I promised you that I would post again about Fiji, and tell you a bit more about my experiences. This is that post.
On the 28th of August, the team that went to Fiji ran the service at our church, as part of our annual missions month. In the service, I shared a little bit about my experiences, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
If you want to read it, I’ll post it below. However, if you want the real experience, you can listen to me saying it. If you follow this link, it’ll take you to the sermons page on my church’s website. It’s currently the second one down (although that’ll change before long), and it’s the one for the 28th of August. My little bit is only about three and a half minutes long, starting at about 5:53ish, although, if you have time, you should listen to the other two as well. So yes. It’s there, if you wanna hear my voice. Or you could just read it here.
“From the beginning, I was thrilled to be going to Fiji. I’ve always wanted to go on a missions trip, and so I jumped at the chance as soon as Kate mentioned it. As it got closer, my excitement grew, but with it came a bit of anxiety. How would I cope with the change of culture and living a lifestyle that was probably completely different from my own for two weeks? Still, I was very excited to be going.
When we first arrived in Fiji, I couldn’t believe it. Eight months of planning and prep, and we were finally there. But, that night, when I was trying to get to sleep, I felt a feeling that I’d never felt before. Homesickness. As I was falling asleep, it truly dawned on me for the first time that I was so far away from home, with no way to communicate with my family, and I just wanted to go home.
Over the next few days, the feeling of homesickness brewed beneath the surface, as we travelled to Sawanivo and settled in. I tried to ignore the feelings and make the most of everything. But on our second full day in Sawanivo, we had a bit of free time, and we were talking about what we were missing from home (it was mostly some of the food, to be honest), and it all came flooding out. I started crying, desperately wishing that I could be at home. There was nothing wrong with being in Fiji, but it wasn’t home and I missed my family and desperately wanted to talk to them.
That night, during our debrief, Kate read from Romans 12. This is a passage that I know very well, and so I was only half listening as she read it. When she reached verse 12, however, it seemed to jump out at me in a way that it hadn’t before. After reading over it a few more times, I started to feel like I had the ability to cope with my feelings of homesickness. I felt as though God has spoken to me through this verse, telling me how to deal with these feelings.
The next morning, we had a bit of downtime to spend reading the Bible and doing some devotions. I chose to spend that time writing down the verse and how it could apply to my situation. After that time, I felt as though I had it all sussed. God had spoken to me through this verse, and now I could move on from my homesickness and continue on with the trip.
But now that I’m home, I realize that that verse was much more than just to help with a bit of homesickness. In fact, it is through this verse that I can see how much the people in Fiji taught me.
The verse, Romans 12:12, says this: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” And I saw this acted out in the lives of the Fijians, particularly through my homestay family.
In the family that I was staying with, there was the father, who was the bus driver, the mother, twin girls, and a very sick little boy. When we were talking to them on the first night, the father brought up the cyclone that had occurred earlier in the year. He told us that all of the houses surrounding their house had been damaged or destroyed, but their’s hadn’t, by the grace of God. And later on, when I was talking to the mother about how sick the boy was, she told me that when he was even worse, back in January, they prayed and prayed for him, and it was by the grace of God that he was still alive.
These people have so little compared to us, and yet they felt so blessed for what they did have, because they came so close to losing it. They had so much joy despite everything, because they had so much faith in God. When hard times came, they didn’t lose faith, and they continued to pray, even when it seemed as though it was all useless. And I feel as though we can learn so much from that.
What did I learn from going to Fiji? I learnt that God can teach you things in ways that you never imagined. I thought that I was going to Fiji to help the people there, but really, they helped me. And I learnt that happiness doesn’t come from what you have or the type of culture that you live in. It comes from having faith in God and always relying on Him. Thank you.”
If there’s anything else that you’d like to know about the trip, then please feel free to ask in the comments.