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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Trauma Healing

The Bible Society of the South Pacific is privileged to play a pivotal role this year in the establishment and continued development of the Trauma Healing ministry in Fiji and other Pacific countries. This has been made possible through the encouragement of the General Secretary, Mr Solomone Duru, who saw the need for this ministry in the Pacific and particularly the translation of its material into the core languages in Fiji. The three Trauma Healing training workshops that were achieved so far within a span of six weeks (9th July to 13th August) is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and provision. The partnerships with the American Bible Society’s Trauma Healing Institute, the Seed Company, other donors, and those who helped facilitate the seminars are greatly acknowledged as well.

Group Discussion and reflection

1) Trauma Healing Workshop with Rev Wesley Neal (9/7/15 – 13/8/15)

Reverend Wesley Neal, a Lecturer at the Davuilevu Theological College in Nausori facilitated the first Trauma Healing seminar for the Bible Society Staff. The invitation was extended to other Church leaders and/or counsellors who met every Thursdays between 2-4pm at Yarawa Wesley Church for six consecutive weeks. Assisting Rev Wesley during the first 3 weeks was Rev Saiasi Kawa whose also from the Davuilevu Theological College. The seminar was successfully completed on Thursday 13th August and the challenge given to every participant to conduct a small healing group in their church or community in the near future.


  1. Ledua Turaganivalu Bible Society of the South Pacific
  2. Mere Katonivere BSSP
  3. Vilomena Dautei BSSP
  4. Viniana Koroi BSSP
  5. Marika Waqanivalu BSSP
  6. Apenisa Lewatoro BSSP
  7. Tevita Lala Raiwaqa Methodist Church
  8. 8. Jone Cama Nasinu Wesley Church
  9. Iva Teilai Nadera Methodist
  10. Josese Laliqavoka Raiwaqa Methodist
  11. Tara Qicatabua Yarawa Wesley
  12. Lydia Veikauyaki Pacific Harbour Wesley Church
  13. Kesaia Vilsoni NasinuWesley
  14. Taniela Qeleni Pacific Students for Christ
  15. Ruth Newton Yarawa Wesley
  16. Ross RoundsYWCA
  17. Kinisimere Waqa YWCA
  18. Deaconess Litiana Dau Deaconess Training Centre
  19. Titilia Tonawai Samabula
  20. Fr. Mataiasi Cokanasiga Anglican Church
  21. Litia Nainoka Methodist
  22. Ps. Aporosa Rageci Baptist Church/ Horeb Fellowship
  23. Ps. Sisa Tikoimakogai Baptist Church – Kinoya
  24. Avisake Tukana Yarawa Wesley Church
  25. Rev. Maraia Ryland Nasenaivalu MCF Hospital (CWM) Chaplain
  26. Varea Rika Salvation Army
  27. Thais Bott Salvation Army
  28. Asela Naisara Catholic Mission
  29. Ana Latu Dickson PTC
  30. Sister Doreen Aiwaia PTC
  31. Deaconess Lesila Raitiqa Dudley Methodist Church
  32. Joseva Seru Faith Christian Fellowship
  33. Kitione Sikivou Mt. Carmel International
  34. Siteri Tagivetaua Raiwaqa Methodist Church
  35. Jone Kataiwai Wesley City Mission (Butt Street, Suva)

Trauma Healing 4Web

2) Trauma Healing Translation Workshop

Front (Left-Right): Sapeta (Rotuman), Urmila Prasad (Fiji Hindi), Pam Daams (facilitator), Irene Narayan (Fiji Hindi); Susie Aropio (Rotuman) Back (Left-Right): Meli Bavata(Koronubu-Ba), Tuma (Fijian itaukei), Neco Daams (co-facilitator), Tevita Lala (Fijian itaukei), Apenisa (coordinator)

A weeklong of Trauma Healing workshop was facilitated by Pam Daams (and husband Neco Daams) on 20-24 July, 2015. At the end of the healing group sessions each morning, what followed was the translation of the booklet, “Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How can the Church Help” into the three major languages spoken in Fiji (Fiji-Hindi, Rotuman, Fijian itaukei) and a western Fiji dialect (Koronubu – Ba). We thank the Seedfor helping sponsor this event and also taking care of the facilitators travel and accommodation costs.
At the end of the workshop, the translation teams were given two weeks to complete their first draft. To date, we have the Fiji saral Hindi draft translation of the Trauma Healing core studies (5 Lessons) and the itaukei draft with a lesson yet to be completed. The Rotuman translators have asked for extension and will submit their translation draft by next week.

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