Peace in the Storm
On December 17, 2020, Cyclone Yasa ripped through the southeastern side of Vanua Levu, Fiji. Yasa was the fourth largest cyclone ever reported in the south pacific basin and it was heading right for Rita and her family. Rita’s home is situated between two rivers. The only access to her home is by boat. Rita and her husband and two children took shelter in her uncle’s home next door to hers. At least his home was sturdy and had an upstairs she thought. None of them anticipated the force and severity of the storm that engulfed them. Within minutes the entire downstairs of the home was flooded with water. The four adults and children had no time to grab anything other than what was within reach as they fled to the upstairs loft for safety.
The waters continued to rise as the adults kept their eyes on the stairs, realizing that they may have to jump into the waters below and seek shelter somewhere else. Rita, however, was not afraid. As a follower of Jesus Christ, she knew He was with her and would not leave her. She and her two sons prayed to God for help. The three other adults sat terrified and amazed at the peace Rita displayed. Seeing their panic-stricken faces, Rita began to pray silently for them. God heard her prayers and saved everyone present. In fact, in His abundant mercy, He saved tens of thousands that night from one of the worst storms many had ever seen.
As missionaries in Fiji, we have known Rita and her family for more than a decade and we have prayed fervently for them. That night in the upstairs loft in the midst of the storm, Rita became the missionary, and God used her as an instrument of grace to those around her.