Three young tourists—a German, a Korean and an American—were visiting the park at the foreshore of Suva bay recently when it started to rain. The only shelter was a temporary stand used by the local Seventh-day Adventist church for their new “church in the park” that reaches the poor and homeless in downtown Suva. They asked to stand under cover and the local pastor Epeli Sakauru was happy to oblige.
The church celebrated the communion that day as it rained. These young tourists were fascinated and asked if they could participate. Epeli knew that as Adventists we have an open communion and he explained the meaning and they all decided to have their feet washed and wash another’s feet. They then took the emblems of Christ’s death—the bread and the grape juice. They stayed for lunch and were taken with the ministry to the poor and the fellowship offered. They even closed Sabbath and went to a member’s home for Saturday night. There have been emails since and at least one of the three is seeking a local Seventh-day Adventist church back home.
Four years ago the Keet family witnessed to the children’s expatriate piano teacher and offered temporary accommodation on the Union compound in Suva. The kindness and fellowship of the many different nationalities on the compound has had an impact. The family are now participating in music at the local Tamavua church most Sabbaths.
The Adventist taxi drivers in Port Vila tune their radios to the Adventist station and have GLOW tracts to give to passengers. A NZ couple I met in a church in Nadi one Sabbath were not Christians but they came because of the witness of the Adventist nanny who was caring for their children on their holiday.
I thank God that the Pacific Islands are not only engaged in mission to their own people but the thousands of tourists who visit each year. This is cross-cultural ministry at its finest.