God is at work in Tahiti, and is blessing our intent to assist the people of Tahiti and French Polynesia in presenting a clear Gospel message, and to build them up through the Word toward the character of our Savior Jesus Christ. We both are convinced that we’ve reached a turning point, and we are optimistic now about the trajectory of several relationships. To summarize, we served more, met more, loved more, and built more than our two previous trips combined.
Things did not look so rosy with less than a week to go until our departure, since at that time we had only a few meetings set up, with little new potential. That familiar sinking feeling was coming over us when in a matter of hours on the Sunday before we left, three Tahitians contacted us to set up several teaching engagements and several more meetings over meals. Our agenda was instantly so full that we even had to delay one meeting with a pastor until our next trip.
So, we taught, we met with friends new and old, and we saw new opportunities unfold before our very eyes. One home group, which meets in Papeete and Arue on the north coast of Tahiti had me speak three times. I decided to focus on bibliology, lessons related to the inspiration, authority, and infallibility of the Bible. We studied Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:13-17, and Hebrews 4:12, and it seemed we were embraced by the entire group. From this, our opportunities expanded, as our group leader told us we would be perfect to provide basic discipleship for a church down the west coast in Papara, where recently more than a hundred had come to initial faith in the Lord.
We attended this church on Sunday morning, and had a warm welcome and initial meeting with their pastor, who not only introduced us to the whole congregation at the worship service, but also put us right into their reception line after the service. Their song worship was the most beautiful I have ever heard, combining Tahitian rhythms and harmonies that were spine-tingling.
After we left, we headed further down the island to meet new friends in Vairao. Two extended families hosted a traditional Tahitian feast for us, one of whom were friends from previous meetings. The wife of that family encouraged our new acquaintances to ask us questions, and the conversation took off from there as we chatted back and forth in French and English. After this, one young couple was especially eager to connect with us again, so we made another date with them for Tuesday, at McDonald’s in Taravao.
Monday found us without respite as we lined up three meetings: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast we met with a young mother who connected us with her children’s preschool teacher for child evangelism training, a relationship which looks like it will grow into more opportunities to do the same. At lunch we met with our friend Joel and his wife, where we discussed a great many matters in the personal, political, and spiritual realms. This too is developing beyond friendship into mentoring. At dinner with met with an American friend and his Tahitian wife for Chinese food and valuable conversation about their lengthy experience of ministry in the islands.
We finished up our ministry tasks on Tuesday, meeting again with the young couple from Sunday, who had many biblical questions and sought our advice on organizing their 50-child strong Sunday school.
As we relaxed a bit on Wednesday and Thursday, we took stock and realized that what seemed so tenuous hardly more than a week ago now seemed concrete, flourishing, and bright with the Lord’s promise. Therefore, during this critical hiatus between trips, we ask you to intensify your prayers, since this is that crucial time when our enemies go to work. Pray that during this time, our friends new and old would be kept safe from doubt, gossip, worry, and fear. Instead, that they might develop an eagerness to go forward with us into future ministry according to the Lord’s will, into broader audiences and deeper teaching and training. This is what we must pray faithfully for many months.
Please pray for the families we are connected with, and for the Protestant, Anglican, and Assemblies of God churches and their people. Pray for those whom we were unable to meet, who are several, and for more and more connections. Pray that we take the time to stay connected and proceed wisely with friends new and old. Most of all, pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to all there regarding the clear grace Gospel, and the need for sound Bible teaching.