Souls follow Jesus in Waidina

29 Oct 2023 Joni Vatuvatu

In the heart of Fiji's hard-to-reach province of Naitasiri, the Adventist faith had long been met with rejection in most parts of the province.

Over the past decade, Adventists and new converts faced physical and verbal abuse, as animosity towards their beliefs grew.

Yet, through the power of prayer, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the unwavering dedication of church members, including Adventist teachers assigned to the province, the church has steadily gained ground, establishing its presence in new villages and districts.

On Sabbath, October 28, a momentous baptism took place in Navurevure Village, Waidina, Naitasiri at the conclusion of a three-week evangelism by evangelist Samuela Koro.

The village had only two elderly Adventist members, but over the years, Adventist teachers posted to the nearby primary and secondary schools established regular worship in the village each Sabbath.

These faithful teachers, along with the devoted elderly couple, gathered in a home to worship each Sabbath, often welcoming visiting members from other Naitasiri churches.

Their steadfast commitment contributed to the success of the evangelism program, resulting in the baptism of 28 new souls from Navurevure Village and nearby communities.

The journey was not without challenges and obstacles, which seemed to arise daily. Nevertheless, God's faithfulness was evident, ensuring the success of this important meeting, as noted by retired minister Orisi Lutunaivalu, who was part of the mission.

As the program concluded, requests poured in from other villages for transportation to the evangelism venue. While it was too short notice, the faithful continue to pray for more such programs in Waidina and beyond.

Fiji Mission president Nasoni Lutunaliwa preached at the baptism service and also led a team of ministers at conducting baptism at the Waidina River.

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Women impact Koro Island during Fiji Mission’s Women’s Congress

17 Oct 2023 Joni Vatuvatu

More than 1130 women gathered for the Fiji Mission (FM) Women’s Ministry annual congress from August 29 to September 3. The event was held on Koro Island, where the Dorcas Ministry introduced Adventism into Tavua Village many years ago.

Themed “A Woman Inspired to Aspire”, the congress aimed to motivate, inspire and ignite change.

The event featured a line-up of speakers and workshop facilitators. Guest speaker Pastor Eliki Kenivale, a theology lecturer at Fulton College, provided both practical and spiritual insights.

Pastor Maveni Kaufononga, president of the Trans Pacific Union Mission, opened the event, emphasising a spiritually enriching journey ahead. FM president Pastor Nasoni Lutunaliwa was also present and closed the congress, highlighting the significance of the gathering.

Diverse workshops were available during the congress, ranging from outreach programs to self-care. “The congress was more than an event; it was a transformative experience that deeply resonated with the islanders,” said Alice Kaisuva, FM Women’s Ministry director.

Mrs Kaisuva revealed that prior to the congress, church representatives, including herself, visited all 14 villages of Koro. They followed customary Itaukei traditions, gifting items as a sign of respect and to inform the communities of their presence.

“The gifts provided were chosen thoughtfully and intended to benefit every household on the island,” Mrs Kaisuva said. “We were well received and welcomed into the island, especially in these villages.”

According to the director, the event had a very positive effect. A new church signboard was erected, and approximately $F10,000 was raised to assist the local church—which included purchasing a motorbike for young minister Semiti Koto.

Pastor Lutunaliwa praised the event’s organisation and acknowledged the broader contributions. “Adventist presence amplified during the congress,” he said. “Village businesses prospered, village trucks were fully engaged for transportation, and children set up stalls to sell produce, but the genuine interaction between congress attendees and islanders truly showcased Adventism for a week.”

He added that being on the island as witnesses of Jesus was the highlight of the weekend.

“The congress is one to remember for most women. They are being challenged to seize every opportunity to echo the resounding call and ‘I WILL GO’,” said Mrs Kaisuva.

She added that the women and organisers were determined “to build on this success” and had envisioned extending similar opportunities to the men of the Adventist community.

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Hope Clinic’s contribution to tobacco control recognised by WHO

28 Sep 2022 Joni Vatuvatu

Hope Clinic in Suva, Fiji, was awarded a certificate of recognition on Monday by the World Health Organization for its tobacco control efforts and the personalised services provided for people addicted to smoking.

Fiji health and medical services minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete awarded the a certificate and medal of recognition to Hope Clinic for their services and campaigns in tobacco control.

Fiji Mission (FM) president Pastor Nasoni Lutunaliwa received the award on behalf of Hope Clinic and the church in Fiji, stating, “we can only praise God for using Hope Clinic to minister to the masses in Fiji on wellness and healthy living.”

“The smoking cessation service provided at the clinic is an extension of our health message and every church member should be helping their friends, workmates and family members struggling to quit smoking.

“They are to be directed to the clinic to get professional advice and help to enjoy more what life has to offer,” said Pastor Lutunaliwa.

Dr Waqainabete congratulated Hope Clinic for its commitment to tobacco control.

“It is a fact that tobacco kills. [More than] eight million people die every year globally from smoking-related illnesses,” he added.

According to Dr Waqainabete, there are now five cessation hubs in Fiji, including Hope Clinic, offering intensive tobacco counselling and treatment to tobacco users attempting to quit smoking.

“We hope to increase this number, and we appreciate the partnership we have with the Church in ensuring many are made aware of the risks of smoking to them and their family members,” added Dr Waqainabete.

Hope Clinic director Dr Akuila Tabuavou praised God for the award and thanked WHO for entrusting the program with them.

He acknowledged former director Dr Alipate Vakamocea for securing the program as it corresponds to Adventist Health beliefs.

 “We will continue to provide the smoking cessation program and counselling at Hope Clinic and anyone with the desire to quit smoking can visit us at any time,” said Dr Tabuavou.

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Almost 1000 baptised throughout Fiji in July

11 Aug 2022 Joni Vatuvatu

A family in Bureni, Naitasiri (Fiji), started observing the Sabbath and built a church two years before they got baptised in the Adventist Church on July 30. They were included in the more than 1400 people baptised in Fiji this year.

From Navuso Village outside Nausori Town in the Central Division, Semi Tubuduadua Lutunacagibula, 67, was a staunch Methodist lay preacher who was confronted by the Sabbath truths in a piece of literature in 1987.

Wrestling with his discovery for years, he resolved to leave his church in 2017. Two years later, Mr Lutunacagibula took another step in his faith journey and informed his family about his decision to keep the biblical Sabbath, asking them to decide within three months whether they would like to keep the Sabbath or return to their previous faith.

“At the end of the three months, we all decided to be Sabbath keepers and become Adventists and to observe the Lord’s Sabbath,” said Esala Madanavosa, the youngest of Mr Lutunacagibula’s two sons.

On July 30, Semi Tubuduadua, his wife Josefini Qativi and their children’s families were baptised in Naisilisili, Naitasiri. One of their sons-in-law, Semi Vakamoce Volau, was a former minister of the Methodist church.

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Grand opening: Hope Clinic to promote lifestyle changes in Fiji

11 May 2022 Joni Vatuvatu

“The best health intervention is lifestyle,” said South Pacific Division (SPD) president Pastor Glenn Townend while opening the Hope Clinic in Suva (Fiji) on Friday, May 6—his first trip outside Australia in two years.

He said that lifestyle medicine reduces the risks of acute health diseases and is growing in demand across Australia and New Zealand.

Located in the centre of Suva’s CBD, the clinic has a dietician and a psychologist, with a GP and a nurse joining the team soon. Services include general and diet consultation, counselling, lifestyle medicine assessment, review, and medical report.

Alongside the clinic, there is a juice bar and a vegan café, which has been operating for two years, promoting lifestyle as a viable means of treating and preventing diseases, especially through a whole-foods plant-based diet.

Hope Clinic psychologist Dr Sofaia Vodosese said the cafe, which serves fresh vegan and vegetarian foods, has been influencing the community. “We have seen the change and how people are becoming more health-conscious. We praise God for the life of Mili Mataika and her husband for the great food they provide each day,” she said.

Pastor Townend spoke at opening event.

The idea of a clinic established in Suva was conceived between 2013 and 2014 while Pastor Townend was president of the Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM).

“The South Pacific Division is grateful for the resolve to see this through and we are hoping other clinics will be established in other missions within TPUM,” Pastor Townend said.

“Science and medicine, through research, have affirmed the God-given health message of Adventists and it has now become clear that lifestyle medicine and a plant-based diet is the best place to go,” he added.

Former Fiji Mission (FM) health director and Hope Clinic physician Dr Alipate Vakamocea acknowledged external partners who contributed towards the clinic’s establishment and operation, including Fiji’s Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation, Fiji National Provident Fund, Smiles Café and many others.

FM president Pastor Nasoni Lutunaliwa acknowledged the full support of the SPD to establish the clinic and is hoping that it will continue to render support towards its growth in the future.

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Buckets of biscuits bound for Tonga

26 Jan 2022 Joni Vatuvatu

The Fiji Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in collaboration with the Fiji-Tongan Community and ADRA Fiji is spearheading a ‘’Bucket of Biscuits Drive” to be shipped to the kingdom of Tonga this Friday (January 28).

The request came through the office of the president of the Trans Pacific Union Mission, Pastor Maveni Kaufononga, who is Tongan. It follows the devastating undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami that caused widespread damage to Tonga on January 15.

More than 520 buckets of biscuits were collected in two days and will be handed over to the Tongan community in Suva as they are liaising with ADRA Fiji and the Fijian Government regarding the shipping of relief items to Tonga.

The drive ends this evening and will be handed over to the Tongan community in Suva tomorrow morning. More donations are still making their way to the Mission office in cash and in kind.

Ministers mobilised local churches and districts and some individuals have shown overwhelming support towards the initiative. Fijian Adventists living in Australia and the United Kingdom have also sent cash donations towards the drive.

ADRA Fiji is also providing immediate cash grants to families so they can meet their most urgent needs, whether that is access to clean water, shelter or food.

The response effort is being spearheaded by ADRA South Pacific with the support of the ADRA global network and the world Church, since there is no ADRA office in Tonga.

In collaboration with the Fiji Mission office, ADRA Fiji is also mobilising assistance in the form of food kits and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) kits, which will be part of the consignment of relief goods to be sent this weekend.

The Fiji Mission is planning a virtual gospel concert on Sunday, February 6 to raise funds which will be directed to the Tonga Mission.

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