2022 has been incredibly eventful and much has happened over the past month! From joys to trials, the Lord is continually faithful and is working to bring about His perfect will in every aspect of our lives and ministry!
Volcanoes, Tsunamis, and Acid Rain On Saturday afternoon, we were playing with Taj and Tori and we heard several consecutive booming noises. Our first thought was that someone was setting off some New Year’s fireworks a little bit late, but some friends sent a message informing us that a volcano in Tonga was erupting about 500 miles away. We are about the same distance from Tonga as San Diego is from San Francisco and we could feel the reverberation from the volcano. Please pray for those in Tonga! One of our students at the Bible college is from Tonga and he is unable to contact his family because the internet connection and phone lines are down (The underground cable running from Suva, Fiji to Tonga was likely damaged during the eruption). Last night, our family evacuated for a few hours due to tsunami warnings for those who live in low elevations in Fiji, but we are now back at home and safe for the time being. There are currently warnings of acid rain across Fiji, so we will be staying inside as rain is in the forecast for the next week.
Cyclones and Floods About 1 week ago, we had a small cyclone pass through Fiji. Although the winds were not nearly as strong as other cyclones we have had in the past, the flooding in Fiji was significant. Our yard had about two feet of water and a neighbor made the comment that we could take our boat (a Fijian style fiberglass boat that was pulled out of the water and put on tires at the beginning of cyclone season) for a quick getaway if the flood waters continued to rise. The waters stopped inches away and did not enter our home, but many Fijian’s homes were flooded. We lost power and had a generator running part time up until a couple days ago just before the volcano erupted and tsunami warnings began. My trusty 7 year old laptop just happened to die the day the cyclone arrived, but I was able to get some help to revive it for the time being! The whole family is regularly prepared for the extreme weather of the South Pacific, but each event brings its own challenges. Some meteorologists have said that there may be another cyclone on its way toward Fiji. We are trusting the Lord, but we appreciate your prayers!
We Are Having a Baby Boy! You may already know, but Jordan is due with our 3rd child that we are expecting to meet this May! We are praising the Lord and are so excited about this precious baby boy! Taj and Tori are thrilled to have a baby brother and we are grateful that all is going well so far. Jordan is such a trooper to handle homeschooling, cyclones, heat, and humidity in the midst of this pregnancy! Please pray for her as presses on through the next few months before the delivery.
A New School Year Begins at Fiji Bible College Please pray as we are preparing to begin our next school year at Fiji Bible College next week, Lord willing! We are taking one day at a time and are regularly seeing the goodness of God in the midst of the joys and trials of life!
Every year, the leadership and faculty of The College of Theology and Evangelism Fiji (also known as Fiji Bible College) pray fervently for the students that the Lord will bring to receive pastoral training. Each of these student’s personal testimonies of how they came to the Bible college is extraordinary and demonstrates the wonderful providence of God.
I would like to introduce you to Philip (currently in his 3rd year) from the Solomon Islands. Philip is one of the few students that has come to the Bible college with his family. We are praying that as the Lord provides funds for additional married student housing, more pastors like Philip will be able to receive training at Fiji Bible College. I asked Philip several questions that will help you gain a better understanding of the nations among the South Pacific and how to pray for him and the people in the Solomon Islands.
Tell us a little bit about what life is like in the Solomon Islands?
“Our society is easy going and there is not much to worry about. Most of the people in the Solomon Islands (approximately 80%) live on subsistence farming. They don’t need money because they have their own gardens. It affects how they live. It is a developing country. When it comes to Christianity, people are very passionate. The sad thing is that they have passion without knowledge. Because of their passion they consume anything, so when the false gospel comes in, they jump into it. Christianity came about 150 years ago and they have only grown (spiritually) a small amount. America has brought much of the prosperity gospel to the Solomon Islands. The truth of the gospel is lacking. I don’t think any church in the Solomon Islands has all of the truth of the whole counsel of God. There is a great opportunity among young people and they are receptive to biblical teaching, but many have been led astray.”
What is the background of Christianity in the Solomon Islands?
“Pagan, mysticism, and ancestor worship. The gospel came through Tahiti and these other nations and went right past the Solomon Islands. Many of the first missionaries went to Vanuatu first and were killed and eaten. The Roman Catholics came to the Solomon Islands and did not have the truth of the gospel. Back in 1568, there was an explorer and the Roman Catholics tried to baptize the people forcefully, but the explorer died. The bishop came later and was killed in the Solomon Islands. Years later, Australians stole many people from the Solomon Islands to work in their fields. One of the men who was stolen became the founder of the church in the Solomon Islands. He was brought to a plantation in Australia. There was a young women whose parents were from the puritan movement. She saw an opportunity to share the gospel with the laborers in Australia. Her name was Florence Young and she became a missionary in her brothers plantation. (This particular Solomon islander was saved through her efforts during his time on the plantation). When Australia banned slavery, he returned to the Solomon Islands and his life was threatened because his family rejected the gospel, but through this the foundation of the church was laid.”
Describe your church in the Solomon Islands:
“Our church holds Sunday services morning and evening. The youth ministry meets on Wednesday and other ministries have evening meetings. When they come for Sunday service, they can listen for an hour. When they come for biblical counseling they can sit for hours. Our church has a seating capacity of 500-1,000, but over a thousand show up so many people sit outside. We are an elder lead church with 12 elders and 10 deacons. We are currently trying to figure out membership.”
“The local church has (also) been engaging in its local mission to a pagan community within the interiors of one the provinces of Solomon Islands (Malaita). These pagan communities are a few that still don’t give in to the gospel message despite Christianity’s presence on the islands for 100 plus years. Even civilization do not have any impact on them, as they still live like their forefathers for thousands of years, placing only a single leaf to cover their fronts for married couples, whilst the rest with no covering at all. After about 5 years of engagement with this pagan communities, by God’s grace a small Christian community of 13 homes or 13 families have been established and people are still coming. Please remember Pastor Jethro Siofa’a who heeded God’s call 5 years ago and left the comfort of his home and family on the coastal areas and went inland by trekking 6-7 mountains and since have been living with them and pastoring these newly converts.”
What type of ministry were you involved with there?
“I was a pastor and chaplain to three high schools and would do counseling for the students. I then became a full-time pastor and spent much of my time Monday through Saturday doing counseling, but I did not have all of the truth. I wish I would have known then what I know now.”
How did you find out about Fiji Bible College?
“I was praying to attend a raw Bible college where I would only learn the truth of the Bible. I did not want there to be a focus on secondary doctrines or a denominational Bible college. I had an opportunity to attend a few Bible colleges in the Solomon Islands, but there was limited guidance and mere interpretation. One day, a graduate of Fiji Bible College showed up at my office. He also lived in the Solomon Islands, but was a stranger at the time. I wanted to see the doctrinal statement of Fiji Bible College and after reading it, I was excited by how biblical the college was. My heart leaped with joy! I contacted the Bible college and applied just a few days later.”
How have you changed most since you began studying at Fiji Bible College?
“I have seen Scripture in a different way altogether. The dots have been connected and I still have one more year before graduation. I had been in the ministry for a while, but now I am able to see what was missing from ministry. I have a new perspective and I will be using these truths in these ministries going back. I am looking forward to helping put the right doctrines in the church.”
How can we be praying for those in the Solomon Islands? 1) Pray for future biblical counseling training and equipping. 2) Praise: There are some there who were deceived that are now coming to know the truth and power of the gospel. 3) Pray that God will raise up strong Christian leaders who desire to be biblical.
How can we specifically be praying for you? 1) That I would finish the training at the Bible college well. I want to get the knowledge and training I can, so I will have plenty to share when I return. 2) Praying for a solid Bible school, regardless of the size. 3) Pray for those involved in the prosperity gospel and the false gospel. People have been trapped for a long time. Pray that they would see and receive the truth to discern what is true and false. Pray that their passion would be directed well. 4) Please also pray for Philip’s health. At the start of his first term at Fiji Bible College, Philip spent 3 weeks in the ICU for sepsis and heart failure. The doctors here say his survival was an act of divine intervention. He was the only survivor from his ICU ward. Please pray that God would continue to heal his heart, grant him longevity to do His work, and would bless his ministry in the Solomon Islands greatly.
We hope that this will help you better understand the Solomon Islands and what the Lord is doing there! Please pray for Philip and the other students who are currently training with hopes to return and minister in their island nations.
By the grace of God, the Bible College has begun its 47th year of training men for pastoral ministry! We have a wonderful group of young men that are excited to prepare for a life of serving the Lord!
Please pray for 6 first year students (all from various islands within Fiji due to COVID-19 travel restrictions) and the other students who have remained in Fiji from Tonga, The Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and India. These young men have sacrificed much to pursue ministry training and have a rigorous semester ahead.
We praise the Lord for the rare opportunity to have two students from Tuvalu, which is the least visited country in the world and has a population of less than 12,000 people. Due to Tuvalu’s isolated nature, the community there is tight-knit and we pray for God to use these young men to have a mighty impact on that nation.
Summer Reading Program
Jordan and I co-led a “Summer Reading Program” during the Christmas Break. The students had an opportunity to improve their language, reading, and critical thinking skills while having an opportunity to read for fun and personal growth. The students read everything from Biblical Counseling and theology books to children’s books out loud to kids in their villages. It was a huge success and so popular even the first years joined in for the final two weeks! We celebrated their amazing achievements with an end of break pizza party and prizes for their hard work.
Prayer Requests and Praises:
· We are grateful that the Lord has been gracious in Fiji’s recovery from the two most recent cyclones. We are also praying for everyone in Texas as they recover from their winter storm. Many of our dear friends and family members live there and have experienced the effects of the severe freeze.
· We praise the Lord that Fiji is COVID-19 free and ministry opportunities are flourishing during this unique season around the globe.
· Pray for Jordan as she continues to homeschool and shepherd Taj and Tori and serve in Women’s ministry and biblical counseling ministry in the local church.
· Pray as we continue to make progress toward expanding pastoral training and biblical counseling to the outer islands of Fiji.
One of the most exciting moments of our time on the mission field so far was my first day of teaching! We are serving in Fiji so that the South Pacific will have strong local churches equipped with pastors who are well-trained to preach the gospel and shepherd their flocks. It was an immense joy to meet my first-year students who arrived from all across the Fijian Islands, Tuvalu, and India. Many of the other returning students are from neighboring island nations Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and others in the South Pacific. They are so eager to learn and many of them desire to pursue full-time pastoral ministry! The students are studying everything from: Old and New Testament, Hermeneutics, Biblical Languages, Spiritual Life (Fundamentals of the Faith, Prayer, Worship), Preaching, and Discipleship & Biblical Counseling. These young men are incredibly committed and have a rigorous schedule beginning at 5am with classes starting as early as 6am. Please pray for these students as they pour their hearts into ministry preparation and many of them are very far from home!
Praise: We recently celebrated our precious daughter Tori’s 2nd birthday and we do not take this for granted! As many of you know, Tori had a significant health challenge after being bitten by a bug and had a major infection. We praise the Lord as she has fully recovered and has not shown any lingering issues following this trial!
Homeschooling: Jordan has recently begun homeschooling Taj. She is an excellent teacher, but would love your prayers as she aims to educate him well. Taj is 4 years old and is eager to learn and we are praying that God will direct his little heart!
Outer Island Ministry: The Lord has provided some wonderful opportunities to bring biblical training to the outer islands in Fiji! These remote islands are a focal point of our ministry and we are thrilled that God is opening doors in this area! Please pray for wisdom, discernment, and resources as we serve these islands!
Monthly Support: In our recent newsletter, we mentioned that we have settled in Fiji and our ministry opportunities are growing! We have received some additional ministry parters and we are now praying that the Lord will bring $500 of monthly support as we prepare to reach out to the outer islands in Fiji.
Shipping Container: We have been provided with an invaluable collection of books for the Fiji Bible College library from my former seminary professor, Dr. Greg Harris. Dr. Harris played a key role in our family ministering here and also was a good friend and mentor to Premend Choy. As he now faces a terminal diagnosis he has graciously gifted his library to the ministry here. We have over half of the shipping costs covered and are currently praying for the Lord to provide the remaining $6,000 for a shipping container to bring these additional ministry resources to Fiji.
This year has been one filled with so many wonderful blessings! The Lord brought us safely to Fiji and we began to establish a foundation for life and ministry here. We are continually reminded that although God’s plan is not always easy, it is perfect and He is so good!
Our arrival at Fiji Bible College
Faith and Grace Gates visited shortly after our arrival in Fiji
Jordan picking up coconuts and fruit at the roadside market
Taj has loved our local church and ministry at Fiji Bible College! He enjoyed being a part of VBS this year!
We are grateful our shipping container arrived!
Many of our Fijian friends helped unload the container
Taj loved watching and helping with his tools!
The MacArthur Study Bibles, Biblical Doctrine, and donated books are such a blessing for the ministry here!
The Ravind Family are now dear friends!
Rodney’s visits from Samoa are a great encouragement!
Jordan has treasured her friendship with Mrs. Nair
Taj has enjoyed his neighborhood friends!
Tori had to fly to Auckland for emergency medical treatment after a bug bite became infected
The Lord used His church in New Zealand to care for us!
Tori finally got use out of her sweater and learned the word “Brrr” in New Zealand
Even in quarantine, the Lord provided a kind nurse to play with her!
Tori was in a lot of pain, but was very brave!
Tori was not so happy about the IV in her arm
Tori’s perpetually good attitude is a joy!
We thank the Lord that Tori fully recovered!
A few weeks ago we jumped right back into life in Fiji!
We are so thankful for the ministry that the Lord has for us in Fiji!
The people are precious and such a blessing!
Our family is so thankful for all of your prayers and support and we thank God for his kindness and provision for us to serve Him in Fiji!
The other day, Taj asked, “Daddy, when are we going to move to Fiji?”
I replied, “I’m not sure Taj, but for now God wants us to wait here in Japan.”
Taj responded by enthusiastically saying, “But God wants us to help the people in Fiji!”
This lead to a great conversation with him and ultimately helped remind us of how the Lord works. While the Lord has allowed us to make significant progress towards getting our work visa and we are now in what we hope will be the final stage with Fiji immigration, this conversation reminded us all that this time of waiting is not in vain. God calls us to be missionaries wherever we are. There are many future missionaries that desire to reach Japan. And there are many people here that we can minister to and share the gospel with during our days here.
The Lord reminds us to live each day anticipating His return (1 Peter 4:1-12; Revelation 22). Paul lived every day with intentionality, regardless of his location, whether it was Ephesus, Jerusalem, or Philippi. This applies to every single one of us who follow Christ. We could be called to our eternal home at any time. This might even be the day before we step foot into Fiji.
For now, we are waiting in Japan. We have had the wonderful blessing of spending time with many believers and non-believers. Last Sunday, I had the privilege of teaching in a small house church and we delight in these unexpected divine appointments.
Yesterday, the Fiji Immigration office said that it could take over a week to finalize our work permit. We appreciate your continued prayers! The Placerita Bible Church team is set arrive in Fiji shortly and we have planned things so they can begin serving immediately. It is our hope and desire to be with them soon! We love you all!
It was a whirlwind leaving California. We celebrated Tori’s 1st birthday, said goodbye to family, friends and sweet neighbors we have come to love and appreciate so very much, and packed up our home. When we look back on the past years the Lord has given us during this time of preparation, we will always remember them as some of the sweetest times for all of us. They have been years filled with friendships, love, beauty, excitement and fruitful ministry and we are deeply thankful for them.
We had a wonderful time saying goodbye to Joni! She is such a blessing and gave tremendous encouragement to Jordan and our family in the midst of such a big move and life transition.
Packing the Shipping Container
We are continually reminded that man makes his plans, but the Lord directs his steps! Extremely dangerous fires in the Houston area delayed our shipping container and pushed back our plans for loading. On human terms, this seemed like a significant setback, but God brought the right help at the perfect time and we were able to load and lock the container!
This has been a continual season of saying goodbye. It was such a joy to see Tori loving time with Grandma Anderson (who is 103 years old!). Tori’s eyes would light up and she would wave excitedly every time her great-grandmother would enter the room. We are currently enjoying time with some of Jordan’s family and saying goodbye in the Dallas area.
The department of immigration in Fiji has been working on our work permit and requested additional documentation, so we are still trusting the Lord with every aspect of our move to Fiji! We are currently scheduled to fly out of Los Angeles to Fiji on April 28, but are confident in the plans that God has established. Please pray that each and every aspect of this process will strengthen our trust in the Lord and bring glory to Him as He continues to provide!
We had an eventful November and December that included trips to Egypt, Uganda, Singapore, Malaysia, and our planning trip to Fiji! It was a great opportunity to make preparations for our upcoming move as we evaluated housing, immigration procedures, travel plans, and every day life issues such as grocery shopping and medical care. The Lord provided many helpful meetings and gave us a better understanding of what it will look like to live in Fiji!
Transition from Joni and Friends:
The last three years have been some of the sweetest and most wonderful of our lives! A significant reason for this is the joy that it has been to be a part of the ministry of Joni and Friends. God has taught me so much through this season and we are looking forward to continuing the friendships and partnerships formed as we head to the South Pacific!
Moving to Fiji:
On March 15, we will be taking our moving truck from California to Texas to be loaded onto a shipping container out of Houston. Many of our dear ministry supporters have provided books and resources that will be a tremendous blessing to the ministry in Fiji. We are progressing through the immigration process and will arrive in Fiji once they give us the official green light, which will likely be within the next several weeks!
The Lord has been graciously providing for our ministry needs! God has provided ministry partners that are giving financially so that we can move to and serve in Fiji. A significant number of these are individuals, which means monthly support fluctuates as personal budgets and circumstances change. If you have a desire to become a monthly supporter (or give a one-time gift), we would love for you to be a part of this ministry!
(Michael Seehusen, Rick Holland, Kim Holland, Kelli Ramey, Ken Ramey, Henry, and Rodney)
Thank you all for your prayers and support of the 2018 Fiji Pastor’s Conference. This year’s theme was on The Christian Family and it was truly an amazing time seeing God’s hand clearly at work in Fiji and the South Pacific! The conference was held in the capital city of Suva, Fiji and over 200 pastors, teachers, and church leaders attended to hear what the Bible has to say about the family. Throughout the sessions we covered topics such as how the family is designed to function, God’s plan for each of us within our own family units, and what to do when the family is not functioning the way it was intended. This topic is of critical importance to the Fijian people as they begin to address issues within the church such as adultery, abuse, depression, homosexuality, and other threats to the Christian home.
Dr. Nair opened the pastor’s conference with a strong message regarding the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God. Fiji is currently facing intense social pressures from the outside world to tolerate sin and sinful lifestyles especially within the family unit. Dr. Nair’s timely message set the stage for Rick and Ken’s teaching to be accepted not as man’s opinion, but as God’s holy and perfect standard clearly communicated in Scripture.
As you get to know Fijians, you will learn that they LOVE music! One wonderfully memorable moment occurred when Ken Ramey used the illustration of the Christian family compared to a choir singing four-part harmony. When each person (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) sings their assigned part well, the end result is absolutely beautiful! However, if someone abandons their role and encroaches on another, the song becomes dissonant and full of discord. In the same way, God has designed the Christian family in a specific way so that the end result would be a beautiful picture of unity that brings glory to God as husbands, wives, and children please the Lord in their God-given role. This truth resonated with those attending and it was such a joy to see the Lord bridging cultures through a shared passion.
This year was also the first annual women’s conference where Kelli Ramey and Kim Holland spent time speaking directly to the Fijian women on their roles and responsibilities within the family. The stories of the responsiveness and eagerness of the women – even from those living with extremely difficult circumstances – highlighted the need to continue having biblical teaching regularly available to these women who traditionally have fewer opportunities to participate in and learn from the truths of Scripture.
One woman who attended the conference wrote the following note to Lakeside Bible Church to thank them for allowing Ken and Kelli to teach at the conference.
Today was the last day of a 5 days seminar that I had been attending here in Suva, Fiji. I have been so incredibly BLESSED by the lessons imparted, with such real life illustrations by your Dr. Ken Ramey. His personal, and their joint experiences as a couple, that he shared as examples in how I can practically and realistically live out what God had instructed in the Bible has been so encouraging, inspirational. I know now how to put the biblical principles I had always know into action. It was such a huge relief to learn that I had not failed, and that it’s not too late, and just my being there to receive all that I did is proof that God has a purpose for me, and what I had learned have a usefulness. PRAISE the LORD. I am a widow, with 4 children, and a granddaughter. So yes, definitely so BLESSED to have been there
Perhaps, one of the conference highlights for me personally, was watching the Fiji Bible College students engage with Ken and Rick regarding life and ministry. The students were able to have in depth conversations discussing the challenges and persecutions that comes from standing for sound theology and doctrine, how to communicate truth with love, and ways to maintain personal holiness as a minister of the gospel. While the students will be returning to ministries that look far different from the American churches we are used to, the issues and hurdles that they face as shepherds of God’s flock remain the same. What a special time it was to see them learning from these seasoned and faithful pastors.
We thank the Lord for you and your prayers! We are grateful for the generous support from those of you who made this possible! It is truly a joy to serve the Lord together and we are thankful for God’s provision for the ministry in Fiji!
We praise God for what He is doing in Fiji and around the world!
The past few months have been a true whirlwind for our family. Shortly after receiving his ACBC Certification, Michael had the opportunity to lead a short term trip to Fiji to work on several exciting projects alongside Fiji Bible College and the Fijian Bible Churches.
Team members in the front row: Lucas, Michael, Grant, Hannah & Jonathan visiting a local church on Viti Levu, Fiji
This past year, Michael has been working to secure grant funding for resources for Fiji Bible College and was able to purchase numerous resources for the college and local churches. Due to Fiji’s remote location, Bibles and theological resources are difficult and expensive to obtain. On this trip, the team was able to deliver boxes of evangelism Bibles as well as preaching Bibles for the graduates and pastors of Fiji Bible College and the Fijian Bible Churches. In addition, Michael was also able to help equip the college leadership and library with laptop computers loaded with Bible software which allows them access to thousands of Bible resources in a digital format to supplement their current library.
The team was also able to begin a library assessment project. It is our goal to bring as many theological books and Bibles with us on our shipping container this upcoming spring. With the help of Grant Gates, the team was able to begin to evaluate the current library computer system as well as the current resources the college has for their students so we can ensure that we bring the best material possible to meet the needs of the students and local church pastors.
Michael also had the privilege of preaching at one of the local churches that we will be serving alongside next year. It was such a blessing getting to worship with them and to share God’s Word on the life of Joseph.
We continue to be profoundly grateful that the Lord is allowing us to participate in His work in the South Pacific. It is truly exciting to see all that He is doing through Fiji Bible College and the faithful men who are teaching in the local Bible churches. We are eagerly anticipating this upcoming Spring when we will be able to transition into full-time ministry in Fiji.
We are currently working on sending out our annual newsletter with additional ministry updates of projects we have been working on. If you are interested in receiving a copy, please let us know! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address.
By the grace of God, Outer Island Ministry in Fiji has begun! After years of prayerful preparation and the unexpected delays and island closures caused by Covid, it has been a true joy to be able to begin bringing pastoral resources and Biblical counseling materials to the pastors and churches on neighboring islands.
Our desire has been to equip pastors and local churches, on even the most remote islands, with biblical counseling and pastoral training materials so that everyone has access to the resources they need to faithfully teach, preach, and apply God’s Word.
In divine providence, one of our ministry partners in Texas contacted us last Fall regarding a group of high school students with an interest in overseas missions that raises funds around the Christmas season each year for international ministry projects with school children. They wanted to apply their 2021 holiday funds to the children in Fiji to meet their practical needs. In our discussions together they had a similar desire to serve the children in villages both on the mainland and on outer islands and it provided the perfect context to kick-start this branch of our ministry to meet several spiritual and physical needs on these islands once they reopened their borders.
During this Spring, we met with village and church leaders from 3 separate islands to work together to meet the specific needs of the children and pastors from each location. Covid has brought widespread financial challenges to many around the globe and in Fiji many families on these islands have been particularly hard hit. With the borders reopening and school resuming, many families were left struggling to provide uniforms, backpacks, and basic school supplies like notebooks and pencils for the children in their families. The thoughtfulness of our friends in Texas meant a great deal to them and they were incredibly grateful for the school items for the children.
One of the most encouraging aspects of my time with them was that while they were excited for the physical gifts, the pandemic had also grown their desire to know God’s heart, especially on the everyday challenges they have been facing. They saw the significance and value of biblical training and resources for their villages and their greatest passion was to meet the spiritual and eternal needs of the people in their care! We are so excited to continue partnering with these villages in the future.
We were often reminded in our conversations with the high school students and their team in Texas of how local churches in other parts of the world can serve the body of Christ in a similar way as Paul sought to meet the needs of those abroad in the days of the early church! It personally brought us deep encouragement and was an incredible joy to be able to partner with them in this way.
Joseva Bau – Biblical Counseling Apprenticeship
Biblical Counseling Apprenticeship Update – Joseva Bau It has been an immense joy reuniting with a dear friend and brother in Christ, Joseva Bau! In the past, I introduced him to you as one of the members of a biblical counseling apprenticeship. You might also remember his incredible journey with disability and how God used that aspect of his life to bring him to Fiji Bible College to receive pastoral training. By the grace of God, we have been able to reunite in the same town now that he has returned from the village where he was staying during the pandemic and he is working on a number of exciting projects that we would appreciate your prayers over. Please be in specific prayer for Joseva (pictured right): (1) He is currently working on evaluating existing biblical counseling materials and determining how we can adapt them to become more accessible to the average person in Fiji and the South Pacific. He is specifically working on reading through many counseling books and materials so that we can simplify larger resources and make versions of them available that are more concise, finding ways to bring them to a broader audience and also translate them into the various island languages and dialects for those who prefer to read in their original languages. (2) Joseva’s testimony has been a great encouragement to those that know him in Fiji. In a similar way that Joni Eareckson Tada’s testimony has spread the gospel and brought encouragement to many, we have asked Joseva to prayerfully work on writing out his testimony so that he can be used to proclaim Christ and bring hope to others across the South Pacific. (3) As an alumni himself, we have also asked Joseva to help work with me to connect with Fiji Bible College alumni to bring ongoing encouragement to our graduates as well as biblical counseling and theological resources to them for their ministries across the South Pacific.
We are so grateful for Joseva, as he not only wants to be a faithful shepherd, but to steward the life experiences that God has given him by bringing the hope of the Gospel to those affected by disability in the South Pacific!
Baby #3 is Almost Here!
ur family has recently returned to the US in preparation for the birth of our son. We so appreciate your prayers for our family as we all caught Covid en route and we are so thankful for a full recovery for each of us! It was a tremendous blessing to us knowing how many of you were praying for us and especially the health or Jordan and the baby!
Jordan’s official due date is May 27, but the baby could arrive any day now! She is very ready to meet our precious baby boy and we would appreciate your prayers for a safe delivery! Taj and Tori are absolutely thrilled to and cannot wait to meet their new brother face to face!
1) Please pray for those in the outer islands; 2) For Joseva Bau, that he would be encouraged as the Lord continues to give him opportunities to serve and grow in his understanding of biblical counseling and how God might continue to use him for the Kingdom; and 3) Jordan as she will have our baby boy soon!
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!
Prayer Requests 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.
We praise the Lord that we were able to celebrate the 46th Graduation at Fiji Bible College! These students have invested the last 4 years of their lives in studying the Word of God, while making many sacrifices to achieve this! They have woken up daily around 5am, performed physically challenging tasks as they labored to maintain the Bible college campus, cooked for one another, cleaned regularly, studied diligently in the library, and served in the local church. These graduates will be transitioning into various roles in ministry throughout the South Pacific as pastors, youth leaders, teachers, and evangelists. Please pray for these godly young men as they embark on their next season of life and ministry!
Teaching and Evangelizing in Fiji
It was a wonderful semester teaching Biblical Counseling at Fiji Bible College! The students were incredibly engaged and eager to connect what they were learning with the contexts that they would be returning to in the future. We are incredibly grateful for the biblical counseling resources that were donated as many of the students have already found them to be life changing.
When we are not at the Bible College, we enjoy spending time participating in outreaches and evangelism opportunities in our community. I recently had the opportunity to present the gospel to over 500 young students at a school near our local church. One of the elders of our church has been committed to helping provide lunches for many children whose parents are out of work due to COVID-19 layoffs. Since many Fijian families were living at or beneath the poverty line prior to COVID-19, the sustained global pandemic has only added to their economic hardship. We are so thankful the Lord has allowed our church body to serve in many practical ways during this season and we are so blessed to be able to participate in the amazing ministry they are doing. In addition to this, we were able to provide the school administration with some new soccer balls that were donated to our ministry. It was a joy to see their excitement for the gospel and to create a partnership with them that we look forward to continuing in the years to come.
Jordan, Taj & Tori
Jordan has done an excellent job balancing life in the home, while still serving others throughout Fiji. She has loved getting to know many women within the Fijian Bible churches in addition to those in our community. One of her favorite recent moments was being invited to lead a young women’s get-together where she taught on the attributes of God. It was an encouraging time and Jordan was grateful for the chance to share the gospel with several non-believers and also encourage the young women in the group who are already walking with the Lord!
Please pray for the graduates who will be returning to various nations and villages throughout the South Pacific!
It has been a joy teaching at Fiji Bible College! We are currently half-way through the second semester and it has been a privilege to teach Intro to Biblical Counseling this semester. My students are focused and eager to grow in their understanding of God’s Word and its application to every day life. From the time in the classroom, individual student discipleship, and a number of counseling cases our family has taken on; I am regularly reminded of why God has called us to the South Pacific. We are so excited to see how the Lord will continue to work and expand the ministry of equipping these future pastors and strengthening churches in these islands!
Answered Prayers – Shipping Container
Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support! The Lord has worked through your faithful prayers and generosity in amazing ways! As many of you may remember, Dr. Greg Harris donated his library to Fiji Bible College and we have been working very hard to bring this second shipping container for many months. However, COVID 19 brought a series of unexpected challenges and delays. We were working around a tight deadline and had until the end of July to bring these items into Fiji. In the providence of God, the shipping container literally arrived on the final day of the deadline. In addition to Dr. Harris’ library, through the generous donations of many of you, God provided an incredible amount of additional books for the Bible college library. We also received more Bibles for our local pastors, a used commercial quality playground for the Gospel Retreat Center (something that Dr. Nair has been praying for specifically for many years), and a grant was given to provide over a hundred soccer balls for island outreach and evangelism along with so much more. It was very evident that the container was packed with so much love for our family, the college, and the ministry here in Fiji. Jordan said that opening the container doors with the young men from the Bible college felt like getting a hug from the USA. We praise the Lord for His kindness and are regularly encouraged knowing that so many of you are constantly supporting and praying for the ministry here!
Taj and Tori
One of the many joys of life on the mission field is watching my children grow in a unique context outside of the United States. During some special time with Premend Choy (the head of Fiji Bible College) and his family, we went fishing close to our home. Taj brought his toy fishing pole and just minutes after asking for real bait, caught his first fish! After we released the small fish, Taj turned to me as I asked him if he was excited he caught a fish. He replied, “Yeah, but I’m a little sad. I thought we were going to take him home to cook him and eat him.” It is apparent that Taj has embraced that aspect of life in Fiji!
Tori has now spent nearly half of her life in Fiji! She does not remember the United States like Taj does, but we regularly talk to her about California, Texas, and everyone in the States. Tori was thrilled to enjoy a rare American treat when we found donuts here in Fiji!
There has been a significant amount of change that has occurred in our lives over the last year or so. One of the most difficult has been saying goodbye to those whom we love. My grandmother, Lucile Anderson, recently went to be with the Lord at the age of 104. She holds a special place in my heart as she has always showed specific care and intentionality to know me and love me. Despite spending much of her life on a farm in Colorado, she loved to travel and always sought an opportunity to bring others along on her adventures to see the world. When I was 10 years old, she brought me with her on a trip to Singapore, which is now a place I have many cherished friendships. After Jordan and I were married, my grandma took us on a trip to Norway. She taught us much about handling death and tragedy as we witnessed the unexpected death of a fellow traveller. She was tough, funny, resilient and the epitome of a seasoned woman. She saw so much in her 104 years, worked so hard, and even at the end of her life, was an active and loved part of the body of Christ. We loved hearing her stories of growing up during the Great Depression, how her father was a pastor, and how the Lord always took care of her and her family. She also was a faithful supporter of our ministry here in Fiji. I am so thankful for her and I do not know if I would be in ministry today if it were not for the way that she lead her family to love and fear God. She was an incredible woman in so many ways and we are grateful that she is now in heaven and that we will see her again!
(1) Please pray that the students will finish the school year strong. Despite the delays brought by COVID 19, we are scheduled to finish the semester in November, only one month behind the original schedule.
(2) For the leadership transition from Dr. Narayan Nair to Premend Choy to continue to go well. We are now in the second generation of the ministry of Fiji Bible College and all is going well even though 2020 is not what anyone expected. Dr. Nair is still teaching classes and we praise the Lord that he is currently in good health.
(3) Pray for us as we continue to prepare for 2021 in the midst of many unknowns. We would typically be working through logistics with churches and Bible conference speakers, but Fiji still has many travel restrictions. The Lord has already determined what is best and we are trusting Him as we make our plans. In the meantime, please pray as we aim to take full advantage of the ministry opportunities that this unique season has provided!
Covid-19 has brought many changes around the world. By the grace of God, the final patient with Covid-19 in Fiji has officially recovered, but we are still experiencing its effects as a nation.
Although the lockdowns and quarantined areas in Fiji have opened up, local church and large social gatherings are still restricted. We have had the joy of having Dr. Narayan Nair (the founder of Fiji Bible College) preach via Zoom church meetings. We truly miss the in person fellowship, but the Lord has been faithful to keep the Fijian Bible Churches strong during this time and the ministry continues!
Fiji Bible College
As Covid-19 began to spread throughout Fiji, the government was quick to respond by closing borders and all public gatherings. During this time, I had the opportunity to teach online via Zoom. We are now able to resume in-class instructions with extra precautions and it is an incredible blessing that I do not take for granted! It is wonderful to be back on campus and the students are thriving in spite of the recent challenges! Please pray as we prepare to complete our first semester in the next two weeks and quickly pick up to begin our second semester where I will be teaching biblical counseling!
Ministry Opportunities and Our Community
We are absolutely confident in the sovereignty of our Lord to work all things together for good! The ministry opportunities in Fiji have been abundant during this season. In response to many conversations here regarding anxiety, I made videos discussing a 31 day devotional titled Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace, which was written by my dear friend Paul Tautges. If you have an opportunity to look at it, I highly recommend this resource! (Click HERE to see Paul’s Devotional on Amazon) We have been encouraged by the interaction with many here that have watched these and have been considering eternity and asking spiritual questions.
We are incredibly thankful for the many resources that the Lord has provided through many of you! Our friend Koto (pictured on the right) has been leading Bible studies on another nearby island with one of the MacArthur Study Bibles that we were able to give him. We thank the Lord for His provision through you!
There have been many joys and trials during this time. Jordan said goodbye to her beloved Grandma Petrie who is now in heaven. Unfortunately, Covid-19 prevented her from seeing her in person, but we are grateful that she has the opportunity to talk with her via FaceTime before she went to be with the Lord. Shortly after, her aunt was hospitalized with Covid-19 and we praise God that she has now recovered! With the increased travel restrictions Jordan’s parents have been stuck in the US since February after traveling back to help care for her grandmother. We are so thankful that the Lord has kept them healthy and safe during this time. They have just been approved to return to their home in Japan and have booked their flights. Please pray for their safety during their travel home as they are deemed high risk.
Meanwhile here in Fiji, Michael and Taj both celebrated birthdays. The kids helped decorate the house with balloons, handmade banners, and costumes from the dress up box to make Daddy’s day extra special and we all had fun making Taj’s 5th Birthday pirate themed! We just finished reading Treasure Island, so everything pirate related has peaked his interest. Jordan baked him a special cake and we had fun with a small party. Later this month, Jordan and I will be celebrating 13 years of marriage and we praise the Lord for all His kindness!
The local churches as they deal with many shepherding challenges, while meetings are restricted and Sunday services are performed online
Ministry resources that have been delayed, but are on their way to Fiji
Many Fijians who are currently out of work due to Covid-19
Fiji Bible College (including the students and teachers) as we continue to press on through the school year hoping to allow our graduating class to complete their program by the end of the year