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Long-term Witnessing in Samoa

By Lance C.

Well it has been nearly thirteen weeks now since we landed here in beautiful Samoa.

Sensing the Call

It was late November last year that we sat in the little English-speaking church here in Apia, in front of the then complete strangers. Merita and I felt the presence of God in the strongest way we had ever felt, cried in front of every one for no reason, and turned to one another other and simultaneously said we felt God wanted us here. Interestingly enough, the sermon preached that day was on Abraham leaving his home for God.

LORD IF YOU WANT US HERE LEAD THE WAY!

Within the same week, back in New Zealand, someone became interested in buying my plumbing business, and by the beginning of January purchased the business; there would be no turning back.

We were continually getting the question “How do you know God wants you in Samoa? It is such a big move, don’t be surprised if God brings you back within 6 months!"

We had no definite response, except the unmistakable indications of God’s blessings in all the decisions being made. Big and little doors kept opening, and our lives began feeling truly blessed in a way we had never experienced before. We had opened our lives to do what God wanted and we felt joy and peace, and a new understanding of faith!

Confirming the Call

The questions kept crossing or minds: Would there be work in Samoa? Would we miss the comforts of New Zealand? Were we doing the right thing? Was it God we were listening to? Were our friends right when they stated we were running away from something?

One Friday night mid January, Merita woke up and was unable to sleep. Leaving me in bed, she took the Bible into the sitting room and opened up to God, asking for a sign that we were doing the right thing. After coming back to bed she had a dream. In the morning she woke me, and told me about this dream.

While she was sleeping she saw the two of us standing in front of a big log and dreaming of what we could build with it. Just then the phone rang. I went, answered it, and gave her the phone. A voice on the phone kept saying: "It is me. You know, me " and Merita felt she knew the voice but kept asking "Who is this? Your voice sounds familiar but I can't put a name to it!” A man's voice said don't worry about my name, you know my voice.

I was not aware she had been up earlier praying, and neither of us understood what the dream was about.

We got up and dressed to go to our church in North Harbour, but on the spur of the moment decided to attend the Ponsonby church because Pastor Tek had prayed for me at big camp a few weeks earlier. We had prayed together about my fears in taking up Gods call, and my desire to remain focused on whatever God had in mind.

God had put it on his heart to preach what we had prayed about, and his sermon that day was entitled THE CALL. Sitting there in church Merita’s dream took on real meaning and we understood it! Pastor Tek was amazed to see us walk in, and called us up the front to appeal for volunteers to come to Samoa for a Fly n build later.

Moving to Samoa

Time went by fast, and before we knew it we were homeless. The container with all our possessions had been packed and sent off, and we were sleeping on the floor at a friend’s home.

Awaiting us in Samoa was a rat-infested shack on Merita’s family land. To prepare I flew out a week earlier than her and Jackson who is 4. to try and make it livable.

I arrived in Samoa 2 weeks ahead of Merita and began pulling apart the old tin shack that was on family land and restoring it to make it livable! The mosquitoes were hungry and got me big time, and the bites became infected.

I worked day and night as the house was worse than expected, Merita and Jackson arrived a week later, and had to wait outside since the paving paint on the floor was still drying. We looked around at our beautiful section that night and thanked God for everything. We also reminded Him that we still did not understand why we were in Samoa, and that I needed work.

I continued working on the house and a week later our van arrived from New Zealand DAMAGED! The stereo had been ripped out of it and gashes were all down both sides. The van was free hold, which made things harder since we had counted on using it as security on an overdraft with the bank to start a plumbing business.

I recall getting up the next morning and telling Merita that we had made a mistake in coming, but was comforted by my wife assertion that God had everything under control and that she had again been reassured by a dream during the night.

Obtaining Work

In seeking work, we had placed an ad in the local newspaper a few days earlier, as well putting our Kiwi plumbing sign outside our gate!

I was doing some work on the bathroom when Merita came excitedly running in about lunchtime, stating that she had received leads on two jobs to look at, and that an old school friend had rung after seeing our sign, and wanted to meet with us.

What a blessed it was to meet Shirley and Sebastian who are Assembly of God pastors. They had been praying for someone to come to Samoa to fill the role of inspector, for the contract they had with the European Union of overseeing the installation of reservoir tanks and pipe work for water mains in the Islands. We had a prayer session together that day in the office and thanked God for being such an amazing God.

From that day the phone kept on ringing with job after job, I had to be a Samoan resident to take up EU job and that came through within one week. We prayed about the sale of our van and through prayer received a $8500 payout which the shipping company did not believe could happen.

We are blessed with boxes of TEN COMMANDMENTS TWICE REMOVED and HIS ROBE OR MINE by Frank Phillips that we were given by our church back home. Now we are busy giving these out to the public.

Taking on a New Lifestyle

Our pastor, Pastor Toese, is retired and lives to serve the poor—actually lives as if Jesus were coming back very soon, which we all say, but actually lives as if he meant it which is a far cry from the way most of us live. To be under his ministry is a blessing. He is growing vegetables and preparing for the economy to worsen.

We have learned so much from the local people about giving sacrificial offerings, which is not spoken about in New Zealand.

We thank God for the way He has been leading in our lives, and pray that we are daily worthy of spreading His message.

We pray that the want for “things” in this life will become dimmer, and that our need to look into the face of Jesus on that sea of glass will become stronger and stronger.

Come soon Lord Jesus.

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