We are grateful that despite challenges related to COVID the past 2 years, the Lord has allowed the pastoral training at Fiji Bible College to remain uninterrupted! A typical academic year in Fiji runs from January to October. During the pandemic, each incoming and graduating class has been able to stay within a few weeks of their original schedule. We praise the Lord for His kindness and the students’ efforts throughout this season!
The Awe Inspiring Providence of God
One of my favorite aspects of our lives as missionaries and throughout everyday life is to be in awe as we observe the wonderful providence of God! There are two recent events that I want to share with you. The first instance is through the arrival of Jolame at Fiji Bible College. Jolame (pictured above right) is a first year student from the Yasawa Island group here in Fiji. During class introductions a couple weeks ago, I was thrilled as Jolame explained that he is from a group of outer islands just a few hours away from the mainland, Viti Levu. What is encouraging to me is that Jordan and I were in the Yasawa Island group nearly 15 years ago when we met a fisherman George (pictured above left) and a second time nearly 10 years when he became a pastor as he had become the oldest man in his village. If this story sounds familiar, it is because God used this providential meeting with George to plant the first seed of a passion in my heart for pastoral training in the South Pacific. It is now 2022, nearly 3 years into our full-time ministry in Fiji, the Lord has brought Jolame from the Yasawas to pursue pastoral training! It is my prayer that as travel restrictions are finally beginning to ease, this will be just the beginning of the training ministry that will provide the outer islands with men who are fully equipped to proclaim the Word and shepherd the flock of God.
When a Cyclone is a Blessing
It is rare to consider a cyclone being a good thing. In general, when we experience cyclones in Fiji, we expect flooding, damage from incredibly powerful wind, and long power-outages even after the storm has passed. All of these occurred last month as a cyclone passed Fiji. What we did not expect was that this cyclone would be the means that God would use to protect the Fijian islands from a potentially devastating tsunami. Last month, we shared some of the details of volcano that erupted in nearby Tonga. We recently heard additional details that reveal to us how the cyclone was a blessing in disguise. The volcanic eruption in Tonga was one of the most powerful to have ever been recorded (it is estimated to have had an explosive force more than 500 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima). Our family and many others across the Fijian Islands evacuated low-lying areas as there were severe tsunami warnings and reports of outer islands a few hours from us being hit with significant tidal surges. Despite being so close to the eruption that we were able to hear it, the powerful tsunami that should have hit our home and the majority of the Fijian coastline never came. Meteorologists have recently explained, the slow moving cyclone that hit us shortly before the volcanic eruption had impacted our typical tide and weather patterns to such a degree that it prevented what would have been a potentially catastrophic and devastating tsunami. The cyclone had pulled the displaced water into a storm surge in the middle of the ocean allowing us to be protected from an extreme tsunami. Many would say we are lucky, but as believers we use this as an opportunity to praise the Lord for His sovereign rule, power, and protection in an absolutely incredible way!
1) Please pray for the students as we are in full swing of another semester;
2) For those in Tonga who are still recovering from the effects of the volcanic eruption and tsunami; and
3) Jordan as she begins the third trimester of her pregnancy.