Author: Maclain Boss
Our God is so great and amazing! While traveling to Fiji on an outreach this summer, God showed our team so many glimpses of Himself and His work. We saw His beauty in the vast and breathtaking nature around us- the sparkle of the bright sun on rivers surrounded by rolling green hills just before sunset, the warm grains of sand beneath our feet on the beaches, the cool rain and morning dew dripping into our tents. We saw His servants at work in the missionaries we stayed with our first two nights. Their passion and fire for the people of Fiji to know Christ was inspiring and their enthusiasm for loving the Lord infectious. We saw Him heal a man we prayed over, which was actually really cool because it was two of our students that the Lord used, and in my journal just that morning I had asked God to call hearts to Him and provide miraculous healings. We had the opportunity to share Christ and the hope that only come from Him with so many different individuals- Fijians, Hindus, children, parents, hospital patients, and basically everyone we encountered. Everyone we asked to pray for allowed us to pray for them, and I fully believe God is answering those prayers even this moment drawing hearts closer to Himself and healing physical ailments. I saw team members come so much more alive in their faith and boldly proclaim and live it out.
For instance, one evening we were driving past a Hindu temple that was lit up with the words on the building glowing green, and it was actually pretty creepy looking. In the backseat of the car, a high schooler started praying over that place and the people who would go there- that Christ would take over and become Lord and Savior in their lives. It was so cool and encouraging to see him take the initiative like that and trust God to hear and answer his words. On another occasion as we were walking around the hospital praying for patients, I was amazed by the authority with which each of the high schoolers were praying. They spoke life and hope into each individual’s life that they prayed over and it was all through the Spirit working in them!
Conviction hit home for me that day when we went to the hospital and prayed for patients. And note that this is a third-world hospital where everyone is laying on beds in one large room, divided by a few short walls you can see over, sometimes with very unsanitary conditions and few nurses or doctors. As we split into pairs and set out walking through the different wards I began to feel guilty because I didn’t want to be there. I was uncomfortable; I didn’t know how to approach people let alone know what to say once we did approach them. I didn’t have fancy words or prayers to offer. And I was the leader. I was supposed to know what I was doing. I was supposed to be the example to the students. But somehow there was no excitement in going up and sharing Christ with people and praying for them because I was more focused on my own insecurities. What if I say something wrong? What if it’s awkward or I make them feel uncomfortable? What if I don’t offer them what they need (knowing that Christ is more than enough but somehow not feeling like those words were enough)? The world of what ifs is a dangerous world to live in and we can easily get trapped there forever if we allow ourselves to.
But fears aside, I knew this was why we came to Fiji- to share the hope that we have within us (or at least claim to have within us). If we really believe everything we say we do about Christ and if He really is the hope we hold to, I knew that we had no reason to keep that to ourselves, uncomfortable or not. So uncertain and hesitant we continued onward going up and talking to people and asking how and if we could pray for them. And it got easier as we went along, maybe not less awkward, but we certainly were more confident. Even more amazing is the fact that everyone, including the Hindus, allowed us to pray. God’s going to totally change their lives and they won’t even know what amazingness hit them!
While we were walking through the children’s ward we came to this family eating lunch outside. The father’s name was Thomas and he was there with his 5 children who all had Tuberculosis, which they had contracted from their mother. She died from the same disease nearly a month ago. Immediately my heart went out to them and I wanted to make things better for them all. We spoke with him for a few minutes and then prayed for him and the children. And as we walked away I started thinking how I wish I could have offered him something more- more hope, more comfort, something, anything. But then I caught myself and realized that yes perhaps we could have offered more specific words of comfort, but ultimately through speaking Christ and praying for them we gave the ultimate gift of hope. Did I really not believe that God is big enough to use even our simple words and prayer? No our God is so big and great and powerful. He can use any vessel of His message. It may be awkward and uncomfortable; we may not feel like we said things right or eloquently, but that leaves more room for Him to work. Paul says His strength is made perfect through our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). When it’s not all perfect words it leaves no question of it being our human eloquence that brings about transformation but rather it has to be God’s work.
I don’t know that going from bed to bed in hospitals or house to house in neighborhoods (as we did in the villages) are the most effective means to share the gospel and reach people in our culture. After all, Paul said he became all things to all men; he used different methods in different places to reach different people, always meeting them where they were (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). I think that direct evangelism such as we did in Fiji meets the culture where it’s at because the people are so open and welcoming, and perhaps even desperate for a message of hope. There you could share your entire life story and faith, hear theirs, and pray for them and their family, all within the first 30 minutes of meeting someone and before ever knowing their name. Here everyone (including Christians) is much more individualistic and closed off from sharing such “personal” things. You wouldn’t want to offend anyone or shove your faith down his or her throat, right? And somehow that closed off culture has given us an excuse to stay comfortable in our church circles never taking risks and being bold in sharing our faith, not wanting to ruffle any feathers or be seen as weird. But we need to share. We need to go. The call was universal to all of us to go out and share the gospel in all nations, which includes the strangers at Target and the orphans in Uganda (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). I am so thankful for the reminder in that hospital that we do have the hope that everyone needs. We know the cure to people’s search for meaning, we know the One who will heal all their diseases, we know Who loves each and every one of them with a greater love than they’ve ever known, we know the way to a full life. And we have a responsibility to share that.
As one of the high schoolers said at the testimony night reflecting upon the trip, “We need to be bold. We have nothing to be afraid of.” Let’s go when God says go and be bold in our faith. We have nothing to fear.