A year and a half ago, each of us celebrated our seventieth birthdays by taking on the challenge of funding the Every Home for Christ Oikos Initiative for the South Pacific island nation of Fiji – a bold proposal to visit every home in the country with the Gospel in a two-year period. All of our friends and partners rallied behind us and gave generously toward our vision so that we were able to raise the full budget by the end of 2019. We are very grateful to all who supported us both financially and in prayer.
Our friends in Fiji began the outreach with great zeal and were well on target to reach all the two hundred thousand homes by the end of 2020. Having visited just under half within the first year, they were able to organize a dozen new Christ Groups – fellowships of new believers – and direct them to the oversight of established churches. Their strategy for 2020 was to focus on reaching the more than one hundred small islands which are more difficult to visit than the main islands where the bulk of the population is located. This already challenging program was made even more problematic with the coronavirus outbreak; however, they did realize that there was an open door in a region of the country where the outbreak was not so severe. The volunteer evangelists were able to visit almost four thousand homes in this sugar-cane-producing area. Although the residents in this region are mostly Hindus and Muslims, they proved to be very receptive to the gospel and made the team members feel at home by giving them drinks and food.
One example of the diligence of the evangelists who are part of the Fiji outreach is the team who went the village of Tubarua – nestled deep in the interior and only accessible by trekking or on horseback. The team walked for a total of six hours, climbed several mountains, and crossed one river thirty-two different times. Upon their arrival, they were greeted by the village headman who was surprised that anyone would make such an effort to visit his village. He exclaimed, “I have never seen such passion and character. I guess there must be something special about us that you had to walk this long to visit us.” After visiting every home and sharing the gospel with all the people of the village, they set out on their return journey that would take them up and down the mountains and across the river another thirty-two times for another six hours.