I'd like to introduce a guest blogger this evening...Nick!! We've been wanting to share his Fiji trip (13-27 June) since he got back, but have had little time to do so...so here we are. Handing over to Nick now:
After a shaky start (5.5) I arrived in a very warm and humid Fiji. I preached 16 times in 14 days, with two days spent in travelling there and back. Some of the highlights include a surprise wedding, preaching to Mormons at a Pastor's Fraternal, preaching about the Sovereignty of God to two charismatic churches, praying with a family who've been blessed with a new arrival, and eating lots of curry without implements. First thing that struck me about Fiji was the poverty. I didn't get to see any of the beautiful white beaches and stereotypical tourist scenes. I spent my time predominantly amongst Fijian Indians, even learning a Hindi song and a few Hindi words. The goal of the trip was to encourage both Vijay and Narsamma as well as Sovereign Grace Baptist Church and to scout around and see in what constructive ways we at MRBC can get behind the work there. The 11.4% of Fiji's unreached people groups are all amongst the Hindus and Muslims, the very people who Vijay is seeking to minister amongst. Being there, one becomes painfully aware of the difficulties that Vijay and Narsamma and the church face: the unstable political situation, the church not being able to pay them a stipend, "sheep stealing", some church discipline issues which can rip apart the soul of a pastor, the stifling heat and their failing health. All of these have made me deeply sympathetic to the work there. Here is a short collection of photographs to give you a feel.
Snow-sprinkled mountains - one of many of the beautiful NZ scenes as we were forced to fly at a low altitude to be beneath the ash cloud.
Vijay and Narsamma Chandra
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church on the second Sunday of my stay.
Above: Narsamma sitting with a deaf lady. Narsamma interprets the sermons into sign language. Below: Vijay and Raman, at whose house Vijay is intending to start a brand new bible study in the squatter camp.
Above and below: market scenes. I couldn't tell you what these things are, but I presume they are edible :)
These next three are from the wedding - the pastors with the bridal party, followed by Henna Hands, and cute bridesmaid.
Below are five 'street scenes' - the third one is one of the local Mosques.
This wee girl was born the day I arrived - here she is at 13 days. I was invited to the family home for a meal the Saturday before I left.
And finally, a short clip taken at a bible study - a sample of their singing in Hindi.