For the past three years Graeme and Jane Mitchell have led teams of ‘Golden Oldies’ on short mission trips to Fiji. Each year this group, consisting mostly of retirees, discover that participation in God’s mission is for everyone. They even take a nurse with them to make sure everyone can participate. The Golden Oldies have returned inspired and now see new ways they can help with the variety of mission projects in and around Fiji.
The short-term Golden Oldies mission trips are expanding. Previous years’ Golden Oldies are being inspired – and energised – to return for further mission adventures. Last year’s trip became a bit of a ‘McDonalds Combo’ with our returning Golden Oldies being known as the ‘Graduates’ and the first-timers as the ‘Interns.’
The Interns spent the time visiting and learning about mission projects in Fiji. Like previous trips we visited ministries focused on everything from housing to education to health. We also expanded to include aged-care and even a prison ministry. One of our rather nervous Golden Oldies found the prison visit especially engaging: “We were the first people to visit this so-called juvenile prison… only to find out the age range was actually 17-80 years old. That was a shock before we even got through the gate! But what a wonderful experience it was.” As a result of this visit, a new prison ministry with a local Anglican church is being established.
Meanwhile the Graduates used their years of experience and skills to transfer knowledge to a number of ministries. Teachers were able to pass on their wisdom to teachers and students. Biblical teaching was offered to students and ministers at the Bible College. Medical training and support was given at a village hospital. Sulus were sown for the girls at an orphanage. And a woman’s craft day was run to teach ladies a range of crafts.
Rev. Amy Chambers, principal of St Johns Bible College in Suva, says “the Golden Oldies are no longer strangers to us, they are family. We are encouraged by their missions and it is building a special partnership with the churches of Fiji and New Zealand.”
Prior to this trip, a short-term youth team was sent to Fiji as well. The NZCMS Haeranga interns joined up with the team and together they visited a number of mission projects. One of the interesting observations was how much Fijian students value their education. Basden College, an Anglican School, offers second-chance education to students who have fallen off the rails. These students shared their testimonies of been given a second chance at school, and this impacted our youth significantly! As a result of this trip, several team members are now looking at joining the Haeranga Mission Internship in the future.
In July this year we will be running another youth mission trip, and in August, another Golden Oldies trip. Please get in touch if you are interested!
Contact Graeme and Jane Mitchell 021 460 338 firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in Intermission (Issue 22, May 2015)
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