youth gatherings as well as the internal growth, thus spending time with the Lord daily through prayer and reading the Word of God. I was able to share with her about how my intimate relationship with the Lord took much effort and time. Her eyes were so big listening to me speak, I knew she was just taking in my every word. I could see it start to click in her head.

Also one afternoon I visited other underprivileged homes with some of the church youth to an Indian family: Shyam Rati (mom), Sanjesh - (son), and Sangeeta - (daughter who is deaf). These are Christians who have been ridiculed and disowned by their relatives. Their mom had sacrificed much to provide for her children. The daughter had a beautiful love story – she had traveled to New Zealand several years ago to attend a deaf youth conference where, via email met a young deaf man who lives in New York. Friendship grew into love and 3 years later the young man flew to Fiji to marry her! Things like this come only from God! Now she is just waiting for her visa to be approved so she can move to the States to be with her husband. I was so encouraged by her story! I was able to use the limited sign language I know to communicate with her. She kept saying, "I'm so happy to meet you!"

Ministry of outreach is happening. People are opening their hearts to the Lord! There is no other place I'd rather be, and no other place I should be than here in Fiji doing the work of the Lord. Thank you for your prayers and support.

I've been back in Nadi for almost a week. This past week a Theology course was held where I was an auditor of the teaching. The course was on Old Testament prophecy. I learned a ton! Such great stuff on how God used prophets then to speak to His people regarding obedience, judgment, and blessing. 9 nations came together for this course. It was fun being able to fellowship with EE leaders from around the world and even see people from back home :)

I've also become more aware of how to handle cross-cultural conflict on the mission field. I know struggles come and go. I praise God that He is sovereign and going before us in all things! It's a battlefield.

It only gets busier from here.....woo hoo! I'm ready!

Please be praying for –
Fareez as he matures as a new believer
Wati as she learns to spend time with the Lord daily
Sangeeta as she waits for her marriage visa approval and travel plans finalized
Pastor Manoa's home church for growth and land to build a church
Fiji EE field workers as they continue to raise support and build up EE in their regions
Myself as I travel to Vanua Levu at the end of this month to spend time with youth in Nabouwalu and in Labasa to help with an EE clinic

To God be all praise and glory,
Sarah Abadines

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sa Vakarau - Ready

Walking in to the song "Ni Lumuti Au"


"Turaga....." (see me? hehe)

Mekke time!

ohhhh boys

the lovely girls (minus Lirae)

with Seru! (like my pretty sulu?)

Sally & I with the Primal Youth group

Now it's almost been 2 months that I've been in Fiji - crazyness. I was recently in Australia where I was mentally and spiritually renewed - Vinaka Jisu (Thank you Jesus). Last week I was able to devote my time and energy to planning/organizing for the December Fijian youth conference. I'm really looking forward to everything coming together. We are expecting 25 Fijian youth to attend from all over Fiji. The conference will focus on building up the spiritual foundations of these youth as well as in areas of leadership and evangelism. It will be an awesome time of growth, fellowship, and outreach. The details are slowly coming together, and I praise God that He is going before us in this task. I will continue to work on preparing for the conference in the coming months.
This past week I also spent time with Seru and the Primal Youth of a C3 church here in Nadi. Seru is such a great leader! He is so loved by the youth and is doing a wonderful job caring for the youth there. Sally and I attended their dance practice this past Wednesday where we were able to learn a mekke (Fijian dance) to a Fijian gospel song. The youth were so welcoming and fun, I truly enjoyed myself. Then Friday we were able to attend their church conference and perform the dance with the youth group. The conference included dance/musical performances from different C3 churches of Fiji as well as worship and a sermon from a New Zealand youth pastor. We had such a good time that evening. I love being able to build relationships here in Nadi and encourage youth.

I've also been learning more and more of the Fijian language which has been a blessing. I thank God that it comes fairly easy to me :) God is SO GOOD!

The first 2 weeks of September I will be traveling to Lomaivuna (a village in the highlands of Viti Levu island) and to Nausori(near Suva) to spend time with the Fijian EE IFWs(Implementation Field Workers) and their youth there. I'm excited to be able to serve and build up the ministries there. Please be praying for my time there, that it will be fruitful.

Also be praying for:
more preparation for the December conference(finances, promotion, etc.)
health and safety while traveling
EE World Network Leaders meetings in Nadi (Sept. 1-14)
Theology Course in Nadi (Sept. 14-19)
EE clinic at Evangel Temple Church in Labasa (Oct. 5-9)
Colossians 1:17 "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Naduri village

US team with Pastor nakiti, Ima, and Viliame

Katie & I with the tiger shark the fishermen of the village caught

Ima & I doing registration for the clinic

The wonderful ladies preparing our food....several times a day

mmhmmm tea time of sugar cane, bananas, and coconuts to drink

Diane(Ratu Peni's granddaughter) & I....her and I got close :)

watching the sunrise with some of the trainees

fresh clams

octopus :)

pufferfish off the island we went to

lovely ladies during our tea break

bathroom on the left, shower on the right

Me with precious Nena!

One of the many poisonous black and white snakes on the little island, eek!

gorgeous view!!

group photo of the clinic! (behind us is a historic landmark where they used to bury people alive =/ lol)
Elenoa & I chillen on the beach, she's so sweet!

wonderful Clark family whom I love dearly :)

Katie & I on the little island

Luke, me, Rupeni, Taru, Akanisi, and Ratu Jo in front

Me with Maba :) he's awesome!

My OJT team day 2: Ratu Jo, Adi, and Vara

walking by the ocean :)

delicious food! shark, octopus, clams, bananas

tutoring Milly in trigonometry and algebra II hehe

the girls side of the hall where stayed in Naduri
the lovely decorated eating hall
lotu (church)

inside of the church
afternoon session with the kids
(Chief)Ratu Peni and Rondini (pastor's wife)
Me and Katie with Isei, Ratu Jo, Saiyasi, Eroni, Luke :) Good times
on the bus from Labasa to Naduri village
Me with my trainee Vilikesa

Kids doing the hand motions for Kid's EE
doing the Grace skit: Gift
Labasa open market

Saturday, July 11th I flew to Labasa with Pastor Nakiti, Ima, and the US team (Clark family, Sarah, Cindy K., Ivan, Jim, Cindy M., Jon, Georgie). We picked up another US team member in Labasa, Julie. We went to town go food shopping and pick up anything else we needed for the week since Naduri was an hour away. The chief of the village owns a bus company so we took one of his buses to the village. As we arrived the scenery was beautiful! The village was near the ocean and at the bottom of these huge mountains. Naduri village is bigger than most....about 1000 people. The chief, Ratu Peni, was also the pastor of the AGOFI church in Naduri. He walked with authority but also humbly. I learned a great deal from him just by observing the way he carried himself. The chief is an important person in Fiji as a counselor to the prime minister, parliamentary position holder, final authority for educational scholarships, and major business owner. We settled into a hall lined up with mattresses and prepared for the week's task.
Sunday was church in the morning. Pastor Nakiti gave a powerful message. After lunch our team met to prepare for the EE clinic. We planned out the schedule and teaching sessions. Katie and I figured out all the skits and who would be involved, then we planned out the Kid's EE afternoon sessions for the children. The rest of the day we just took time to get to know more people in the village.
The EE clinic was Monday - Friday from about 9am -4pm. Morning Devotions was a wonderful time for the group to gather in fellowship and worship. Singing praise and worship was a blessing. Hearing the Fijians pour out them hearts in song, lifting their hands. 36 trainees were involved in the clinic from different areas of Vanua Levu, the 2nd largest island of Fiji. Clinics always remind me of how powerful the Gospel is and how I continue to learn things about God's goodness. It was so nice getting to know people and fellowshipping together as well as learning more about the Fijian culture. It was a beautiful thing to see local Fijians from different denominations come together (something not often seen) for the cause of Christ. I was encouraged by the trainees excitement and passion to learn how to share the Gospel with others.Everyone from the US team did a wonderful job teaching their sections(I was able to teach the Christ section). The group enjoyed the skits we prepared. And Pastor Nakiti really did an awesome job leading, translating, and teaching in Fijian and English. God truly speaks through him. During the clinic we sat on the floor Fijian style which took the US team some time to get used to haha I love being able to build relationships. During OJT(On the Job Training where teams would go out to share the Gospel), teams would visit different houses in the village where you could expect them to serve you tea and food. In Fiji, OJT was about getting to know the people you are visiting as well as sharing the Gospel. You could be at someone's house for over an hour visiting.

During morning and afternoon tea time, I took the time to get to know the trainees. After OJT was also free time to fellowship. And other spare time was devoted to hanging out with the children of the village who loved to sing, play games, and just talk. The afternoon session with the children was one of my favorite things.The children were precious. Myself and another young girl from Colorado taught them actions to worship songs and the hand motions for Kid's EE. I was encouraged by their receptiveness and response. Hearing them sing touched my heart, and hearing some of them pray in Fijian was such an encouragement. A few nights I was even able to tutor a few of the kids and young people in math which gave me great joy!

The people of Naduri were so giving and hospitable. They took such good care of us, it blew us away. Food in the village was amazing - fresh seafood like octopus, shark, clams, all kinds of fish, curry, noodles, cassava, Fijian pastries. The water supply in Naduri came from up in the mountains. One afternoon some of us even climbed the mountain to a few beautiful waterfalls, the view from up top was amazing! And Friday afternoon a big group of us took 2 small boats to another island, the trip their was beautiful. The water was gorgeous. On the island though....all these poisonous black and white snakes! EEK! Most were sleeping though haha No harm, no foul.

My trainees during the week were Taru and Vilikesa. They truly love the Lord and want to share His love with others. Please be praying for them as they take what they have learned to their churches, families, and friends. Also lift up in prayer Laisa, Sai, Susana, Balei, Filo & his family who prayed to receive Christ during my team's OJT sessions for the week.

Clinic Info:
US Team from CO, AZ, and CA came as EE teachers and trainers
36 trainees from different areas of Fiji
106 people heard the Gospel
21 recommitted their lives to Christ
71 people prayed to receive Christ!
AMEN!!! Praise the Lord!

I was moved by all the things that happened this week. God is so good. I am so blessed to be part of these clinics where different kinds of people come together to proclaim Christ. It was bittersweet to leave the village.

We left the village Saturday morning, many tears were flowing. We were able to raise a large sum of money to leave with Ratu Peni for the village and 2 suitcases filled with things like clothes, medications, toiletries. We went back to Labasa town for lunch then said goodbye to the Arizona group. After finding a hotel with Pastor Nakiti and Ima, I was able to go and hang out with Elenoa Isei, and Salimone(trainees that came to Naduri but were from Labasa). Elenoa and I went to watch some rugy, then the 4 of us walked to Evangel Temple which was the home church of some of the trainees that came to Naduri (Maba, Isei Tilly, Saiyasi, Eroni, and Luke). Only Isei was there, he told us that their youth gathering was at 7pm that night. Afterwards I went with Elenoa to her home to gather some things since she would be sleeping with me at the hotel. Her grandmother was weaving a Fijian mat and it was really cool to watch. Then Elenoa and I just hung out at the hotel, it was nice to just hang out and talk with her.

That evening Maba and Saiyasi picked us up for the youth gathering. Worship was awesome! And the guest speaker shared a wonderful message about witnessing to another level. After the service there was a blackout, it was a good thing everyone had flashlights on their cell phones haha The boys walked us home and we said goodbye.

Sunday morning we flew back to Nadi. It's been good to rest these past few days, except for getting really sick the other night. All day Wednesday I was in bed resting, sleeping, and not eating. Today I feel refresehd. Earlier this week I met with Rod, the EE head of Oceania. It was really good to meet with him and further discuss my ministry role in Fiji. There are big things ahead of me, and I know God is going before me in all of it :)

Other Prayer Needs:
*All the trainees who have been equipped to share as they go back to their churches and implement EE
*Those who have been contacted through OJTs and as follow-up occurs
*Continuing to network with local churches and ministering to youth
*Preparing the content/schedule for the 2 week youth conference in December
Continue to pray!