During my years in Fiji, I sometimes wondered how and why I got caught up in certain things or got involved with particular groups. In the long run I am glad I did but, along the way, I did sometimes wonder whether I had bitten off more than I could chew or made the wrong choice. Whether it was the youth group in Ba, the unemployed of Raiwaqa, my involvement with trade unions or my travels
around Fiji conducting social analysis seminars, these were experiences which I could not have anticipated when I first went to Fiji as a young, naive missionary. But they are also experiences for which I will be eternally grateful.
I remember these chapters in my life because they help me to make sense of Jesus words (John 3:7-15), “The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.” I think we often want to be in control of our lives or in control of what happens in our lives. But the true missionary Spirit is constantly urging us on, encouraging us to take risks. We wonder where it comes from because we find ourselves stumbling into situations we didn’t anticipate or we would have avoided if we knew where it would take us. And where it takes us is also beyond our control, because the Spirit invites us to explore horizons we never knew existed before. Let us always be open to the movement of the Spirit in our lives, the wind that blows through our lives not calling us to naively flow with the tide but rather to deliberately take the risk of venturing along paths we never imagined we would or could take. This is what it means to follow Jesus.
After spending nearly 23 years in Fiji, Fr Tom Rouse returned to his homeland in 2014 as the Columban Mission Coordinator for New Zealand.