A friend of mine shared an amazing story this week about his father and an enchanting fishing trip he went on while on a remote Pacific island in the early 1960’s.
My friend’s father was serving as a technical missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) and had to install a ‘Pedal’ radio transmitter on a very isolated island.
The British government had installed ‘Pedal’radio weather stations on two outer islands, Aniwa and Futuna, but those weather stations had failed.
The government had retrieved and repaired them, but they needed someone to re-install them and insure the systems were up and running. He had these skills.
The only access to the islands was by sea and ships going to these islands were rare. He discovered that an Australian school teacher was going to the island of Futuna to examine the senior school children to pass them for college, so the government asked him if he would travel with her.
They arrived safely at Futuna and after the teacher and himself had finished their work the village was elated. All their senior students had passed and the weather station was operational again.
To celebrate the village chief said they would have a feast on the beach for the evening meal, but first they would need to catch some fish.
The teacher and him were asked if they would like to go on the fishing trip. They agreed after taking a look at the canoe. It was a relatively large outrigger and obviously very seaworthy.
In the dark they sailed out until they were nearly two miles off shore, at which time they came to a standstill in the pitch black.
One of the fisherman had a long pole on the end of which were tightly bound long pandanus (spelling) leaves about two feet long. He proceeded to light the top most protruding leaves and held the glowing torch light high above him while standing.
The fishing crew heard movement in the waters around the canoe but did not see anything. Then after a very short space of time, flying fish leapt from the water in flight.
Some fish were hitting the canoe and going back into the water. Others were passing over the canoe in flight, however as more came to the light, many fish fell into the canoe.
It did not seem long before the fisherman concluded there was enough fish to feed the village and the two guests.
Once ashore, the fish were processed and baked on a fire on the beach.
The locals had home-made bread and other cooked vegetables to add to the meal which was washed down with a very pleasant green tea.
My friend’s father and the school teacher experienced first-hand the warmth and friendliness of the village people and a very unique way of catching fish.
There is much wonder in this story.
Firstly, the wonder of miraculous provision. A fishing trip with no rods or bait, simply fish being attracted and caught by the light.
I have witnessed God’s miraculous provision many times. This has ranged from small things like finding car carks and buying items that are heavily discounted, to bigger things like the multiplication of food and money appearing in my bank account.
God can provide in unexpected ways and sometimes his timing is last minute but I know that God is good and never late.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
Secondly, this story has parallels to our walk with Jesus.
If a small light on a boat is able to attract dozens of flying fish, imagine how many people we can attract by carrying the light of Jesus.
In a dark world do we truly appreciate how much we carry as followers of Jesus?
And note that the light was much more effective in the darkness. If they had gone out fishing during the day, I believe they would not have caught any fish after lighting the pole.
I also found it fascinating that some fish landed back in the water and some scraped the side of the boat.
Does this not parallel our own evangelism?
We can never expect a 100% success rate. On hearing the word of God, some people will either walk away or only follow Jesus for a short space of time.
I also wonder what happened to the fish who did not land in the boat? Did they end up wandering aimlessly in the ocean for the next few years?
And what happened to the fish that landed in the boat?
Their great sacrifice brought much pleasure to the island people and their guests. Isn’t this what fish were designed for?
In the same way our lives are to be a sacrifice to God to bring him pleasure and in Jesus he set the prime example.
1 John 2:2
‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.’
Wayne worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing