We are now 3 weeks into our 5 week placement at the Anglican Cathedral in Suva. It's been a real mix of experiences and paces. Our typical day goes something like this: 8 30am devotion with staff. ...
Yep, that's about all that we can be sure of!
It's pretty organic, even if plans are made they're bound to change so we just take things as they come!
So what has come? We've done a few devotions with the kids in the kindy attached to the church. This usually involves fending off about 20 kids each who all want to hold our hands, touch our hair, show us their monkey bar tricks and lament about the girl beside them who apparently doesn't want to be their friend anymore! Eventually we do manage to do some sort of devotion - the kids are especially fond of the action song 'I'm gonna clap, I'm gonna snap and praise the Lord.' Somehow I've also ended up as a Sunday School teacher ... more clap clapping and snap snapping!
Further happenings involve piling plates with food at a funeral, singing Fijian and Hindi worship songs, selling books at the church bazaar and being part of the daily church services. They're slowly giving us more responsibility in these services - tomorrow I'm in charge of intercession (prayers for church, world etc.). Having not had a particularly Anglican upbringing, words like liturgy and Eucharist were foreign to me and the practice of saying words altogether seemed a wee bit robotic (no offence intended!) However, as I've actually listened to what is said I've come to appreciate how God focused it is - you basically spend the whole time praising him instead of just looking at the me (what he's done for me, how much he loves me etc.). It's beautiful. Something else that's struck me is hearing God worshipped in another tongue. We had the privilege of visiting an elderly man at the hospital with one of the cathedral priests who conducted the communion in Hindustani. Even though I couldn't make head nor tail of anything said it was so cool!
We've also had the chance to work up a sweat (not that that takes much in this temperature!) We had a spontaneous afternoon of house moving last week, helping a lady and her grandson shift a very impressive amount of boxes between houses. Saturdays are spent church cleaning where I've learnt that cleaning windows is not my ideal job - they're never quite clean enough for my liking! I also got another chance to join the women who do hospital ministry. We prayed for a couple of wee kids and I was amazed at how thankful the mothers were, that something so simple could mean so much. One of the mums, a Hindu woman, shared about how she had seen a process of healing in her daughter after she had been prayed for a few months ago. This girl who just a few weeks ago had her eyes rolled back, tongue out with no ability to sit was now able to focus, had the beginnings of speech and she was sitting. Woah!
It all seems rather busy when I share like this but there has also been spaces: time for personal devotions, walks and runs and also times of sitting, waiting and not knowing. To be honest I struggle with this a bit. I'm one for action and feel like we're here to serve so we should be serving. It's challenged me to do some rethinking. What is mission? Does it have to be doing? Or can we get so caught up in the action that we miss the moments of just sitting and listening? The other day I went to help at a bazaar at an old people's home but there was an oversupply of helpers so I just ended up sitting with an old Indian woman for a few hours, listening to stories of her life. Is this a waste of time or just time invested differently? Is taking time to pray, journal and just soak in God's presence mission? It doesn't seem like that's helping anyone but myself. But then again perhaps it's the core of it all, the foundations of where effective mission comes from. When is it time to serve and when is it time to graciously receive? So many questions!
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