A Facebook live sermon went viral on Good Friday when 10,000 Tongans tuned in to hear the good news of Christ preached by Soileti Finau (Soi) in Samoa.
At the end of that sermon, Soi led a prayer to invite Christ into their lives and 200 people sent him a message saying they had accepted Christ, so he ran Bible studies twice a week specifically designed to teach new believers how to follow Jesus. During lockdown, this online ministry became his main priority. Soi explained “this is a good time for me to do something from home that can help people out there.”
These past few months have been unexpected for all of us, and the results of this sermon broadcast were definitely unexpected for Soi. How beautiful it is to not just be taken off guard by the chaos in the world, but also by the way God uses you amidst it.
What started as a simple fix for how to reach the local Tongan church in Samoa during lockdown ended up going around the world. Half of the Tongans listening to these sermons are actually in the United States, a third are in Tonga, some are in New Zealand or Australia, and there are even Tongan communities in Europe being reached. Soi is Tongan himself despite being in ministry in Samoa for the past four years, and also in Fiji for five years before that.
Soi’s initiative and commitment in the ministry is truly incredible. He challenged those listening to begin forty days of prayer with him (which ended May 14th) and also to join him in a Daniel Fast for 21 days. Nearly a thousand people participated, and it had a huge impact on their lives.
People were calling and messaging Soi at all hours of the day which opened his eyes to how much people hunger for the Word of God and salvation. These calls were full of tears and weeping at how God was working in their lives. The Daniel Fast was particularly empowering for them, because it had not only helped their spiritual and family lives but their physical lives as well. People shared about painful diseases that simply disappeared during the fast! Because of the power they experienced during the Fast, listeners wanted a Round 2. After prayer and consideration, he announced there would be another one beginning on June 10th.
The biggest response to his message has been from husbands and fathers, particularly after a sermon on Prodigal Son on May 17th, Tongan Father’s Day. They called from all over the globe sharing their struggles with marriage and family. Soi would often challenge them to raise godly families. He and his wife worked in family ministry before joining campus ministry, so through this experience God has brought them full circle back to their heart for helping families.
Something started happening in these families. God was intervening, restoring, drawing them closer. In the past, they would never read their Bible, but now they have family devotions and read it everyday; they see the beauty of God’s word in their lives.
There was a man who had been unfaithful to his wife and had brought his family through misery because of it. When he heard Soi’s sermon, he fell down weeping and prayed to receive Christ. He confessed to his wife and then asked Soi for prayer who told him to read a chapter of the Bible each day and ask God for help too.
Soi was surprised by the stories and said, “sometimes we underestimate what people face in their lives but hearing about it made me realize how many families are struggling in the same position.” This became his challenge, a burden to help them find the solution to their struggle.
Soi hadn’t anticipated this happening — he hadn’t previously been passionate about film and video. In the past he actually avoided recording videos and going live, preferring to write daily devotions online, but God uses us in unexpected ways. God was utilizing this time of lockdown and social media as another avenue for the advance of the gospel. The response was huge, because people were reflecting, perhaps for the first time, on the shortness of life.
The next steps for this ministry paint a beautiful vision of spiritual revival continuing to spread. Soi will continue doing follow-up Bible studies and sermons online. He hopes to hold a discussion panel for family matters and to train people online in how to share their faith. Once the pandemic settles, he also has a vision for visiting the Tongan communities around the world that he has been ministering to.
Two ways you can be praying for this growing ministry are:
to pray for key people in different parts of the world to partner with Soi, and
to pray that this online ministry would continue to be a movement among Tongan communities.
This ministry shows the power of prayer and committing our life to God. It is a miracle to see God’s hands touch people’s lives, a miracle that is only seen when we have total commitment to God and make available our time to be used by Him.
Is there a group of people that God has put on your heart to bring revival to? Perhaps you can start to read through Fireseeds of Spiritual Awakening (link) and begin to seek revival?
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