Reaching the People of Fiji
Divisional Commander Captain Andrew Moffatt and Divisional Secretary for Mission Major Phillippa Serevi recently appeared on the Breakfast @ Fiji One programme to talk about the recent Embrace Women’s Conference and the Fiji Division’s annual street appeal.
This is the second time they’ve appeared on the show, an opportunity they received by simply asking for it. Andrew and Phillippa stated that Fiji as a nation is open to talking about the gospel, even on public platforms.
‘People are open to the gospel here. Even people from other beliefs are open to the gospel. They’re open to hearing the message on the telly,’ Andrew said. ‘Fiji just celebrated Diwali a couple of days ago. Everybody here is happy to have the Hindu people … and the Muslim people have their festivals as well.’
However, not many people in Fiji know about The Salvation Army, though the work undertaken has a lot of impact in communities, and so Andrew said they will continue to bring awareness.
Their street appeal went well, raising the most funds of an Army appeal in Fiji to date. However, Andrew said it’s not all about the money.
‘It’s more about the opportunity … It’s about the opportunity to let people know what we do,’ mentioned Andrew. ‘And while we’re standing there, people do ask the question, “Oh Salvation Army, what is it you do and what are the things that you need?”’
The Salvation Army Fiji Division has three family care centres for survivors of domestic abuse, a prison ministry, an emergency response ministry and also the work they do with children and youth. It is hoped that a drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programme will start in 2024.
Andrew emphasised that the work they do in Fiji, while not known by everybody, is valuable and making a difference in Fijian society.
‘We’re a small denomination, but as a small denomination we are known for doing a lot. So we have quite an impact in the social outreach side of things and have had quite an impact during Covid as well,’ he said.
It’s also an important way to share the gospel and connect people to church. ‘There are a lot of Fijians who know about God … but it’s in a very traditional way … They don’t all have a faith belief or an understanding of God or an encounter with God’s Spirit. It’s an opportunity to share more of the gospel.’
Breakfast @ Fiji One is the most popular television programme in Fiji, which also reaches other island nations. But radio is the most common platform people engage with, as not all households have a television and because of this they are hoping to share the work of The Salvation Army on radio shows to reach more people. They are also planning to promote The Salvation Army Fiji’s fiftieth anniversary next year on different platforms and hope this will help further the reach of gospel in Fiji and beyond.
Words: Hope Burmeister