Community Visit: Bible Society of the South Pacific – Fiji Mission on Vanua Balavu Island, Fiji.

An old lady participated in the “Taking Your Pain to the Cross” exercise in Vanua Balavu Island, Fiji.

Vanua Balavu Island, a captivating blend of coral and volcanic beauty, spans an area of 53 square kilometers (20 square miles) and boasts a peak elevation of 283 meters (928 feet). The island’s distinct characteristics include towering cliffs with rich volcanic soil, ample water resources, and thermal springs.

Lomaloma, the central village, hosts amenities such as a post office situated in Lomaloma copra port, and a modest hospital. The Lomaloma Copra Biofuel Project, previously a crucial power source for Naqara, Sawana, and Lomaloma villages, is now inactive.

Vanua Balavu Island offers a unique fusion of natural allure, cultural heritage, and essential infrastructure, making it a standout and compelling destination in the region.

The training modules extended to Vanua Balavu encompassed Trauma Healing workshop, Hermeneutics Seminar, and Sunday School Teachers Training.

Four teams, part of the Bible Society of the South Pacific – Fiji Mission team, embarked on visits to various communities within the island. These teams were strategically designated to specific communities, each focusing on conducting impactful training sessions and activities.

After a Trauma Healing Group session at Mavana village, Vanua Balavu Island, Fiji.
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4th – 13th February, 2023.

Vision Day Australia encompassed a dual focus: a showcase of Bible Society Australia’s accomplishments throughout 2022 and an insightful glimpse into what the organization has planned for 2023. Additionally, the event involved productive meetings between our teams and our Australian counterparts, fostering collaboration and exchange of ideas.

I thoroughly enjoyed the insightful five-voices training hosted at the Australian Catholic University in North Sydney. The training was expertly conducted by Penny, the Chief Welfare Officer for the Bible Society Australia. The training program included an 80-question quiz that needed to be completed prior to the session. This quiz serves as a valuable survey aimed at understanding one’s personality, a crucial aspect for effective teamwork within the Bible Society.

The initial session revolved around the theme of self-awareness and appreciating the diverse voices within our teams. From this exercise, I gained a valuable lesson: I plan to take the quiz to Fiji and encourage my team members to complete it. This initiative will enable me to better understand and respect their individual voices, fostering a harmonious and effective team dynamic within the Bible Society.

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Empowering Batiki Island: Bible Society Fiji Mission Team’s Transformative Journey in Lomaiviti

In the beginning of 2022, the Bible Society of the South Pacific-Fiji Missions team received an invitation to visit Batiki, and the visit was scheduled for New Year’s Day 2023 and the subsequent days in January.

Preparations were diligently made, and on December 31st, two teams were formed, comprising two Trauma Healing facilitators and one Sunday School Teachers Training facilitator each, totaling six members. They commenced their journey by heading to Ovalau first and then transferring to Batiki island via a small boat.

The team devoted 7 days to their mission on Batiki (from December 31st, 2022, to January 6th, 2023), during which they carried out the following activities:

1. Trauma Healing Workshops: The team conducted healing groups in all four villages of Batiki, reaching and teaching a total of 65 individuals.

2. Hermeneutics Seminar: This ran parallel to the Trauma Healing training, leveraging the same facilitators. The team successfully imparted knowledge to a total of 65 participants.

3. Sunday School Teachers Training: Two training venues were set up on the island, where a comprehensive total of 35 teachers from Batiki were trained and equipped.

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Empowering Vanuatu Against Domestic Violence: A Journey of Healing and Education

As of December 2022; after the recruitment of the Program Manager Mrs. Renata Netaf, she has met with 14 leaders from Churches and relevant agencies.

As at 30th March, 2023 5 Domestic Workshops have been held, once in Port Vila and four in Santo. A total of 91 people have been reached with the training that have been held so far.

From the 21st – 24th February, 2023 HWT Training of Trainers/Initial Equipping sessions on the (5 Core Lessons) + Domestic Violence was held at the Vanuatu Council of Churches Training room in Port Vila, Vanuatu. A total of 22 participants turned up at this training. The training was also to train the Program Manager Mrs. Renata so she could facilitate future trainings. Representatives from churches, Women’s groups, and other agencies were at the training. The workshop had a mix of experienced and seasoned church leaders and prominent lay members from various. The workshop identified five potential partners and co- facilitators that Vanuatu Mission Branch Domestic Abuse project can call upon to facilitate on a volunteer basis and for collaboration purpose. Participants were eager to take the training to their own communities to share the knowledge and healing with their own people. 18 participants were awarded the Apprentice facilitator certificate at the end of the training and advised that they co-facilitate for the next 24 months.

From the 1st – 7th March, 2023, the HWT Training of Trainers on the 5 Core Lessons + Domestic Violence was held at the Church of Christ hall in Santo, Vanuatu. The Facilitator Mr. Jack Reuben and co-facilitator Mrs. Ledua Turaganivalu and Mrs. Renata Netaf facilitated at this training.

Unfortunately, the Master Facilitator Rev. Apenisa could not join the team in Santo as all the local flights were cancelled as the nation was advised to get prepared for the upcoming natural disaster. That week, Vanuatu had two cyclones one after another in Vanuatu. Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Judy first hit Port Vila from early morning on Wednesday (1/3/23) and followed by Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Gavin on Friday afternoon (3/3/23).

Meanwhile in Santo due to the disruptions of the TC Judy warnings and alerts the training was deferred from the 28th of Feb to 1st March. The training was scheduled to be completed on the 3rd of March but due to the cyclone and earthquake the training had to be cancelled and re-scheduled for 7th March. The turnout of participants was affected. From the 25 participants that were invited, only 9 people attended the training. Nevertheless, those who attended were privileged and blessed to be part of the training. There were lively discussions during group discussions and sharing sessions.

Sharing of hurts and griefs greatly helped the participants healed. Six of the nine participants were awarded the Apprentice facilitator certificate at the end of the training. They were advised that they co-facilitate for the next 24 months to gain more knowledge and confidence in facilitating. We thank God that after the newly trained Program Manager received the training she was able to facilitate the three trainings below with the help of others that received the training in Santo.

  • 19/03 – Domestic Violence workshop was carried out at the Presbyterian Church in Santo. 25 women were participants at this training.
  • 26/03 – Domestic Violence workshop was carried out at the Presbyterian Church in Santo. 12 men were participants at this training
  • 27/03 – Domestic Violence workshop was carried out at the Presbyterian Church in Santo. 23 youth were participants at this training.
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God’s Plan in Kumi’s Failure

Vakatawa Vetinia Kumi
Vakatawa Vetinia receiving Bible Society’s gift for her church.

THE wise man once stated that, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). This scripture rings loud and true for Lay Pastor (Vakatawa) Vetinia Kumi who twice flopped her English, Fiji Seventh Form Examination paper, to finally realize the purpose and call of God in her life. Her ambition whilst at high school was to have a successful career and support her family. However, despite scoring good marks and failing the most important subject – English, Kumi realized she had to change vocation.

Growing up in her village of Naruwai in the province of Bua in Fiji’s second largest island – Vanua Levu, Kumi always shares her dream to her parents, that one day she’d become a Deaconess or a pastor. Then, she enrolled into the school system. It was in this education stream that her childhood dream slowly faded and she thought, to pursue a successful career. But later into her final year at high school level, that God miraculously moved in a way, that looked otherwise in the eyes of man but it was His way of making Kumi realize the Calling in her life.

“I thought I’ll become a civil servant as I continued my high school education. I really wanted to have a good career so I can help my parents and my family. But something happened, I failed my English paper, despite two attempts. I passed my Form 7 exam in my first attempt, but I failed my English which is the most important subject. So, I thought to give it another try. I changed school and attended Labasa Muslim College. I passed with very good marks but I still failed my English paper. Right at this moment, God just reminded me of my childhood dream that I always wanted to become a deaconess or a pastor,” the 27-year-old says.

She was offered an opportunity to study at the Lautoka Teachers College and simultaneously, the doors to study at the Fiji National University opened. But Kumi knew the experience she went through at high school is a beacon that she had to change course.

“From this experience, I told my parents of my desire and the Godly reason why I twice failed my English paper. It was a bit hard for them to accept but I’m happy that they’ve supported me until now.”

Kumi then attended the Methodist Lay Training Center (MLTC) in 2013, graduated in 2015 as the only female graduate. She spent a year looking after her village of Naruwai before being posted to her first posting at Tavulomo village in the circuit of Dama in the Bua division under the Methodist Church of Fiji. She’s now into her sixth year looking after a congregation of 156 members.

The pandemic outbreak of Covid-19 was an obstacle that she approached as a challenge. It was an experience that she could only thank God for giving her the wisdom to make wise decisions. As the people were suffering, she attributed God for the ‘motherly love’ instincts inbuilt in a woman that kicked within and had great impacts in the lives of the people.

“Covid-19 changed how things work in the ministry,” Kumi explained.

“Most people were not coming to church because they were used to the lockdown norm of staying home during the pandemic. But I believe that ‘tender love and caring’ characters in a woman especially mothers who’d care for their children, birthed compassion in me. I begin to treat people with love. I can feel God strengthening me in this area to show genuine love to the people and it really impacted them,” she adds.

“Later, after the lockdown, people slowly began to come of out of this new norm of staying home on Sundays to attend church. Some members who haven’t entered a church in more than 10 years begin to come to church now.”

She drew a lot of inspirations and invaluable lessons from her congregation. “It’s my members that really taught me a lot in the ministry. I learned a lot of things from my visit to the members on a personal level. It gives me inspiration to see how people are impacted and have grown despite the challenges of this covid-19.”

She adds ministry is tough. “Its worth travelling this tough journey. It’s a joy to do ministry because I know that in those tough situations, I am not alone – God is with me. I often hear from my circuit Pastor, that ministry is not only about preaching – it’s getting to know the people on a personal level, building that strong relationship with them,” she adds.

Vakatawa Vetinia with her son, Naivalu.

Kumi is married to Olive Rasue, who has been a pillar in the ministry. She says her husband’s support has really helped her grown.

“I thank God for my husband who is very supportive and understanding. I have my roles at home as a wife and as a mother and then there’s ministry. It’s hard trying to balance them all. But my husband helps me fulfill all these roles. Its his support and understanding that motivates me in the ministry.”

Kumi who is the only female Vakatawa in the division of Bua is breaking new grounds in a male dominant ministry. She is the first female from her village to journey this vocation. Kumi is also the pioneer Vakatawa in the village of Tavulomo where she ministers.  

She advices, “Struggle and life’s challenges will keep coming at us like waves but the only solution is God. Fiji, let’s serve God faithfully, build a good relationship and fellowship with God, come away from living a sinful life and you’d witness the favour of God in your life.”

One of her favourite bible verses, John 14:6; “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” is always a reminder that it’s through Jesus alone that all problems could be solved. 

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Bible Society Transitions It’s Training to Virtual

Sunday School Teachers Training Facilitator (Mrs. Iva Teilai) making video resource videos for Sunday School Teacher Training.

In an effort to transition mission work during the pandemic, Bible Society Fiji Mission staff worked on having the Sunday School Teachers Training virtually using Zoom platform.

The Sunday School Teachers Training was an initiative that Bible Society of the South Pacific worked on after realizing the needs from the community. Together with Kingdom Kids project, the Sunday School Teachers training has been a successful tool for mission and in reaching the young ones through the training of Sunday School teachers.

Upon transitioning the training to virtual platforms, Bible Society had to compile resources videos to enhance the virtual experience for the teachers and in this regard, the team was able to learn new things. Getting volunteers equipment’s to compile such resources has also enable the team to look into investing in new equipment’s (camera, tripods & mics) and upskilling of teams to match the technological era we are currently in.

Below is a resource video compiled for the Sunday School Teachers Training with Mrs. Iva Teilai.

Virtual Sunday School Teachers Trainings Done in 2021

  • 21st September, 2021: Trained 9 Sunday School teachers from the Nasova/ Nasese Methodist Church and Saioni Vou Methodist Church.
  • 30th September, 2021: Trained 4 Sunday School teachers from the Galilea Mission Center, Kinoya.
  • 7th October, 2021: Trained 15 Sunday School teachers and parents.
  • 14th October, 2021: Trained 6 Sunday School teachers from the Nasinu Wesley Church.
Resource handover to the Saioni Vou Methodist Church teachers
Resource handover to the Nasinu Wesley Church teachers


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Bible Week Videos Involves 3year Old’s to 99years Old


We were joined by the President of the Methodist Church in Fiji, Rev. Ili Vunisuwai and the General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji, Rev. Iliesa Naivalu for this activity.

The Bible Week celebration started on 27th June, 2021 to the 4th of July, 2021.

This was amidst the lockdown that Fiji was observing and so the Bible Society of the South Pacific had to rethink ways in which to host a nationwide celebration for Bible Week. Hence, the idea to utilize modern technology for the celebration like having the hashtags (#BibleWeek2021).

We are joined by Rev. James Bhagwan (General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches), reciting his favourite bible verse for #BibleWeek2021.

Videos received from the Fijian community ranged from children of 3 years old to the elderly of 99 years. Locations of participants spanned the globe like United Kingdom and Barbados and it also helped some of the younger generation the ability to recite bible verses in their mother tongue. This video campaigns also encouraged youth groups, families, YWAMER’s and friends to send in their videos.

We are joined by Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and his 99 years old grandmother (Bui Alena), as they recite their bible verse for #BibleWeek2021.

This initiative ran until the end of July, 2021 which has inspired Bible Society of the South Pacific to increase the Bible Week to Bible Month for 2022.

Watch all videos submitted for the Bible Week 2021 celebration which was featured on the Bible Society of the South Pacific Facebook page.

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Boost to Mission Work in Fiji

Bible Society Fiji Mission Board Members & some of the Comic translators with the David Comic at the launch.

On the 22nd of March, 2021, Bible Society of the South Pacific launched a David Comic in the following dialects:

1. Tavuki, Kadavu.

2. Naitasiri

3. Bau

4. Lau-i-Cake

5. Maumi, Tailevu

6. Toga, Rewa

7. Wainimala

8. & Fiji Hindi

We were blessed to have Rev. James Bhagwan (Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary) as our chief guest. The comic was launched at the Jovili Meo Mission Center at the Pacific Theological College and we had the translators and church leaders present to witness the auspicious occasion. Watch the Launch address by Rev James Bhagwan of the Pacific Conference of Churches.

Watch some of the pictures from the launch event that had all Bible Society Staff, Board Members, some of the translators of the David comic and some of the donors of the Fiji Mission.

22.3.2021 David Comic Launch pictures.
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