Akuila accepts God’s call

The Rev Akuila Ratuwaqa at the AOG 40th Biennial General Conference in Lautoka. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

IT was a hot sunny day back in 1969 and Akuila Ratuwaqa was busy working with other carpenters constructing the new Lautoka Hospital.

He heard a voice inside him saying to leave his job and attend to his work as a missionary.

He never knew who this little voice was. In fact, it was God’s calling for him to become his missionary and to take his word to many other parts of Fiji.

This was a calling he never took for granted. He left his job as a carpenter straightaway and went straight to church at the Mt Zion Cathedral in Lautoka where he told his pastor of what he had just witnessed.

He paused for a moment and he kept recalling the voice which had told him to leave behind the work that provided for his family’s basic needs and it was the work he has never regretted doing.

He was just a class eight drop-out, had little knowledge about the Bible and while he felt like ignoring the voice, it kept reminding him to go forth and take God’s Word to those who need it.

In 1970, the Nacula, Yasawa native took up his first missionary posting in Namatakula in Nadroga before he was sent to the interior of Serua.

Through this journey, he had to overcome many obstacles, he never gave up, he kept on going, because he believed God had sent him to be his warrior and missionary.

Today, Akuila is 78 years old and is serving as the pastor of the Yakete Assemblies of God Church in the interior of Ba.

It was never easy getting to where he is today as he shared his journey as a missionary to this newspaper during the AOG 40th Biennial General Conference in Lautoka.

With a soft voice, he shared how he was beaten up once during his mission as some villagers had not accepted him for what he was doing and in some villages he was just left to sleep outside without eating.

But never gave up, he kept on fighting because he believed there was light at the end of the tunnel and that God had sent him on an important mission to let people know of the importance of serving and believing in God.

During his first eight years, he was never paid, however, this did not deter him from completing the journey God had sent him on and he wanted to ensure he completed it well before returning to his wife and six children.

Today, Akuila stands as a living testimony to not just the members of the AOG church but to other people on the importance of adhering to callings.

He said his family has been blessed because of his work as a missionary and he thanked the Lord for all that he has done to him and his family.

Akuila has been a reverend in Yakete for the past four years and while age may be catching up on age, he is not ready to retire soon because he wants to continue with the same calling made to him 48 years ago.

His six children are all working and during their church conference, he finds time to spend with his seven grandchildren.

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