“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This Scripture passage is very special to me. It emphasizes God’s grace and sovereignty, and it is a wonderful reminder that God is always going before us. Maba and I chose this passage as the Scripture reading during our wedding ceremony because we know and believe that it was God’s grace that brought us together, carried us through, and is pushing us forward. This month was hectic in so many ways. I praise God for sustaining me through the last phase of wedding planning and ministry opportunities. I saw God’s hand move in every situation, and I would say that this past month I drew closer to God in a special way as I prepared to enter a new season in my life and reflected on His faithfulness to me.
Here’s a sneak peak of all that’s happened:
May 3-5 I invited my Fiji family to stay with me at my new flat for the weekend. It was a wonderful time of fellowship that I needed as Maba went out of town for a relative’s funeral.
May 8 I led a morning workshop for Sunday School Teachers at Maba’s church where I shared the importance of bringing up children in a godly manner to know the truth of the Gospel and God’s Word. I encouraged the teachers to take their role seriously and not view it as a babysitting job. I challenged them to raise their Sunday School classes to another level.
May 9 A local Pastor, Maba, and I have continued to meet with 2 families for small group. We are making breakthroughs in different ways and building friendships. I’ve really enjoyed ministering to these young adults.
May 11/25 Maba’s family held 2 family meetings to discuss and organize for the catering for our wedding. It was amazing to see all his relatives gather together to help us. Many of his family members contributed monetarily to help us with all the food for our wedding/reception (in Fijian culture it is the boy’s side who takes care of all the wedding arrangements and catering). Families hold such a strong bond in Fijian culture, which is comparable to Filipino culture. And for that I’m so blessed.
May 12 Maba, myself, and other local EE staff and ministry friends got together to reach out to one of the settlements that were affected by the recent floods. My friend Wilson was able to acquire funds that we used to buy cartons of food and distribute it to over 10 families in Vunato Settlement, which is located by a river and garbage dump. The families were so touched by our help and many were in tears as we passed out their boxes filled with cooking oil, rice, flour, eggs, milk, tea, noodles, canned food, etc. We will continue to help this settlement in the coming months through EE internships.
May 18 On this day I went with Maba and his mom to Sanasana village to carry out a Fijian tradition called “sevusevu”. We had to present a kind offering to the Chief and headmen of the village to ask their permission and inform them of using an area in the village for Maba’s family to prepare food for the wedding. Maba’s mom presented a root crop and whale’s tooth to the men and they received it gladly.
May 19 I was able to meet up once again with Rusila (one of my mentorees), and we had a great time catching up. She shared with me how things at home and in church were improving and how God has been using her to reach out to Indian families in her community. Rusila has such strength and I’m so blessed by her friendship. We were able to pray and encourage one another.
May 22 I got together with Nikita on her day off from work (one of the girls in our new small group). We had lunch in town then came back to my flat to hang out. We were able to get to know each other better. She opened up about her family upbringing and the hardships she currently faces. As I listened and encouraged her, a door opened up and I was able to share the Gospel with her! She was so excited to hear about how the gift of eternal life is FREE and not earned through good works! We prayed together and I look forward to hanging out more with her.
May 23 I had a wonderful time speaking to the students of the University of Fiji. They invited me to share about my college experience in the USA and the importance of tertiary education. They also asked me to speak on stress and time management and how to properly prepare for exams. I was decked out in Black and Gold and my UCF Alumni t-shirt ☺ And it was great being around young university students which made me reflect on my college days which are some of my most favorite days!
May 25 Maba and I visited his dad’s grave with flowers. Maba was emotional before and during the wedding as he and his family greatly wished his dad had still been around for all of this.
May 26-June 7 My family was here! My parents, Sheilah (sister), Stephen (cousin), 2 family friends – KD and Amy, and my aunt and uncle from New York. We all had such a great time together! I was able to show them both sides of Fiji – local and tourist. And of course they got to spend lots of quality time with Maba and they all loved him!
June 1 I GOT MARRIED!!!!! Maba and I were wed at Natadola Beach by the EE International Exec. VP, Rod Story. It was the perfect day with a breathtaking view on the beach as the sun was setting! I had 4 bridesmaids (Sheilah, KD, and 2 of my Fiji best friends – La and Sally) and Maba’s guys were his brother, 2 nephews, and my cousin Stephen. We had a bamboo arch and the aisle was lined by bamboo torches, coconut shoots, and flowers. The decorations were wonderful. We had Fijian mats under the arch, and we performed the unity sand tradition as well as a Filipino tradition called the “veil and cord”. 3 of our Fijian friends sang during the ceremony and corporately we sang 1 worship song in both English and Fijian. During dinner there was special Fiji island entertainment of dancing and fire/knife dancing. Mainly family members attended the ceremony.
June 2 We held a big reception and feast at the EE centre for our other friends and relatives to attend. It was beautiful! Family and friends gave speeches which were very heartwarming. And we also had different youth groups to come and perform some song and dance items. It was great fun and fellowship! Maba and I want to extend a very big thank you all for your prayers and support! We are so blessed by all the gifts we received. We have felt so much love from literally around the world! We have moved Maba’s stuff into our flat and rearranged and decorated so it feels like home, but there’s more we hope to add soon. We are now catching up on much needed rest and sleep before things get busy again with ministry.
Upcoming Events: Honeymoon My 26th Birthday EE Internship – Maba and I will be leaders and helpers throughout this course held at the EE Centre Trip to Vanuatu – Maba and I will join the EE Interns and an Australian mission team to conduct Adult, Youth, and Kids EE Clinics. We are currently raising money for our airfare and accommodations. Please be praying for us as we begin our marriage and continue working in Fiji as full-time missionaries! God gave us lots of opportunities to minister this past month, and we are so excited for all God has in store for us! If you would like to renew or add financial support to our account please 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
In His Grace,