We sometimes talk about the fact that we can have church anywhere. If we were honest, we usually say that when we have a convenient place to meet and have ‘church’.
That was not the case for the church in Lautoka, Fiji.
Pastor David Reddy and his wife, Christy, used to have the church meet in their small home. Because of its growth, the church was forced to find a new location. For a relatively economical price, the church was able to hire space at the somewhat rundown Cathay Hotel in Lautoka. While conveniently located, the space had some significant downsides – it was an open space outside with a roof, but little protection from the heat, humidity and rain of tropical Lautoka. Another significant factor was that the church could only hire the space from 1-3pm on Sunday afternoons, and had no freedom to move outside of that time allotment – or to have prayer meetings, Bible study groups or run church administration out of the space. As the church sought to grow, it would often lose people to one of the many churches already in existence in Lautoka.
Quite suddenly, the ownership of the Cathay Hotel changed and all the churches hiring the space were told that they no longer could meet – effective immediately. This, of course, posed a problem.
If church can be anywhere…what happens when it appears you have nowhere?
David and Christy both believed that no situation was beyond God’s reach. They had been praying for a more suitable place to meet and, in conjunction with ICP Director Craig Brown, had been exploring other possibilities. One day David was walking along Saweni Beach, his thoughts immersed in the situation his church was facing, and he bumped into a man he knew.
Who happened to be a property owner.
Who happened to be looking for new tenants.
Whose property had a house with a covered terrace that could fit 60-80 people, as well as space for the Reddy family in the home.
Because he knew David, he agreed to a long-term tenancy and to reduce the rent.
To David, it felt like God had answered the prayers of the church in abundance. “In this place at Saweni Beach, we will be able to have our Sunday service and other services (Bible studies, ladies meeting, youth fellowship) throughout the week. This location is a very good place for outreach as well. It is surrounded by a Fijian village and an Indo-Fijian community.” Added to that is the fact that there are no council restrictions on having a worship service in a residential home in this area.
Having been moved out of the unsuitable Cathay Hotel, the Lautoka church is now primed to experience a new season where it can grow, minister to the local community, and run services and ministries that the community needs.