Dealing with Changes – Trusting in God
Robert Howard serves with the Pacific Christian Council, Fiji.
This past year has been a convoluted and weirdly circular experience that defied all of my – and certainly everyone else’s – expectations. With so many life-changing events happening, it feels strange to try giving a recap or to attempt laying out plans for the future, considering how uncontrolled everything has been feeling, but here goes my attempt. The world is much too big for me to cover, so I will limit this a bit.
Last spring was the start of my official Global Ministries experience, in which I traveled to Fiji to work with the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC). I served as a part of the stewardship team. I wrote a review of Ocean Advocacy and Theology, discussing many of its facets while relating to economic, political, and spiritual components. That document is under peer review at the moment; however, the real takeaway – and strangest part – is that I am once again in that same situation. With the complications caused by Covid, I was unable to return to Fiji after leaving for visa issues and only recently have returned. This feels almost as though it is a restart, and despite already having lived and worked in Fiji, I find myself feeling almost as though there was a time skip, and this is once again my first time.
To a certain extent, I actually consider it my first time because previously, as I stated, Covid was beginning to ramp up. The lockdowns and curfews that were put in place changed opportunities to interact, as well as pretty much every other experience. However, now as the Covid vaccine has started to make its rounds, I hope it is a start to recovery from this pandemic. On that note, I would like to make special mention that many countries have been impacted heavily by the effects of Covid economically, especially those like Fiji, where a large portion of the GDP stems from the tourism industry. If possible, I would ask for anyone who reads this to pick a location and learn something about its people, industries, major issues, or whatever else about it may align with your passions. Providing discussion or elevating the awareness of such topics is beneficial in the long run, particularly if it can resonate with others if the topic arises.
In the time between leaving Fiji and now, I have had the opportunity to work as a Partner in Service with an outdoor ministry in Wisconsin, maintain desert water stations with Humane Borders in Arizona, and briefly observe a Global Ministries partner in Nogales. While it has been unfortunate that I have been unable to return to Fiji for this period, it has given me a chance to do many things that would otherwise not have happened. Global Ministries’ steadfast efforts to provide support via activity coordination and providing social connection have been reassuring. I am also touched by all of the work put in by both US offices and PCC to allow for my return to Fiji. Before writing this entry, I took a look at my comments from last year – and laughed a little at myself – as I once again begin to set off on a new adventure with a very real sense of dejá vu.
Robert Howard serves with the Pacific Christian Council, Fiji. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, and your special gifts.