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Nov7SatHow God met me on my walkabout. November 7, 2020 by Sipili Molia
(Above) “God had been calling my whole life, but that day, I heard him call my name,” says Sipili Molia, here with his wife, Krista, and children
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My parents met in Suva, Fiji, while my mother was travelling after her first year of university. She stayed and became part of the community, and that’s where I was born. My heritage is Samoan, Rotuman and Kiribati on my father’s side, and my South Pacific roots are a big part of who I am.
Although my parents were both brought up with Christian values, everything changed when they started attending The Salvation Army in Fiji and made a commitment to follow Jesus. I was dedicated at Raiwai Corps and the Army has always been part of my life.
We lived in Fiji until I was almost four, then moved to Canada and settled in Victoria, where my mom is from. I grew up at Victoria Citadel and knew the gospel, but as I got older, I turned my back on Christ’s way and took my own path.
The word that stands out during this time is empty. My life revolved around sports, friends and partying, but even when I was having a “fun” time, I still felt alone and unfulfilled, like something important was missing. I was searching for something more, for a sense of purpose.
When I look back on my walkabout, I can see that God was always there, putting people in my life at key points and reminding me of his plan. Major Robert McMeechan, now my mentor, would call out of the blue to have a “wee prayer” when I felt lost. Or I’d bump into rugby players who knew my dad, and we’d have heart-to-heart conversations about faith. Or people from our congregation would reach out and just be so sincere in their interest in me.
Then I started a relationship with a beautiful, godly woman named Krista. I knew she was the one I was meant to spend the rest of my life with, and I knew I needed to pursue Christ’s way for myself. Deep down inside, I knew he was there, waiting for me to return.
But I kept putting it off, thinking, I will quit drinking and be a better person first or I will start going to church and pray more, then I will be all in. I was afraid of the unknown, of failing, of not being able to live up to my idea of God’s expectation of me.
During the time I was wrestling with my faith and scared to commit, God met me at a congress in Vancouver. I was listening intently as the speaker, Commissioner Christine MacMillan, talked about her ministry in Papua New Guinea. She shared that before people came to the mercy seat, they would slide their shoes under their chairs. I looked down. Without realizing it, I had already put my shoes under my chair. I started to cry, and they began to sing The Power of Your Love.
God had been calling my whole life, but that day, I heard him call my name. I ran up to the mercy seat in my bare feet, where I asked for forgiveness and committed my life to the way of Christ. It was the best decision I have ever made.
My godfather put it well. He said, “Sipili, you never left Christ’s way. You just got a little lost.” Even if you have lost faith in God, he remains faithful. If you have turned your back on him, he is still facing you, arms open. If you are blinded, he is still watching over you.
How is life different now? In one word—full. I’ve always had a deep feeling that I would work with The Salvation Army, after watching my dad help so many people in 35 years with community and family services. In God’s perfect timing, I’m now the community relations co-ordinator at the Army’s Stan Hagen Centre for Families in Victoria.
Once I stepped out in faith and said, “Lord, you have all of me and I choose to try my best to walk in your way,” everything changed. I’m far from perfect, but I’m striving to follow my Creator’s path for me. I’m content with however the journey unfolds, because my perspective has shifted from me to Christ and others. Every situation, good or bad, is an opportunity to grow in character and faith. I can now find true purpose in almost anything that happens in this crazy life of mine.