Fiji is often considered a holiday destination for Australian travellers. Some have even referred to it as a ‘paradise’.
For a while during the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed to live up to that status. With advance warning of the pandemic’s advance, swift government action and the isolation that comes with being an island-nation, Fiji escaped the worst of the first wave. That all changed in April 2021, when the Delta strain swept through the nation, and resulted in most of Fiji’s 52,000 cases and 673 lives lost.
Churches could not meet across Fiji, and many ministries experienced significant financial challenges without congregational giving. However, the churches that generous GMP supporters have supported in Lautoka, Vuci Rd and Lomowai (Sigatoka) did not experience that financial pressure. Their pastors, David, Raj and Muneshwar, focused on innovatively reaching the communities around them and comforting their own church members.
There were prayers conducted over the ‘phone and sermons recorded and sent to church members to view. Pastoral visits became pastoral calls. A few months back, through the funds provided through ICP’s COVID-19 Ministry Appeal, 50 families were given substantial food packages from each of the churches. As part of their emphasis on outreach, half of those families did not attend the churches.
David Reddy, from Lautoka, told GMP that “the recipients of the food packages were very grateful for the support they received. Families who didn’t have a source of income were emotional and thankful. They stated that God had used GMP to answer their prayers.” Raj Deo (Vuci Rd) wrote, “People have seen the love of God being expressed through giving the food packages and have come closer by communicating with us and thanking the church for its great help in urgent need.”
Despite their careful adherence to COVID-19 protocols, our Fijian team have not escaped it. Muneshwar and his family contracted COVID-19 last month. They were fortunate that he, Stella and their three children only had mild symptoms. Like so many Fijians, they had to spend two weeks in isolation. They were deeply appreciative of the prayers of many and the practical support from GMP to purchase medicines that had increased in price during the pandemic. “We are very thankful for the speedy assistance the GMP team has been,” he reflected.
Through your support, the gospel of light and compassion continues to reach the Indo-Fijian communities in Fiji.
Would you like to partner with us to support the faithful work that Raj, David and Muneshwar have been doing in Fiji? Find out more at www.gmp.org.au/what-we-do/projects/fiji/pastors-in-fiji You can also learn more about GMP’s Covid-19 Reponse at www.gmp.org.au/what-we-do/covid-19-response