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A sharpened resolve

Major Uraia Dravikula is the first Fijian officer to serve for 25 years and says the passion remains for God who saved a young prisoner plagued by violence and drink.

I love my work! My appointment as divisional evangelist in Fiji is the pinnacle of my offi cership—I have been called for such a moment as this. In 25 years I have been through corps appointments, public relations and social services. It has all prepared me for what I do now. I go all over Fiji– which is great, and like the manna in Exodus the gospel cannot be kept; it must be distributed today, today, today!

I also do prison ministry and I wear a yellow ribbon that stands for second chances for prisoners. Last month, I spoke to 500 of them and I told them, ‘In1977 I was wearing that uniform you’re wearing. The very air you’re breathing now, I breathed then and I know it is suff ocating, but only one thing took me out—Jesus Christ.’

Those prisoners, those lives, they are nuggets of gold. When you strip away the things that brought them there, you fi nd gold. If you can get them to come to the Lord, the zeal they had, they will have that same zeal for God.

When I came into officership, the way I looked at people and did things was different. I look at people now with softer eyes and more compassion, but that doesn’t mean I have reached the end—the fire still burns. My wife was promoted to Glory (passed away) in 2014 and my son for eight years has been on dialysis with a chronic kidney condition. But what I have been through sharpens my resolve.

Everything in my life is only by God’s grace, and God’s voice comes through the midst of the storms, ringing clear. It brings peace, deep peace that captivates you and you cannot do anything else. TESTIFY! WHAT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH SHARPENS MY RESOLVE. Those wounds Jesus took for me —what I have been through is nothing compared to what he went through to purchase me.

Eight years ago, my wife, son, daughter and grandson were all in hospital, I had two university papers to sit and I was drained. I came home and cried. I said to the Lord, ‘If it’s your will to take my wife, take her; my daughter, take her; my son, take him; my grandson. I have only one thing to ask, don’t take our relationship. If you take that, it’s better to take me too.’

Eight years later, my son could die at any moment and my prayer remains, ‘If it’s your will, take my son. It will hurt deeply, because we’re really close, but your grace is suffi cient and I know when that day comes you will have prepared me.’ The tears will come, but I’m stronger and firmer than ever, because I have seen everything God did for me.

Every day I try to walk closer to God, and it is my earnest prayer that other offi cers, other Fijians, will catch that vision.

Serving God is not a sprint; it is a marathon. If you can get that it is none of you, it is all of God and you’re just the channel, you will understand what the master says: ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light’. It does not mean there will not be tears, but after the tears there will be peace with you.

I stand on the shoulders of those that went before, my training officers and others who have mentored and supported me—and I thank them. I read about the people who went before me and I’m humbled to be counted with them. I’m strengthened by their prayers and the prayers of people all round the world who pray for God’s ministers. They do not say my name, but they pray for me. That humbles me—so I cannot lower the standard, I cannot put the flag down.

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by Uraia Dravikula(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 14 January 2017, pp11
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.