Where There Is No Road
When people think of Fiji, they think of white sand beaches and tropical resorts. They’re not wrong! But behind the beaches and the tourist traps, are some of the most kind, generous, loving people I’ve ever met. In this small island chain in the South Pacific, many people have heard of God. You see, the Methodist denomination brought the Gospel many years ago. But after the Methodist teachers and missionaries left, ‘Christianity’ became an interesting hybrid between God and witchcraft. Worshipping many idols became commonplace again. They knew the story of Christ, and yet it had become marred by tradition and folklore.
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Fiji to serve on a short-term medical team. We landed in Nadi, and then drove about 5 hours to a small village. We were on Viti Levu, the larger of the two main islands. We were connected with a small church there, and we began to plan our medical teams. Each visit to a village would be complete with a full medical clinic, with each person being seen also getting to hear the truth of God.
Many of the people from these villages have to walk a great distance to church (if they are a Christian), or to the doctor, or a store. So we brought the clinic to them. The first day, we were in a small village, but a neighboring village’s chief was there. He asked if we could come to his village a few days later. We, of course, happily obliged. So, the following Wednesday, we arrived in his village. It was eight miles into the jungle, on entirely dirt and mud roads, up hills and through thickets. After we served their village, we left and went back to the church where we were staying. It all seemed very normal, as far as we were concerned.
The pastor who we worked with in Fiji, affectionally called Talla Talla, received a message later that week. The chief from Wednesday’s village would like a church built in his village, so his people can hear the Word of God without having to walk 16 miles roundtrip! We thought were elated then, but we were even more so when we heard that a church in Canada who also partnered with Talla Talla, would like to donate the funds to have this church built!
We go down dirt roads to help clean wounds, so that eventually, a small village in the jungle of Fiji can hear the Good News. It often feels like just the small acts: putting band aids on a wound, doing service projects, and facilitating events. But God is at work through that, and where there is no road, he makes a way in the wilderness.
By: Renee Gillespie, Short Term Teams Coordinator