Ken, was in all honesty a little reluctant to coming on the mission, but the family were coming, so he thought he better tag along. His actions on the last morning at a final ‘thanksgiving service’ possibly sum up the NZCMS Mission trip for us all.
His, and ours, view of mission from the experiences throughout the week, have been life changing. Visiting the remote villages to view their ‘homes’ and lifestyles; Fijian ceremonies welcoming us as honoured guests; interacting with students at sparsely resourced schools; walking and communing in squatter settlements; playing with the orphan children till after dark on their field; and feeling the warmth and hospitality of the St John’s Bible College family and Bible students; are all just a snapshot of this mission.
And it culminated at the conclusion of this thanksgiving service when Ken, suddenly standing up, taking off his treasured Crusaders rugby jersey, and placing it on one of the Bible College students. It was an act of deep appreciation and thankfulness to the way this student (as well as the other students) had cared for the team, and the children, during this inaugural mission. At that moment we all shared Ken’s expression of love to God and our hosts.
So this mission has come to an end, has it been fruitful?
Each person will have to decide that for themselves, but lets look at some of the ‘fruit’.
A dream to build toilets for 55-years in a remote village, is about to become a reality. With support from the Golden Oldies and this Families Mission, they hope to be completed within the next month.
A small church trying to connect with its community had a vision to start a kindergarten. For nearly two-years they have fundraised to build a fence around their church for the children’s protection. They have wanted to open it next year, but needed the final $$$ to finish. This team has made that vision become a reality. Pre-school children will now get the chance to get Christian pre-school education in this town from 2014.
A donation given to the Anglican College is being used to start a Scholarship Fund to help village students continue their studies at College level.
The children delivered many of the 450 children’s story books we brought with us to schools and villages.
A brokerage role occurred with laptops -designed specifically for developing countries, and using e-learning styled education has started between the University of the South Pacific and the Anglican Church for their schools.
The confidence gained by the Bible College students who took daily children’s devotions were enjoyed immensely by them.
And the heart-warming friendships that have developed between team members and Fijians from each mission site visit will continue to blossom over time.
To sum it all up?
Inspiring with a sense of gratefulness. The generosity, warmth and friendship from our Fijian brothers and sisters will remain with us indefinitely.
Now to start applying what we have learnt. Learning daily to take the ‘shirts’ off our own backs to help others in Christian love, grace and humility.
The big finale.
The Team and St John’s family final ‘team’ photo before departure back to NZ.
Thanks to team members, Amanda Robinson and Thomas Mitchell, who took the photos on our behalf!
On behalf of the entire team,
here endeth the blogs.
NZ CMS Families-Youth Mission
13-22 July 2013