Children in the Pacific Take The Greatest Journey of Their Lives

June 2, 2021 • Pacific Islands
Children are delighted to receive Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts during a previous distribution event in the Pacific Islands.
Children are delighted to receive Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts during a previous distribution in another part of Fiji.

On the remote island of Vanua Levu, God used local Christians and our discipleship course for shoebox recipients to reach underprivileged children with the Gospel.

The Greatest Journey
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If Vanua Levu isn’t the end of the Earth, it’s close. Rugged and isolated, the slender island is located 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand in the South Pacific, just east of the Coral Sea. It’s one of the 330 specks on the map that make up the Fiji archipelago.

Students who completed The Greatest Journey.

Students on Vanua Levu who completed The Greatest Journey.

Ignored by most of the world, except for a handful of tourists and yachting enthusiasts who come to explore the island’s hilly terrain and majestic coral reefs, Vanua Levu is home to some 130,000 native Fijians. Tourists, however, rarely travel to the pocket-size village of Batinivurewai in Bua province located on the island’s westernmost edge. Reaching it is extremely difficult. It’s a 5-hour journey from the island’s center over mostly unpaved roads that are difficult and treacherous on the best of days, and even more dangerous in wet weather.

But those obstacles didn’t stop members of Agape Christian Church in Labasa, from the island’s northeastern region, from taking Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts and The Greatest Journey there during rainy season.

Prayer, Shoeboxes, Discipling

Leaders from the Labasa church had a heart to reach underprivileged children in Batinivurewai with the Good News of Jesus Christ. They began by praying for the area. Next, they received shoeboxes for the community and underwent training to conduct an outreach event and teach The Greatest Journey. Teacher Unaisi Tivivina was especially impressed with The Greatest Journey training and materials. It was the first time she had received any visual aids to teach children. After reviewing the printed resources, she was eager to share the 12-lesson discipleship course designed for shoebox recipients.

Following a festive outreach event where dozens of children enthusiastically opened gift-filled shoeboxes and heard the Gospel, Unaisi invited the boys and girls to participate in The Greatest Journey. Forty-five of them enrolled. It was also the first time that teaching materials and individual booklets for children were made available in the small, close-knit community.

Two of the older students, Luisa and Ana, both in their early teens, showed a particular interest in the Bible stories and committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. After The Greatest Journey graduation ceremony, they were baptized. And, they weren’t the only ones who came away with their lives changed.

“The Greatest Journey has helped many children like Luisa and Ana come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

We praise God for the students who came to faith during The Greatest Journey and were then baptized.

We praise God for the students on Vanua Levu who came to faith during The Greatest Journey and were then baptized.

“The Greatest Journey has helped many children here learn about God’s work in their lives, which has enabled them to tell others about what the Lord has done,” Unaisi said. “Indeed, The Greatest Journey has helped many children like Luisa and Ana come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

And Unaisi praised God for everyone who supports The Greatest Journey with their prayers and resources.

“Thank you all for your part in making this material available and accessible to such areas as ours and to our children,” she said. “The Greatest Journey brings children closer to the Lord as they are discipled in His Word.”

Please pray for children throughout the Pacific Islands, and specifically for the boys and girls who are participating in The Greatest Journey. Pray the children, their families, and their communities will be transformed by God’s love.

SUPPORT
Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.(Matthew 9:37-38). God is answering those prayers through The Greatest Journey, the discipleship program Samaritan’s Purse offers for boys and girls who receive shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child. We train teachers and supply local churches with everything they need—including Bibles for graduates. Through The Greatest Journey, over 3.8 million children have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, and 4.2 million have promised to prayerfully share the Gospel with friends and family.
The Greatest Journey Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is filled with people who have childlike faith. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). We praise God that more than five million children have made decisions for Christ through The Greatest Journey. When they graduate, we present them with the New Testament in their own language so they can continue to grow in their faith and share Jesus with friends and family members. Your gift of $6 per child will enable us to train local volunteer teachers and provide all the materials for the 12-lesson course, including the graduation Bibles.

OCC—The Greatest Journey 013943
Suggested Gift: $6, or $6,000 for a thousand children
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