The blazing sun shone down on me from the deep blue Fijian sky above as I worked my shovel into the hard-packed earth. Pausing for a moment, I leaned against my shovel and wiped the sweat from my face with the back of my hand.
I breathed the clean, rural air in deeply as I took everything in around me. The sloping hills with long grasses blowing in the warm breeze. The rows of strong, young banana trees. So much work had already been put into the Oasis farm. It was a privilege to be a part of Island Encounters’ ministry, even for just a week on a short-term mission trip.
Beside me, Lexi was still diligently working. She and Anthony, a full-time missionary here from Australia, were continuing to shove their tools into the ground. The earth was so dry and dense that they had to break it up before I could dig out the soil.
Digging away in the heat of mid-day, I was struck by how normal this felt. Just another day on my mission trip in Fiji. It didn’t really feel foreign. Or exotic. Or exciting. Or even all that intense. It was just real, it was just life. With everyday-chores on the farm and the diligence of working through the routine. It was about just being there, doing the work.
Today, we were planting avocado plants, and we had ten holes to dig, so we’d be out here for a couple hours. But the time passed easily in the conversations we had. As we took turns breaking up the dirt and shoveling it out, we talked about everything from the weather to school to the difficulties of being a missionary.
As he pulled his tool out of the hole, Anthony turn to Lexi and me and told us: “You don’t have to have great skills to be involved in missions work. So many young people don’t do anything because they don’t feel like they have anything to offer. But it’s just about being available.” There was something to what he said, I could feel it. Live open-handedly. Have a willing heart. It’s in the daily dirt, water, and sun that plants grow.