Monday, March 31, 2014

January '14 Update - The Aroma of Christ

Beautiful view of Kadavu!

Team ready for a great week of mission together

Evening devotion and worship time

Our bedroom :)

Maba preaching on Sunday

Rusila testifying in the village church

Beach picnic fresh fish and dip

Morning walk around the bay

EE trainees

Refreshing waterfall adventure

Hope for Kids OJT

Team bonding

Host home family

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession
in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among
 those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one
 we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
And who is equal to such a task?”
2 Corinthians 4:14-16

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

JANUARY was a time of cherishing the unity we have in the body of Christ and walking in God’s favor. My heart is bursting with so much joy and praise to God for how He refreshes us in His perfect timing and ways. This past month we experienced more of the sweetness of serving on the mission field and seeing brothers and sisters in Christ stepping out in faith and letting God use them to build His Kingdom. My devotional this past week reminded me that there is something so special about being part of God’s family knowing that the costs of discipleship and obedience never outweigh the spiritual rewards and benefits that come from our Heavenly Father! What a blessing it is to possess the aroma of Christ and carry His fragrance wherever we go!

Main Ministry Highlight – Kadavu Mission Trip
Kadavu is the 4th largest island in Fiji with a population of about 10,000 people within 75 villages. It is one of the least developed areas in Fiji. It is south of the mainland where we are living and known for its lush, tropical environment.

·      Fundraising – Maba and I were able to share about our trip to relatives, church members, fellow EE workers, and friends here in Fiji. As a result we raised more than $800 FJD to help with the various expenses for our trip! We thank God for bringing people to partner with us in reaching an outer island of Fiji. Several of the team members were able to fundraise for their travel costs by baking trays of pie and selling them, which was a big success!

·      Preparation – Several ministry contacts in Kadavu helped us organize for our trip. None of us had been there before so we were trusting God  since we were stepping into unknown territory. Our team had regular meetings before the trip. We were able to discuss the important aspects of the trip, fasting and praying together Tuesdays and Thursdays for half day, and review the EE materials. The team consisted of 3 local EE Fiji workers, 4 young people from our church, and a young lady from an EE church in Australia.

·      Travel – Maba and 7 members of the team traveled 4 hours by bus and 10 hours by boat to reach Kadavu! Whew, a long journey! Myself and Stephanie (from Australia) had a 40-minute flight in an 18-seater plane, which was a bit nerve-racking since you could feel even the slightest movement of the plane.  We praise God for His protection, especially returning to the mainland as a tropical cyclone was hitting Fiji! Everyone made it home safe and sound!

·      Host Home – A wonderful family (a couple and their 5 boys) opened their home to us. team slept in a large, open room where some slept on beds and others slept on the floor. Maba and I slept outside on the porch and hung up a mosquito net. The weather was so hot, so we prayed for the sea breeze to cool us in the evenings. The beach was only about 70 feet in front of our host home! It was a beautiful sight to wake up to as we were located in a big bay!

·      Trainings –
o   Adult/Youth EE Clinic – Maba and 6 team members conducted 2 trainings with a total of 29 trainees represented by 5 churches from different villages. During the On-the-Job trainings 55 people heard the Gospel and 38 prayed to receive Christ! Amen for that!
§  Testimony – 2 team members from our church, Victor and James (university students), were able to learn EE for the first time. They were so blessed by how easy it was to present the Gospel! They were excited for OJT each afternoon and took every opportunity to share. Then during the 2nd training, Maba gave assigned them teaching units and they did an amazing job! They will go back to school this month, and they can’t wait to implement EE in their campus ministry!
§  Testimony – One of the pastors shared how he was supposed to move the previous week to plant a church in another remote area but wondered why God had kept him in that area for another week. After attending the training he knew that God had ordained his family to stay so that they could be equipped with tool of EE! He was confident that using EE in the new church plant will help to build and grow the ministry!
o   Hope for Kids Workshop – I led a workshop for 6 trainees including 2 of our team members and representing 4 churches. I was so proud of them grasping the materials quickly and practice teaching together. One afternoon we conducted OJT with 30 students from a nearby primary school of which 22 prayed to receive Christ! Praise God!
§  Testimony – One team member, Buna (also a university student), really came out of her shell as I challenged her to speak in front of a group which she would usually decline, present a teaching unit, and have a discussion about Jesus during OJT with the students. She was thankful to me for pushing her out of her comfort zone to take every opportunity to speak and serve others during the mission trip. I loved seeing her blossom and grow into a strong, confident young godly woman! When she came back from the trip she had the courage to testify about her experience during her family devotion time at home.
§  Testimony – Naomi, one of the trainees, was moved to tears at the end of the workshop. She shared that as a mother and Sunday school teacher, her passion for children’s ministry and witnessing had grown abundantly. She was blessed by the OJT as the kids were so open and wanted to ask questions about growing in faith. She not only wanted to implement the program in church but also in the local primary school! How exciting!

·      Island/Village Life – There was only one main supermarket and a small vegetable/fruit open market. Things were expensive since most things had to be shipped over from the mainland. Most people lived off their fresh catch from the sea by fishing and diving or from farming the land. People rarely ate chicken or red meat since it is hard to get. Electricity ran by generators and would turn on by 5am each morning, shut off for a few hours in the early afternoon and by midnight til the next day. There were few trucks on the island for transportation. Most people traveled by boat to different areas on the island or on foot.

·      Sunday services – In the morning we attended an Apostel church and in the afternoon an Assembly of God church. Our team took part through sharing testimonies and performing Fiji meke and worship dances. Maba and another team member were also given the privilege of preaching! It was great fellowship!

·      Adventures – When our trainings finished for the day you could find our team swimming in the beautiful ocean or at a nearby refreshing waterfall! Other days we would explore and hike. It was amazing! One day our hosting families took us to another part of the island for a beach picnic where we had fresh fish and dipped it into seawater with lemon and chili! What a treat!

·      Team Unity and Diversity – We could not have asked for a better team to lead during this mission trip! Everyone bonded so quickly and worked together to reach out to the people there! The youngest person was 18, 5 members were 21, myself and another member in our late twenties, and Maba and his cousin above that. Each person, solid in their faith and having a heart for the lost, brought their own strengths and gifts to the team. It was great to see all those things come together to accomplish mighty things for the Lord! And Stephanie from Australia adapted so quickly into the Fijian culture and way of life. She embraced the team and felt so encouraged to serve with us. It was a blessing for me to share my testimony as a young woman on the mission field with her and encourage her in all that God has called her to in Australia. At the end of each day we had our team worship and devotion time together to reflect and pray. It was wonderful to hear different team members share their heart and encourage one another.

·      Me and Maba – Leading a local team together as husband and wife was truly special. We saw God’s favor upon us throughout the trip – before, during, and after.  This trip strengthened our marriage in different ways, empowered us as leaders and missionaries, and challenged us to be ready for what God has planned for us in the future! We took a big step of faith to coordinate the trip. And then to see it come to pass and bear much fruit was a great blessing!

Prayer Needs
o   Ministry roles in the local church community
o   Kadavu trained churches to carry on the work in witnessing and equipping others with EE and our team members settling back into normal routines and recovering after the mission trip
o   Upcoming EE responsibilities at the EE centre
o   More needs of Financial Support

Your prayers and support enabled us to organize and lead a mission trip to an remote, outer island of Fiji where many are so hungry to grow spiritually and many are searching for hope! New doors were opened into areas where EE is still trying to establish ministry networks. We hope you have been blessed by this month’s update. Please share with anyone you know who will also be encouraged and may feel led to also support through prayer and giving!

Ways to Support:
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*Click on "Support" then "Online Giving"
*Type "Sarah Maba 6124" in the box provided
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-OR- Make checks out to Evangelism Explosion International and on memo line write "Sarah Maba 6124" (all checks tax deductible)
Mail to: Evangelism Explosion International
P.O. Box 23820 Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33307-3820

Abounding in His Grace,


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