Imagine walking through campus on a hot (read: humid+sweaty+sticky) day and coming across a table that was serving ice cold juice… for free! Wouldn’t you stop to cool off and find out what these guys were about?
That was our exact strategy out at orientation day on Namaka campus last Wednesday and we had an overwhelming response. The Student Life table was definitely the busiest table at the school foyer.
While students got a drink, we took the opportunity to talk to them a bit about the ministry and asked them to fill out a quick one-minute survey card that looked like this:
Tom, one of the student leaders that showed up to help did an awesome job talking to groups of students (at times twenty plus in a group) about who we are and how they can get involved. It’s always encouraging to see students step up.
Please pray for the students that filled out cards. Over the next couple of weeks we will be making phone calls to see if we can connect with them. Pray that God would just prepare their hearts.
Pray for the team as they begin these connections with students that God would provide opportunities for them to get into deeper conversations and share their personal testimony of life change.
Our first Connexion (weekly meeting) begins February 14th. Perfect “date” wouldn’t you say?
Our constitution has been approved by the Student Association and Student Life Namaka is now a registered body.
Kelera, our latest team member has found an apartment and will be moving over from Suva this weekend.
Setting up ministry in a new location is a challenge. It’s no secret. Building a movement is something that takes time to function at full capacity. It’s something that we understand might take even longer given the fact that at the moment we might only have two full-time campus staff to begin the new year. This is something we knew full well taking on this assignment.
However, from the get go our rhetoric has always been that we are here to help assist and equip students reach their campus for Christ. We want the students to take ownership of the movement. We want students to lead. We also want to build strong partnerships. It doesn’t matter whether you’re with Cru or YWAM, WEC, OM, or a small church, what matters is that God’s name is glorified.
And although, there hasn’t been much fruit to show for this past year in ministry. We believe that a seed has been planted in many people’s hearts and that the few that have shown interest, really understand the vision of building Christ-centred movements in the Pacific and beyond.
Here are a few things that happened this year:
Connecting with students
We were blessed to find on arriving to Namaka, a group of students that were keen on being part of the movement. Most of these students had either been involved in a Bible study that Nathan had been running on his visits to the West or encountered a project team.
The team organised an Easter Outreach where we were able to have a speaker share the gospel with around 280 students. Of the 98 comment cards that we got back, 55 indicated a strong desire to grow in their walk with God. 48 of the 55 – female students. This was definitely going to be a challenge with Judith soon to go on maternity leave and Nathan and I the only full-time staff on campus.
Leaders Training at Home
In April we had five student leaders attend a training at home. Nathan talked about quiet time and I spoke on the spirit filled life.
Other stats for those that like numbers:
Life concept 1 – Confidence
Life concept 2 – Forgiveness
Life concept 3 – Empowered
Life concept 4 – Equipped
Life concept 5 – Maturity
*Life concepts is very similar to Follow-up. You can download the resources here.
As the semester progressed, campus ministry often felt overwhelming and lonely with Nathan and I being the only staff in a new campus. Our student numbers at connexion started to dwindle and we lost contact with some key students. However, what we’ve been left with is a refined group of committed students.
Prayer Group with other Missionaries
God’s blessed us with great friends who serve with other ministries and organisations. We’ve found support and encouragement in our local church and amongst other missionaries in the area.
ELI – NZ
In June I had to travel to New Zealand to be part of the ELI training. It was tough leaving, Micah was only four weeks old. Fortunately, Judith’s parents had come over from Vanuatu to be with them while I was away.
Nathan and Rebekah got married on the beach in Deuba. It was a beautiful wedding. I’m very proud of Nathan, he’s become someone I can really count on and Bekah adds a lot of much needed humour and spontaneity to the team.
The second semester was a challenge, with Nathan and Bekah focusing on support raising, I became the only staff on campus. A couple of times I had to run Bible studies with a group of 6-8 female students; as the semester progressed we picked up momentum but this was interrupted yet again with trips to Australia and Vanuatu.
September was a busy month for us. I had to leave Judith and Micah again for ELI, this time in Brisbane. A week after returning from Australia, we travelled as a family to Vanuatu. Jim (Judith’s brother) was getting married to Charlotte (a close friend).
It was also a good time for us to connect with family, friends and ministry partners and our church there.
We’re really thankful for being a part of a vibrant church community that has helped us settle well in our new location. One thing that really blew us away was when Judith had just given birth to Micah, families from church brought food over for an entire week.
Since then, I’ve been given opportunities to preach, putting into practice what we’ve learnt during IBS and also assisting with the church finance.
Tavakubu Community Church is a Brethren Church that is located about five minutes drive from home, comprising of about 12 families and many young people.
Please be praying for these potential partnerships:
Auckland Bible Church, NZ
In October I got to show Justin (Tandem Director) and Tim (Senior Pastor of Auckland Bible Church) around Nadi and the campus. Pst Tim is planning on bringing a team of about 8-12 church members for a one week mission trip to Nadi in July next year.
Pray for the team as they raise their support
Pray for their time on campus and opportunities to link up with the churches nearby
Sunday afternoon Nathan and I, along with his father-in-law Mr Bloomfield (WEC) met with Mr Asif from OM UK in talking about strategies to help reach Muslims while continuing to encourage Christian workers in the field.
*Sorry, that’s about all I can share online*
But here is how you can be praying:
For wisdom and strength to share the Gospel message
That God would guide us to meet those whom he has prepared to listen
God would take those who have heard the Gospel to apply it to other listening hearts
We’ve been so encouraged by having FamilyLife staff John and Julie Majors (and family) here in Fiji for the past six months. It’s been such a great time to get to know each other, learn and also talk about ministry. One of the things that Judith and I have been feeling God impress on our hearts lately is the need to reach out to the handful of young couples at church. The Majors helped us see that as full-time workers we also need to invest as much; if not more, into discipling our own kids and learning to love our spouses better.
We’re looking forward to starting our very own “home-group” with other couples next year to learn more about Godly parenting. For now here’s how you can be praying specifically:
Pray for 4-6 couples to join us in going through FamilyLife’s the Art of Parenting material
Opportunities to assist and learn from Pita and Mere Nacuva (FamilyLife Directors, Fiji)
Attend a “Weekend to Remember” event with two more couples (friends of ours)
One of our main prayer points this year has been that God would send more workers to our campus. We were praying specifically for female staff since they represent the big percentage of the student population.
We’re happy to announce that Kelera (Lela) will be joining our team next year. Lela has just graduated from New Staff Training and was recently based at the Fiji National University campus in Nasinu near Suva.
Lastly, please pray for another female staff member (can’t name at the moment) from the US who currently works with international students in Australia. She’ll be coming to Fiji in April to visit the campus and meet with the team to explore the possibilities of doing ministry here in the West.
Our ELI team made up of Nathan, Nani and Sai (coach) got to present our research project and I got to share about ministry so far in Namaka.
We had two main streams at the Leadership Summit. The first one was for senior staff/leaders, their speaker was Gregg Hinzelman who spoke on developing vision and engaging donors. I was glad I could sit in on most of their sessions. The second was the ELI and our main speaker was Holly Sheldon. Holly spoke on “leading larger” and how that drove her to begin a ministry now known as Bridges International.
There were quite a few but this one really summed most of it up.
James 4 says that we don’t have because we don’t ask
Pray for God to give you God-sized vision
Pray for the World – Ps. 2:8
Pray for labourers – Matt. 9:37-38
Jesus intentionally looked around, saw the need and used that as inspiration to implore his disciples to beg God for reinforcements
Look at the spiritual aspect of current events
Look to God’s heart for the world through scripture from Genesis through Revelation
Work hard at developing vision
Educate yourself about the area you are trying to impact
Utilise online resources
Spend time with visionaries and people who are stepping out in faith
Learn missionary facts
Vision is simply trusting God for the possibilities of the future and talk about it
Here’s just a brief overview of our ELI research project. Our focus in on reviewing the training material currently used at conferences in the Pacific Island nations.
*We have a video that we presented in Australia but we’re still working on recording the audio for that but it’ll be up soon.
We conducted online surveys with staff and students
Interviews with long serving staff
Observational trials of staff teaching our current material to students and afterwards giving their feedback on what they thought.
This then led us to review the training material we’re using and also material from neighbouring Cru locations such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and even Papua New Guinea.
Some of the challenges that we faced during our data collection process were
that we had a small pool of students that responded; compared to the actual number that were sent evaluation forms post-conference.
In addition, their responses may have been too kind and not elaborate enough to give us an accurate look at the data.
Another obstacle we faced was our team location and schedules. A new baby, settling down and getting married and new campus responsibilities too. These were the major ones we faced.
When we were able to meet we found out a lot of things from the data we collected. We found that given the choice, the top three topics of interest for both students and staff were:
How to study the Bible (52%)
The Spirit filled life (43.5%)
Making Disciples and Prayer (33.3%)
We also discovered that students and staff both agreed that the training was lengthy.
However, our biggest finding was that there was a significant contrast between student and staff views with regards to:
Overall satisfaction of the training
This meant that our training greatly relied on the trainer and how they delivered the material.
So, there is now a change in focus of our project. It’s no longer the content but the layout and delivery of the material.
As we navigate our way through these obstacles and key findings we’ve established some possible solutions to meet these needs by firstly simplifying the training material and focusing more on the format of the training.
These solutions will explore incorporating active learning activities such as;
Culturally adapted case-base problem solving which is relevant and relatable to Pacific Islanders.
Collaborative learning where students are engaged in group activities.
Personal reflection and journaling times
Giving staff the opportunity to practice coaching techniques and how to better facilitate group discussions.
Our hope is then to come up with a framework for future material formatting one level training as a sample next year and trialing it in 2020.
The Emerging Leaders track is a two-year leadership training program which gives participants the opportunity to work with emerging leaders from across the region and a chance to receive coaching from experienced leaders in ministry.
The training is made up of four modules, two in each year of the course. Our first module was a week-long training held at Long Bay, Auckland.
Mark Rutter our main speaker (US Director of Leadership Development and HR) spoke on Cru’s Leadership Framework. The framework is comprised of six elements: Heart, Relationships, Roles, Responsibilities, Results and an undergirding foundation of Stewardship.
My main takeaway: Invest in your team
“A man’s greatest talents are not in how much he has been able to do alone, but how effective he has been in getting others to work with him. A good leader leads men; a great leader trains leaders.”
Prepare and equip the team to pursue the mission
Ensure the right person is doing the right job
Create an environment for growth
Idea: Go through a book with the team and have weekly book discussions to not only foster growth but also motivate one another. A few of the books that we might begin with for “win” phase at the beginning of the semester are:
Fireseeds of Spiritual Awakening by Dan Hayes
The Finishers by Roger Hershey
The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
Everyone, Everywhere; Glimpses of God’s Global Work Through People Like You by Erick Schenkel
My highlight would be sharing to a community of non-believers; it was my first time sharing the Knowing God Personally booklet to Hindus and asking them if they wanted to give their live’s to God. I was blessed to have been paired up with Tandem Director Justin and his son, Luke from NZ. It was just a great experience to witness how they shared; as well as get some pointers from Justin.
The highlight of the conference would be the training and group discussions because during the trainings of a level one, I got to understand the KGB booklet and understand God’s promises & plans for me & for the in the lives of other believers / non believers.
The group discussions became a way to connect with other students & fellowship which brought the students closer and this was the best highlight of the week getting to sit down and just talk about God’s promise and plans for us all.
One takeaway from John Majors sessions on Luke 9:23 was how he elaborates on the the 3 main topics of the verse; deny, take up cross daily & follow. I was really blown away with John Majors talks he really spoke from his heart & experience.
The Suva staff team also got to meet Micah for the first time and had a small baby shower for him.
Fiji’s vision is to be the hub of the Pacific in terms of spiritual multipliers and to continue to trust God for the fulfillment of the 10/100/10/100 vision (more on this further).
This has been our rallying cry since 2010 as we trusted God to expand our team and to increase our effectiveness in helping fulfill the Great Commission.
Samoa through Soi and Fataki have branched out from Fiji to trust God to build spiritual movements. They are trusting God by the time they leave in 2027 that God will raise a team of 20 Samoan missionaries who are not only reaching Samoa but beyond.
Veronica and Viliami are our two Tongan missionaries who are working with Losena and Fekita to see Tonga Cru re-establish and are trusting God for ways to reach Tonga and beyond.
Tu Ma, Judith and Nathan are making their move to the West of Fiji to help build movement among university students in the Nadi- Lautoka corridor. There are students from the West who are already asking not only how they can be involve but a few have already gone through our staff interview process. Judith who is from Vanuatu is trusting God to see spiritual movements develop in Vanuatu.
This year we are embarking on a journey to trust God for movement to be establish on the campuses in the North, Savusavu and Labasa.
We do not want to reach Fiji only or the Pacific, we want to reach the world! We believe part of the manpower to reach the world will come from Fiji and the Pacific. We believe God will do that throughout the different generations.
The voyager we are sailing on, our canoe, our waka, our drua, our takia no matter what the season is like, will not stop, it will keep sailing till when we reach the shores of the new Jerusalem.
Jesus from Jerusalem sent his disciples to the remotest part of the earth, which is the Pacific. Now it is our time; Fiji time, Pasifika time from the remotest part of the earth to send missionaries, even if it means back to Jerusalem where it all started.
The 10 represents the 10 years from 2010 to 2020 we have trusted God to produce a 100 missionaries. Since then we have seen 70 people mostly university students from different countries and backgrounds go through our staff interview process and hundreds of students have been sent on mission projects. The second 10 is for the 10 ministry locations in the Pacific we are trusting God for run by staff that are 100% funded.
From nine staff back then we now have 25 missionaries and from one campus location we are ministering on six campus locations not including the ministries we have through the communities and churches.
God is definitely on the move, and we want to be a part of that; to continue to trust Him to open doors, for more missionaries and for more countries so that we can develop spiritual movements in.
Please continue to uphold us in your prayers as we trust God together for the fulfillment of His vision for Fiji Campus Crusade for Christ.
*As presented by Sai Kacimaiwai (Campus Director) on behalf of the National leadership at the Fiji Campus Crusade for Christ 40th Anniversary celebrations in Suva.
A testimony by Elidah Zzferio serving with the Great Commission Movement (Cru) PNG.
It has always been my passion to serve God and be in missions for a long time but the field and area of missions was not made clear up until after my 4 years at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).
Being a young Christian in a tertiary institution, you go through a lot; not just peer pressure but the reality of life avails itself to you in many ways. I have gone through so much hardship and stepping stones in my 4 years there. My friends and peers have also gone through the same things as well but the ones who always rise above it all have one thing in common; Jesus, whereas the ones who know about Jesus and the Holy Spirit but do not allow him to take full control of every part of their lives, tend to do things on their own strength and knowledge and often end up hurting themselves more than intended. I see my peers going out to the clubs; smoking and chewing betel nut; getting drunk and causing havoc all over the campus, fighting over unnecessary things; getting suicidal over relationship issues and I wondered why? Why do they not see the enjoyment one has in the Lord, why are they still looking for ways to feel complete? Why are they finding fulfillment in the world?
I realized and I saw that yes, there is a need for missions… Not only in other countries that do not know Jesus or worship other gods BUT there is also a very big need here on campus and in Papua New Guinea too.
I was hesitant at first when I got the application. I was very double-minded but after a long time on my knees and after a quiet time, God spoke to me clear as day. I was still contemplating when the verse Matthew 6:33 came into mind: “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Then He asked: IS THIS NOT YOUR DESIRE? Have you not always wanted to serve me?
I believe God has called me to staff to invest my life in the lives of the students in enabling them to make clear, God fearing choices for a better PNG and to help them understand their worth in the Lord. To build up Godly principles in their lives so that they in turn can help others understand their worth in the Lord and build up Godly principles in their lives as well and also to have a movement of multiplying disciples in all ethnic groups in the country; on campus and wherever the student graduates will go in the future.
2017 was the year of the UNEXPECTED. As the year kicked off, we thought we had everything sorted as we mapped out our plans on the annual calendar. Maybe this is normal for newly weds… thinking you have it all figured out. I dunno. Anyways, let me describe it like this, it was like looking up at a mountain and seeing the summit.
The summit. That’s where you want to get to. It’s beautiful up there. You see it. You see it in all it’s splendor and you also see it there amongst all the other smaller mountains and hills that make that great mountain… the one you want to conquer. And you know that there’s only one way… Up! You see it but what you don’t see though is what lies behind each hill and smaller mountain… the valleys.
2017 was about finding out that sometimes, behind those hills; life’s getting ready to throw you a curved ball… no wait, an uppercut. [I’m not much of a baseball fan] And it’s not just about trusting God through the valleys but learning to be humble even when you’re on top. Yes, despite all the ups and downs of 2017 – the year of the unexpected, we’re thankful that God is faithful and that He is indeed the God of the hills and valleys. And when things don’t work out the way we want it’s encouraging to know that He’s got a birds eye view of the entire terrain.
Here are just a few highlights of ministry (and life) last year.
It was a busy start to 2017, we had two weeks of theological studies followed our regional staff conference.
On campus, it was still difficult for us to meet with students but God gave us creative strategies to be able to engage students off campus and even at their local churches. Read @judithniumataiwalu ‘s post here.
Judith presenting to the Mt Sinai Methodist church youth.
One of my highlights midway through the first semester was men’s fellowship which the male staff organised at the office. It was really great to see the guys (staff and students) get together and have some fun, enjoy a BBQ and have some time to share, reflect and encourage one another. We ended up having another event in the second semester and named the event B.O.B. which stands for Band of Brothers. Here’s a clip of the guys singing a hymn at the end of one of the meets.
In June we had our first ever Student Life Regional Student Training Conference at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour. Our aim is to be able to equip, encourage and motivate students so that they can become positive change agents in their sphere of influence. The conference theme for 2017 was Voyagers and a special emphasis was put on our identity, our history and future role as Pacific Islanders in missions and across the Pacific and “beyond the reef”.
Tongan students perform a cultural item.
Praise and worship.
Students sharing with a lady at the Navua market.
Guest speaker Gregg Hinzelman.
Infographics of student representation at the conference.
Results from the Witnessing Blitz on the last day of Conference.
Jesus Film Project
Judith and I traveled to Vanuatu mid-July and met with our ministry partners there. We were able to assist a Jesus Film Project team from the States and spent a week ministering to students at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE).
After sharing the Gospel at the school assembly on Monday, the team spent about an hour each day doing follow-up by taking the students through the Walking with Jesus video studies.
The JF team donated 3 tablets loaded with material. One of which will be available to students at the library.
Free Wifi in Port Vila
Also in Vila, I worked with local volunteers and Bible translators to set up a high-powered antenna at the Scripture Union Vanuatu office that’s able to broadcast a WiFi signal throughout Port Vila.
We loaded it with Jesus Film material using the BibleBox software, so that once someone connects to the network. They are taken straight to the index of available Jesus Film Project videos and audio Bibles.
Theoretically, the unit(s) should have a range of about 2km but we didn’t have enough time to test this out. It does take a bit of time to setup and I really should have done a video for this but I only had a week. I’ll probably post an update when I next visit Vanuatu.
We had initially planned to join the project team to Nadi. However, the Tonga Project needed another staff member (preferably male) to accompany Sai because of the size of the team. It was sort of a bitter sweet experience because you both want to go on a missions project together but you also want to just spend a week building into students and focusing on the task at hand. I’m glad to say it worked out in the end and we both came back refreshed and had some pretty cool stories to share. Read about it here.
God blessed us through with a new (used) car in November. It’s been such a blessing especially with all the rain we’ve been getting in Suva. Special thanks as well to the couple that made this possible.
Also in November; Judith graduated from New Staff training along with Nathan and Yabaki and we began to plan our move to the West.
Judith with National Directors – Koli and Jeanette Ravoka.
Yabaki, Nathan and Judith getting commissioned.
Nathan and family.
Yabaki with a cousin and Viliami from Tonga.
Judith with Ana and Pst Leinamau.
Judith during staff training:
Memorizing the knowing God Personally booklet with Jeanette.
Figuring out the order of books in the Bible.
Judith speaking at the ConneXion in FNU.
Jeanette checking the arrangement.
Mid-year review with other staff.
We’re moving to the West this year! Our main goal is to assist and encourage the student movement in FNU Namaka. We’re excited and hope to transition over between late Jan to early March and right now we’re still looking for a home. [Please pray] If you’d like to know more, read about it here.
Art of Marriage Seminar
Judith and I attended our first Art of Marriage seminar in November. AoM is a one-day seminar run by Family Life Fiji staff, Pita and Mere Nacuva.
Best News of 2017
And finally… we’re having a baby! It’s a boy and he’s coming in May 2018.
Thanks so much for your continued prayers and support. We love and appreciate you all. Our best wishes to you and your family for the new year.