Bula Vinaka everyone. Rob here.
As you may deduce from the above greeting I have recently returned from Fiji, where our church has just completed a short-term mission trip. One of the strong convictions we have as a team, is that God was faithful to us. What does that mean? It’s one of the great Christian cliches, but what does it look like in reality?
For us, it meant that God gave us everything we needed to do his will as a team. Before we left we had a clear purpose. We wanted to do a good, high quality job on the building project and be a blessing that way. We wanted to be united in love and purpose. We wanted to have encounters with the local Fijians that were mutually beneficial and blessed. We wanted to bless the resident mission leaders and their family. They are part of our church and friends to most of us who went. Again, this word ‘bless’ seems like a cliche too, until you realise that it means being bearers of God’s blessing. When you know that, it becomes a missional word. So, as a team, we say that God was faithful because he equipped and empowered us to do his will and carry his blessing to those he wanted us to carry it to.
God’s faithfulness was shown most clearly in the small things. On the building site, everyone was willing to work hard and everyone found useful work to do. The experienced practitioners were patient and helpful to those of us less experienced. We had people who kept things light and brought fun to the table. Others were gentle encouragers. We even had some who were great with the children we had on site periodically. Every day we would have a devotion at morning tea. We shared this task out and everyone came well prepared, shared their hearts and unified us around the God who loves us. God knitted the team together, empowered us to bring our best selves and motivated us to serve through hammers, paintbrushes and drills.
Outside of the building site it was also evident that God had knitted our team together in a special way. We ran a midweek kids club and a kid’s Sunday School, where people’s creativity and heart for children combined to create a memorable time. I was able to preach and share with local pastors. Others gave testimonies. One wrote a drama that was just right for the occasion. Friendships were built with a local worker and local pastors. There’s much more and God’s faithfulness in the little things was seen in ways beyond the team dynamics.
There was the cooling breeze at just the right time. There was the blessings of good food lovingly prepared. Prayer became focused on daily needs: like supplies arriving on time, good health, safety, energy, being a blessing to others, and those prayers were answered.
We are part of God’s ambitious plan: the renewal of all things. But Jesus encourages us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” In Fiji we found that we were uniquely knitted together for a common purpose, and that as we presented ourselves daily before God, his will was done through us. I believe these principles do not just apply to a short-term mission trip in another country, but to every community that bears the name of Jesus. This is why small groups matter so much. It’s in the tightness of these groups, within the larger community, that we receive the mutual love and care necessary to uphold us as we go about God’s mission in this world. If you don’t have a loving, purposeful small group to be part of, I encourage you to pray for one.
Grace and peace everyone and…
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.