For Fiji Divisional Youth Secretary Lieutenant Seru Napolioni following God is a life of full commitment.
I have been the Divisional Youth Secretary for Fiji for three months. It is an additional appointment alongside serving with my wife, Lieutenant Ruci Napolioni, as assistant corps officers (pastors) at Labasa Corps. This means I travel between Labasa and Suva for my work.
I’m very excited to be the Divisional Youth Secretary, I have a passion for it—my heart is with the youth.
Ruci and I have four children: Vasemaca Adi (18), Jope Paul Laginikoro (14), Siliva Tinai (11) and Waqa Vakaloloma (8). But I grew up in a broken family where my dad was in and out of prison. I don’t want our Fiji youth experiencing that. I have a passion to show them a new way.
I was adopted three times into different families and the last family was serving God in The Salvation Army, and I joined them there.
I think that was from God. It’s not an accident that I joined The Salvation Army; it was something God prepared for me. I may have my plans, but God has his. It’s a life of full commitment. As an officer I have committed my life to God, and that’s what I try to teach the youth.
When I was appointed to this role, the first thing that came to my mind and heart was to make the youth strong spiritually, physically and mentally—for them to know their purpose and who they are in the community and in their families.
I have to meet them where they are. You can’t expect them to come up to you as an officer up there in the chair, you have to go down to them and meet them at their level. And in The Salvation Army, we’re all soldiers—we’re all on the same level.
You have to put your personality into it. It’s not about your role, but about who you are. Leadership is about how you influence people, and that’s about being who you are. As a leader and as an organisation we’re trying to be creative and think outside the box, to create an environment and a programme that youth will be engaged in.
I want them to be strong in their faith, to stretch their faith. We have just finished a camp and I can see the difference this has made in their lives.
When we have divisional camps, The Salvation Army has provided everything for the young people: travel, accommodation and food. So I went to speak to the different corps (churches) and said that we want to influence more youth, so could they pay half the costs? And they said yes. I tell them it’s a life of commitment to God and to the corps, and if you want to come you commit yourself to fundraising.
I’m looking forward to huge growth. We will have a divisional youth camp next year that could have 350 to 400 young people, and we want to grow from there. My goal is that in four years we will have 1000 young people coming to our camp. That would be huge growth, but that is what God has laid on my heart—to work for growth.
by Seru Napolioni (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 12 August 2017, p11
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