A Fiji Missionaries Update
Wes is teaching an Evangelism Class this term. Rather than just talk about the subject, he asked his students to share the gospel with someone in our community and reflect on how God showed up in the conversation. One student told the story of watching an elderly, Indo-Fijian man being made fun of by indigenous Fijians while taking care of his cattle. Without being asked, the student, himself an indigenous Fijian, went to his dorm, changed into work clothes and started helping the man move his cows to another field. When the man asked him why he was helping, he had one simple answer: “My Jesus wants me to.” Light and salt…in work boots.
Slow and sure, small fruits are beginning to form on the branches of our ministry in this new place. This month, Wes’s work with the library will celebrate a huge milestone. Through the tireless data entry of the library staff…(and Wes’s ‘keep your eye on the goal’ leadership, adds his wife)…the computerized catalog of our 12,000 volumes will be complete. Up until this point, no catalog of the books in the library (digital or otherwise) was available. Now begins the task of increasing the number of our volumes to 20,000 for Master’s accreditation!
Wes’s work with the Fijian Bible Society to translate materials and train local leaders to bring Trauma Healing workshops into Fijian churches is also thriving. This month, Fijian and Hindi versions of the training booklet will be available – and last month, Jerusha attended a women’s rally where two Hindi-speaking Christians spoke about the importance of grief work, forgiveness and God’s healing to their peers. These women were graduates of Wes’s training class. This month, Wes is teaching the class to the pastor spouses at Davuilevu Theological College. Thank you to the United Methodist Women of Santee United Methodist Church for buying a training book for every woman on campus!
Several weeks ago, our family visited a remote island in the Yasawas – a chain of islands on Fiji’s west side – to see the work of one of Jerusha’s former students. Susana is a chaplain for a boarding school that serves about 300 Fijian high school students. The island where she works has no roads, no electricity and no running water. She has been using her Christian education training to start small group bible studies on campus, translate those studies into Hindi for the Indo-Fijian teaching staff, and advocate for quality health care and emotional support for young people who do not have their parents close at hand. She is making such a difference in her community. We saw this first hand! Thank you to the Cal-Nevada Conference that purchased a boat for the church in this area. This boat is essential in getting necessary supplies and in responding to emergencies!
It seems, wherever we turn, we are finding Fijian and U.S. Christians who are giving their witness, treasure, talents and presence because “Our Jesus wants us to.” Thank you. We are proud to be your missionaries.
With love and prayers,
Wes, Jerusha, Mercy and Josiah
To support our work online: go to www.umcmission.org/jneal and www.umcmission.org/wneal - or give to our Advance numbers through your local congregation: (Jerusha #3021963, Wes #3021964).