Evangelism in Rodrigues

Rodrigues is the 10th district of Mauritius. Lying 650 km off the east coast of Mauritius, it is somehow isolated. Rodrigues has a population of 40,000 of which 95% are Roman Catholics. The only Anglican Church is St Barnabas in Port Mathurin, with a roll of about 100 parishioners, where Roman Catholics and Pentecostals come to worship God together.

Canon James Wong of the Chapel of the Resurrection in Singapore, after his visit at St Paul’s Church, Plaine Verte, in May 1990, went on to Rodrigues to minister. God worked through him there and more than 20 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ and were baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Mr and Mrs Maxime Wong then attended the International Congress of Evangelism in Singapore in September 1990, and upon their return home, two home cell-groups were constituted, one in Port Mathurin and the other in Camp du Roi.

Because St Barnabas Church has no parish priest, the shepherding care was mostly done by the lay people, especially Maxime Wong, David Elysee and the two home cell-group leaders. In view of the spiritual need of the new born-again Christians, the home cell-groups prayed  to seek God’s will and the two church wardens finally decided to invite St Paul’s Church, Plaine Verte, to send a mission team to Rodrigues to launch  the “Decade of Evangelism”. We thus had an invitation which was also in many ways a challenge for us to respond to.

In recent years, when SOMA (Australia) headed by Revd. John Windburn and Canon James Wong, ministered in St Paul’s Church, Plaine Verte, we were called not to keep the renewal between the four walls of the church, but to go to other parishes and share God’s blessings. In 1990, we had already sent teams to St Barnabas, Pamplemousses, and St Paul’s, Vacoas. When the invitation to go to Rodrigues came, the church  sought God’s will.

The Lord spoke to David Li, pastor at that time, according to Eph 4:12, “Why is it that He gives us these special abilities to do certain things better? It is for God’s people to be equipped to do better work for Him, building up the church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity”. And to Pastor Paul Cheng  in Isa. 41:17, “when the poor and needy seek water and there is none and their tongues are parched for thirst, then I will answer when they cry to me. I, Israel’s God, will not ever forsake them. I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus! I will give them fountains of water in the valleys! In the deserts will be pools of water and rivers fed by springs shall flow across the dry, parched ground.” So, with God’s green light, the Chief Pastor, Roger Chung, decided to organize a mission trip from  Friday 5th to Sunday 8th July 1991.

During the limited time of six weeks, things began to move. Members at St Paul’s Church individually heard God’s calling, obeyed and prayed for God’s provision for leave from work, funds for air tickets and pocket money. Most of these individuals didn’t form part of any  previous mission teams, but asked God to use them as useful instruments for God’s glory.

The priest in charge, Roger Chung, requested  the Bishop to send him as a fore-runner one week before the mission. Three pastors together with four cell-group leaders and eleven brothers and sisters in Christ formed the Rodrigues Mission Team 1991. (RMT)