Fiji: Church and Leadership Development
Close to one-third of the Fijian population is descended from indentured labourers brought to Fiji from India by the British colonialists to work the sugar cane fields. Around 2% are Muslim and approximately 3% Christian. Aside from a very small Sikh community, the remainder are either highly devout or nominal, secularised Hindus. The first Australian Churches of Christ mission workers came to Fiji in the 1990's with a specific focus of reaching out into the Indo-Fijian comunity. In the years since, churches have been planted and while some have struggled, others are moving to self-governance and self-sustainability. Today, whilst retaining a particular sensitivity to ministry among people of Indian background, there is a growing desire to be a church for all Fijians. There are cultural and race relationship issues, including fear and mistrust of one another, which we believe the Gospel can help us overcome, but the journey is a challenging one.
ICP's primary focus in Fiji is on working with the existing churches towards a healthy, sustainable and self-reliant future, both financially and in the development of mature local leadership
In 2014, ICP focused on rebuilding a sense of community at Nakasi Church of Christ and creating a sense of purpose and responsibility for the congregation as they move towards being more self-reliant. After a long search, Satish (David) Prasad has been appointed as the new pastor here and Nakasi Church is stepping forward in faith into this new season. After many years of unhealthy church culture at Nakasi there is a high level of fragility to this transition and your prayers are greatly valued.
Ministry at Lautoka and Vitogo continue to grow with vitality under the care of David and Christy Reddy, with a number of baptisms taking place at the start of 2015. Muneshwar Gaunder and his wife, Stella, continue faithfully at Sigatoka with the support of Koren mission worker, Pastor Lim, and his family. Raj & Nirmala Deo are providing good pastoral leadership at Vuci Road where some much needed renovations to the property are also being undertaken this year.
- Lautoka and Vitogo: has a strong and valuable relationship with Devonport Church of Christ, TAS. Teams visit regularly and over the years have invested in music, youth and children's ministry and development of local congregational leadership. The regular communication and strong support from Devonport are a great encouragement to David and Christy and the church. The various members of Devonport Church who have visited have also been blessed by their involvement in the partnership.
- Nakasi: has a budding partnership with Essendon Church of Christ, VIC. Exchange of photos and matters for prayer have been a source of mutual encouragement. As a predominantly older congregation, Essendon church members are not expected to visit with a ministry team, however the possibility of additional partnership, potentially with River Gum Church in NSW, is also being explored.
- Sigatoka: developing a relationship with River Gum Church, NSW, and looking forward to a team visit later in 2015. There is also a long standing supportive and encouraging relationship with Oakleigh Church of Christ, VIC.
- Vuci Road: in the early stages of developing a relationship with Nowra Church of Christ, NSW, with a team visiting in May to begin building relationships and exploring the possible shape of the partnership. Oakleigh Church of Christ, VIC, also continue to support and encourage this church with prayer, and news.
- Train, mentor and develop Pastors and local Church leaders
- Support Pastors at Lautoka, Vitogo, Sigatoka and Vuci Road with finances, resources, prayer & encouragement.