Island News

Church fund raising- paradoxical move

Written By : VASITI RITOVA. It was an honest call, an honest remark by someone who believes in God the Creator and God the Healer. “Why are they calling for
30 May 2009 12:00

image Written By : VASITI RITOVA. It was an honest call, an honest remark by someone who believes in God the Creator and God the Healer.
“Why are they calling for soli?” Marama Vada. “Why can’t they pray for the poor? Where will the people go for the answers to their trouble?
“They are no longer finding solutions in church because pastors and believers have spent too much of their time raising funds.”
It is not a new statement nor will it be the final remark. Thousands of people in Fiji have raised similar concerns – that churches have created controversies by setting up ministries that have extorted millions of dollars from non-suspecting church members.
Marama Vada, now known as King David, became a loud mouthpiece for a group of people who have asked the same questions over the years. Former Methodist Church in Fiji President, Rev Josateki Koroi, made much publicity doing it for over a decade.
He has effectively become silent in the past year. But this week’s profound statement by One World Healing Church has a telling effect on church members.
The fact remains that many legitimate Christian ministries are in need of financial support and if King David’s message made it sound like a shameful act, the onus is on believers, pastors and members of the church. raised some pressing questions. The website also asks the same question.
“Church fund raising may refer to a wide gamut of things,” it says. “In our 21st century world of radio slogans, TV images, and televangelists that tug (and sometimes manipulate) at our hearts to pledge our support, it may seem confusing at times to know when it is appropriate to give and how much.
“Thankfully, God has shown us through His Word an example of ‘proper’ church fund raising.”
It outlines the first church fundraising event in the early church recorded in Acts 11:29-30. The Jerusalem Church had fallen into dire financial straits and focussed on “a special relief project”.
The reason for the church’s impoverished state is traced back to its birth. The original church was mainly comprised of Jews and Jewish pilgrims that traveled from all around the Roman Empire to celebrate Pentecost in Jerusalem. Recorded in Acts 2, these Jewish “Christians” were among the 3,000 that miraculously became followers of Christ at one time. They stayed and formed the first congregation of believers in Jerusalem.
Their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Messiah brought shame, persecution, and rejection from other Jews. Unable to make a living, these Jewish converts relied on one another for housing and resources. The believers of the Jerusalem church were true givers.
Knowing that everything they had belonged to God, those believers sold all they had in order to help one another. This then becomes a ‘proper’ church fund-raising event – to provide for housing and much-needed resources.
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2:44-45), the website shared.
This week’s call, King David shared, was for a different purpose.
“These are poor people, with nothing to hope for, with no homes, no children, no money,” she said. “These are simple people, Christians, who want something – they believe in God but they need guidance to God through their chosen pastors.”
She claimed her church recorded every prayer need and nearly all of them belonged to Christian churches and had pastors.
“We have prayed for over 50, 000 people in this church in the last six years and they brought to us all sorts of problems and affliction – health problems, marital problems, problems with their fertility, drug problems, family problems, with education, with kids, with relationships.”
One of her best moments was when she prayed for a couple who badly wanted a baby.
“They said they had tried for the last 15 years – 15 years Va, nothing,” she said. “I laid my hands on them and on the lady’s stomach and called on God’s healing powers.”
“I then told them to go home and pray and come back within three months,” she said. “They came two months later – the lady was brought in and she was crying big tears. I help thousands here and I had forgotten what she looked like.
“I told my helpers to bring her in because she seemed distressed over something – no, she was crying tears of joy, of thanksgiving,” she said. “She told me she had just had a pregnancy test and she was carrying a baby – after 15 years Va and God had blessed them with a baby!”
“That was one of the best moments of my life!”
King David’s sentiments brought home a message – a message of hope for all church leaders in Fiji – that prayer and the power of prayer are all it takes to save the people.
“We have believers going in large numbers to prison, to hospitals, to mental institutions, and to places no longer respected by normal human beings,” she said. “Why are many people in jail and people crying and dying?”
“These are afflictions God heals when pastors and believers call upon the healing power of God,” she said. “Why are people dying in Fiji? What message are pastors and believers sharing in their churches today? They should pray more!
King David had one problem with that though. All believers in the power of God’s healing touch “have to fully believe in it and live a life that is not messed up or unclean”.
“We believe in purifying our lives every second of the day and every second of the night to glorify God,” she said. “We don’t wear second hand clothes and do not eat left-overs.”
“Everything is fresh because God gives us the best every morning.”
She shared that too many people die off because they consume large quantities of left-over food, saying that far too many people, especially Fijians, consume food that have long been researched as killer foods.
“Our God teaches us the right way to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, present ourselves, but we do the exact opposite.
She said these were teachings of the church and pastors and believers must ensure there are programmes in place to help the congregation.
“But what do we get? Every time, we do exactly the opposite and contribute to people’s poverty by demanding for money to pay off the church’s debts or mortgages or anything that needs to be paid off,” she said. “It is not right and it is an absolute sin!”
“He is pure and clean and if all pastors and believers consider it their divine duty to believe in His healing power, they can pay their hands on the sick and afflicted and everyone shall be healed.”
The One World Healing Church has about 50 members who carry out pastoral duties daily and lay hands on the sick and troubled. They have only one meal a day and place some restrictions.
“This country has not heeded God’s call in a long time and it’s time we pray for her,” she said. “We have to pray because a nation without prayer gets destroyed.”
It was one call, one statement, by one church leader, a believer and it was just an honest call.

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