The Value of Church Partnerships

08 Jul 2015

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Rose Rushton, Tony Kirk, Margaret Kirk, Lee Dobson and John Rushton standing with Raj, his wife, his mother, his two daughters, and two grandsons (all of whom live together in their little two bedroom house, which doubles as a church!

Article from GMP July Newsletter, read more from Global Mission Partners here

Recently a small team from the Nowra Church of Christ (NSW) visited the Vuci Rd Church in Nasouri, Fiji, as the first step in building what we hope will be a long term and mutually beneficial partnership. Introductions were made between the Australian team and local Pastor Raj Deo, his family and church congregation. Two of the Nowra team members included Margaret Kirk and her husband, Tony: “We had no idea what we were heading into, and had doubts  about whether we had the gifts or experience needed to help. We simply prayed that God would come with us”.

The team from Nowra joined Raj in some pastoral visitation, praying for the sick and for other needs in people’s lives. The team also participated in a prayer meeting and Bible study in a church member’s home, followed by great food (like pumpkin curry) and great fellowship. The sharing, both in the more formal time of the meeting, and afterwards had quite an impact on the local church members.  Raj reflected that the testimonies and teaching were heard, understood and appreciated and “the way team members shared about their lives and their challenges encouraged others to share theirs also.” God was certainly with them. Margaret describes the experience of “conversations that were warm and real, there was a buzz of chatter, and so much laughter! Little children climbed over us, and through our conversations generational divides and cultural chasms were bridged, by connecting ties of the love of God. Prayer requests were exchanged, and dreams were shared”.  

The team also received opportunities to observe and reflect upon the cultural differences of life and ministry within the Fijian church and community. One natural response to experiencing those differences is a sense of thinking what may be missing or what ‘ought to be done’. While processing these differences, one of the Nowra team members observed “the more we thought about it, the more we came to appreciate the faithfulness of Raj in meeting people at their point of need and to appreciate that perhaps he knows what is needed most in his community. We feel less critical of what might have been lacking in terms of life-based teaching and more respectful of his knowledge of his community.” Margaret was particularly impacted when she observed Raj connecting with people in his community. “Some of the homes we visited belonged to people from his church, but others, we learned, were the homes of people of Hindu faith, whom Raj had met along the road and who had accepted his offer to pray for them. We started to realise that this was a remarkable man, who had himself come to faith from a Hindu background and who faithfully walks the streets of his neighbourhood, witnessing to the love and power of Jesus Christ wherever he is welcomed”.

The host for the Sunday meeting at Vuci Rd shared his appreciation for the team’s visit, the teaching they received, the fellowship and encouragement. Nowra Church of Christ is looking forward to continue building the depth of relationship between their church and Vuci Rd to see where God takes them. The final word goes to Pastor Raj:  “They have left something in people’s hearts – being willing to come and share.”

Bruce Edwards, Fiji.
Article from GMP July Newsletter, read more from Global Mission Partners here