I Peter 1:6-8
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy….”
(Sorry this update is a bit long – so much to share! I hope you are blessed and encouraged!)
This past month in Fiji was not easy for those who live in the Western Division (the area where I live and the areas surrounding), as about 10,000 people were affected by the floods with most of them being forced to stay in evacuation centers. Some areas had flood-waters reach between 9 to 11 feet! Houses and villages were completely submerged in water. People had to be rescued from the roofs of their homes. With heavy, constant rainfall, a river with high tide coming in, and a dam that’s water level had to be released so it would not burst – this flood was recorded as the worst one that has ever hit Fiji in all history. Many people lost everything in their homes, vehicles and bridges were swept away, and crops were destroyed. After the floods several towns were filled with debris and smelled so awful like one big garbage dump. The current of the flood was so strong it eroded the paved roads, tore down fences and gates, shattered all the glass in the shops in town, and shifted large storage containers. Businesses lost thousands of dollars and farmers lost all they had planted for means of income. Towns were without water and electricity for several weeks. I was shocked to see the results of the flood and truly saddened to hear many testimonies of people affected by the cyclone! I praise God that I moved to a new place in a safe, flood-free zone right before the cyclone hit this side of the island. I was personally affected by the floods as I had no water at my flat for about 2 weeks. The recovery of the Western Division was slow-moving with major clean-up being done, relief aid coming in, and volunteers being mobilized to help. But people picked themselves up again and came together to get things back in order. The Christian community knew to persevere and reach out to those in need. These kinds of difficulties push us to run to the Lord for protection and provision and trust Him as He refines our faith. It’s been a month now since the flood and many are still without homes and belongings, shops are still closed, and many areas still need fixing up.
As for Ministry – Whew! It’s been hectic that’s for sure. And it’s been amazing to see God continue to provide opportunities to serve.
1. Easter weekend and beyond – Maba and I were invited to speak at an Indian church nearby. I was so blessed by their hunger for fellowship and spiritual growth. I spoke to them about the power God gives us through what Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection. And I encouraged them that we as His children are able to claim victory in all things, as we are more than conquerors. Maba shared a testimony about how far God has brought Him and what He can do when we surrender our lives to Him. The senior pastor was so encouraged that at the end, he said to the congregation, “From what these two have shared I know they are passionate and are great teachers, so I want them to come back next week and speak in our youth group.” And we were so glad to do so! The following Saturday we had a great time with their youth. Maba led the youth service and I led some icebreakers and games which they had a blast with. Then I spoke to the youth about knowing their calling. I asked them some challenging questions. Each young person had such a wonderful spirit about them, and they were so blessed by us coming to share with them.
2. Birthday – On April 15th Maba celebrated his birthday! We did different things during the week to celebrate then spent his actual birthday with his family for a nice, big Sunday lunch. 2 of his sisters each made him a cake which his nephews and nieces were all over! Maba was spoiled during his birthday week. Birthdays are super special to me as my family always made it a big deal while I grew up so I wanted to go all out for Maba. Out of the 3 years we have been dating, this was the first time I was with him on his actual birthday. The previous years we were long distance and apart on his birthday. Maba told me this was really the first time he had celebrated his birthday since his family never celebrated birthdays ☺
3. EE Clinic – Maba conducted an EE clinic where 15 people representing 6 different churches were trained. Myself and another EE Fiji worker were there to help Maba teach and lead OJT teams. It was a successful clinic and Maba was so happy to have a mixture of Fijians and Indo-Fijians in attendance. I was very proud of Maba in so many ways! I was so encouraged and blessed by being able to do ministry side-by-side with him! I can’t wait for more opportunities to come!
4. Road trip – Maba and I took a 4-hour drive to Suva to do some wedding errands, pass out invitation cards to Maba’s relatives and our friends, and catch up with other EE Fiji staff. It was a jam-packed weekend. We accomplished a lot, and I was especially encouraged to meet up with young people I have trained and mentored during past EE clinics and youth camps and hear about how they are serving in ministry. I was also able to see my old roommate La and just have some good, girl time and pray together. And I was able to spend Sunday at my old church here, which was just really nice and refreshing! On our drive back home we spent a few hours with our Indian brother, Wilson, and his parents to lift him up and pray for him as he has been going through some tough times. He was really grateful to us for coming to visit him. Maba and I are both close to him and his family.
5. Offering accommodation – Last week several young men in full-time ministry needed a place to stay for a few days. 2 of them I’m close to as they are also involved with EE in Fiji and are previous local youth interns, and the 3rd is a guy from California involved with Global Passion ministry who spent 4 months in Fiji doing work with youth on another island and was about to head home. I opened up my flat for them and we had a great time of fellowship sharing about what God is doing around the nation of Fiji. We were able to encourage each other in the obstacles each one of us is facing. I’m so happy my flat can be a place open for people to come.
6. Mentoring – This past Saturday I was able to meet up with Rusila, a young 20 year old woman whom I mentor and pray with regularly. I have mentioned her in a past update. She has been enduring many trials lately at work, home, and in church, which has caused her to become burnt out. Her boss had been asking her to do things that would compromise her faith, and she had the boldness to stand against it which concluded in her quitting her job. At home, she is feeling much pressure to help her father provide for the family. And in church she has been dealing with people in her ministry teams not fulfilling their role. I was able to hang out with her and treat her to lunch to give her a bit of escape to just relax and vent. I offered her much encouragement and challenged her to push through and know that God was in control. She is a strong young lady and I’m blessed by her friendship. We talk often throughout each week and find time to meet and pray together as often as our schedules allow.
All the wedding plans are coming along. I can’t believe there’s only one month left! Maba and I have been incredibly busy in the midst of ministry commitments and responsibilities running around here and there to get things arranged. At times I’m overwhelmed and feeling stretched thin, but God continues to sustain me! I look forward to when my family and friends come and for all the festivities to take place!
*Families affected by the flood trying to rebuild their lives
*Rusila persevering through trials and growing in her faith
*Continuing to set up my flat
*Household and wedding expenses
*Mission Support account running extremely low, in need of more funds
If you feel led to additionally give, renew your giving, or know someone who would like to help this ministry please forward them my report and see the info below.
Ways to Support:
Online - www.eeworks.org
*Click on "Ways to Support" then "Online Giving"
*Type "Sarah Abadines 6124" in the box provided
*Type in amount and complete the given instructions
*If support is to be monthly – please indicate
Make checks out to Evangelism Explosion International and on memo line write
"Sarah Abadines 6124" (all checks tax deductible)
Mail to: Evangelism Explosion International
P.O. Box 23820 Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33307-3820
Cherishing His Grace,