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Soundings from Fiji
By Alan Brooks
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together (Psalm 34:3).
The year 2013 had its challenges, but it also was an exciting year of
great miracles. Most of this past year was consumed with the Fiji
Bible Project. God supernaturally supplied the funds to distribute
221,000 Bibles or New Testaments to the country of Fiji. The first
five months of 2013 consisted of travelling and raising the needed
funds. We had the Scriptures printed, and we spent many hours
in planning. Many
people worked hard
to get the “Plan of
Salvation” for the
front of the Bibles
ready. Arriving in Fiji in
May 2013, Brother
Meyer and I met
officials to work on
75 phone calls and hours of meetings in preparation. Why do they
always seem to put the office that we needed on the third floor?
This began a chain of events that has been totally awesome in scope
and magnitude. We then met the first of three containers that would
arrive from Belarus. The Bibles were boxed and shrink wrapped for
protection. Each had to be opened, unwrapped, stamped with the
local missionary's information, and then re-boxed for distribution.
The next three months we were busy preaching and distributing
Bibles to all of the secondary schools in Fiji. We also hosted several
groups from the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia who
traveled to assist in the distribution. This project humanly could
not have been done without all the help.
I was able to return to the United States for most of the month
of August, as school was out for a break. During this time my
mother-in-law passed away. God allowed me to preach her funeral
before I needed to return.
I then returned to Fiji to begin doing the primary schools. There
are 735 schools and by God's grace, strength and help we have
been able to do all but 135 of the schools. Each day was occupied
usually with five different schools. At one time we had five teams
of people traveling to multiple schools. God allowed me to meet
and work with some of His choice servants: missionaries, national
pastors, and local church laymen. This incredible group God
gathered together to accomplish a monumental job. We had over
28 Americans come to help, 10 Canadians, 1 from Australia, 1
from New Zealand, and 1 from Papua New Guinea. We have
had nine different American missionaries living in Fiji helping
and 11 national preachers. Truly God worked to accomplish this
humanly impossible project.
By the time you receive this, we will be finishing the last of the
primary schools. I have said this many times but it still holds
true, “Only eternity will reveal the impact that these Bibles will
make on this country and all of the island nations surrounding.”
Thank you for your prayers, help, and support.
Recently I was reading a book written
by a dear supporter, pastor, and friend
on the book of Proverbs. In the chapter
concerning Faithfulness, Dr. Rod
Mattoon shared the following illustration. “One of the most
memorable Olympic Athletes of the 1968 Mexico City Games was
a marathon runner from Tanzania. His name was John Stephen
Akhwari. He doesn't get a mention in the record books at all, but
that's not the point. In fact, it's fair to say more people remember
John Akhwari than the guy who won gold medal of the marathon
race, even though John Akhwari came in last!
Halfway through the race, around the thirteen mile mark, Akhwari
fell, badly cutting his knee and dislocating the joint in his leg. He
was in terrible pain. Most runners at this point would give up the
race and call it quits. But after a few minutes, number 36, John
Akhwari picked himself up, strapped up his leg with white bandages,
and kept on running, even though he had about 13 miles to go.
A little more than an hour after the winner had finished the
marathon, with just a few thousand spectators left in the stands of
the Olympic stadium, whistles, motorcycle sounds, and flashing red
and green lights gave a ghastly, gruesome effect to the cold, dark
Mexico City evening. The word was passed to the press box and
filtered to the few thousand faithful spectators who remained in
the stadium that the last runner was approaching.
Into the stadium came John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania. His
leg was bloody and bandaged. Wincing with pain at every step,
he pressed on and the thousands, a few minutes before in silence,
began a slow, steady
in his green and
gold uniform, made
his painful way
around the track
and the cheering
grew louder. The
trek around the
finally he hobbled
across the finish and the crowd roared as if he had been the winner.
He finished last among the 74 competitors.
Why did he not quit since he was injured, in intense pain, and
had no chance of winning? After the race, Akhwari answered this
question. Akhwari appeared perplexed at the question. Then he
simply said, ‘I don't think you understand. My country did not send
me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish
the race.' Beloved, God has called us to do the same thing in our
race for Christ. God wants us to finish what He has started in us.”
Just as this story illustrates, God wants us to finish what He has
asked us to do. May we each be faithful to the tasks that God has
asked us to do and to finish strong.