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A Great Adventure - Why Fiji?

Editor's Note: The following post chronicles the journey of Ryan Vasconcellos, a frequent guest on CC (see here, here, and here), and his wife Melissa as they begin their journey of mission work in Fiji. It's the first of a recurring series here on our blog entitled "A Great Adventure," so be sure to keep checking back right here to see how God leads them in the future!

 

It was finished! Ryan and I had completed our second round of a Daniel and Revelation Bible Study. We felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to get more involved with our neighbors and our community. Although all of these feelings led us to get more involved locally all we could do was ask ourselves, what are we going to do next? I'm sure most of you can attest to asking yourself that same question. Once you've witnessed to all of your family, friends, and neighbors its only natural to want to take the next step. We began to pray for The Lord to show us what He wanted us to do next, where He wanted us. Little did we know what He had planned for us.

 

God's first step was to get us out of the city. We began to research country living. Although we've all had this same counsel, I suppose some of us need an "Aha!" moment. We had been praying earnestly for God to show us where He wanted us for a few weeks, when one day, without each other knowing it, both myself and my husband starting researching country living online during our lunch-breaks. Out of all the millions of websites that our web searches brought us, we somehow ended up on the same website, on the same page, at the same exact moment. That evening when we both got home from work, we prayed that God give us another sign just to make sure it wasn't a crazy coincidence. With our heads bowed, in that very moment, our grandma turned on the television in the living room and Hope Channel came on. "Our ministry started in Fiji" were the first words that were said. Ryan and I jumped up from prayer and ran into the living room. From that moment on, The Lord continued giving us reassurance that He wanted us to start preparing a country home in Fiji; in particular, Koro Island. So, we stepped out in faith and started making plans with The Lord's help.

 

From that point amazing things started to happen in our lives. The more we gave to God of our time, the more he started blessing us in an abundance of ways we could have never imagined. A second job promptly landed in Ryan's lap, which paid more than his regular job, that completely funded the purchase of an acre of land and small house to be built. Jesus says in Mark 10:29-30 says "there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time", we were left in awe at God's goodness.

 

We continued praying that The Lord would reveal His plan for us. We continued to stay busy in the community, but couldn't help but wonder about the future in Fiji and what it all meant. We got an overwhelming feeling that Jesus wanted us to serve Him full time with our lives, 100%, as He clearly stated in the Great Gospel Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. We filled out all our paperwork and took an online missionary course, thinking that, perhaps, The Lord would send us through official channels as missionaries. Then in January of 2012 we attended GYC in Houston, Texas. We were going through the booths and came across ADRA. Ryan told them that we felt that The Lord was leading us to work in Fiji. They informed us that they were not yet in Fiji, but took our names for if/when they started working in Fiji.

 

In February of 2012 Ryan and I traveled to Fiji together. Our trip had been nice, but we were unable to connect with anyone from the church as we had hoped to. It was two days before our departure when a man came running up to us as we crossed the road and asked us if we needed anything. We told him we were fine, just going to have lunch. It turned out that he was the pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church just up the road from our hotel and invited us to meet his family. He heard our story and offered to take us to the SDA Fiji Missions Office. We were so happy because we didn't even know there was a Mission Office close to where we were staying in Fiji. When we arrived, we heard the bad news that the entire pastoral staff had left early that morning for another island. As we started walking out, a tall Fijian man walked in and told the receptionist that he woke up with a boil on his leg this morning and couldn't make the trip with the other pastors. Pastor John, who drove us there, promptly slapped him on the back and laughed saying, "God gave you that boil so you could meet them!" Pastor Wame, the man with the mystery boil, was the General Secretary and man in charge. We shared our story with him and he told us that just weeks earlier, they had a meeting and spoke specifically about getting things in place in the event that God brings volunteers willing to serve. We all praised God for answering all of our prayers.

 

From that visit on we emailed back and forth. Months passed as we filled out paperwork, had recommendation letters filled out, etc... During that time Pastor Wame, from the Fiji Missions Office, told us he would be searching and praying for where the Lord would have us start our missionary service and on which one of the 332 islands it would be on. Finally, at the end of summer we heard from Pastor Wame. He apologized for the delay in getting back to us. He explained that all of the places they had originally wanted to place us and some schools they thought would be good for us to work at all had the doors close one way or another. He seemed defeated as he told us that he was left with one last option. The last option would be to start a Health Ministry in the villages on the island of Koro as well as work with ADRA when needed. His last resort and worst case was our best case situation!

 

The amazing thing about how God works is that what we had privately hoped for came to reality in a bigger and better way than we imagined. They didn't know that we had met with ADRA in January of 2012 and that we are vegan and love anything health related as well! We'll be living in our own house, eating fresh fruits and veggies from our own garden, and serving the Lord while we do so. God had our entire future planned before we even started praying about it!

 

 

 

As we reflect back on the last few years and how far God has brought us, we are starting right at the greatest adventure of our lives and it's all because of Bible Study and Prayer. Although we don't know what the future holds, we know that for the first time in our lives we will be serving the Lord 100% and that gives us hope. The decisions we've made over the last few years have been both the easiest and the hardest decisions of our lives. They were easy because we know that the entire time we have followed the leading of God and fully surrendered our lives to Him. We know that none of the decisions of where, why, when, what, and who were our own but rather God's. Because of that, we have a peace inside of us, knowing that we are in the arms of Jesus.

 

Follow our blog each and every week to see the amazing work that God is doing on Koro Island, Fiji!

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