People: The calling – Fulfilling a dying man’s wish

Rev Senitiki Raikoti and his wife at their Kia Island home. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Methodist Church minister Reverend Senitiki Raikoti took heed of a dying man’s wish and kept his side of the bargain.

On July 17, 2003, he was asked by his grandfather to become a church minister.

This happened on his sick bed at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.

He looked at his grandfather, smiled and assured him that someone in the family would become a church minister and he shouldn’t worry too much.

“I told him that one of his grandchildren would become a church minister but I couldn’t because I was employed by the ANZ Bank at that time.

“He held my hands, looked into my eyes and told me that he didn’t want anyone else but me.”

Rev Raikoti knew instantly the difference in pay level between a pastor and a bank employee.

After digesting the plea that his grandfather made, he nodded his head with some reluctance.

“I thought of my high salary at the bank and sacrificing it for a calling by God that does not pay as high as the bank,” Rev Raikoti said.

“So I returned home that evening, sat my wife down and we spoke about it.”

She agreed and Rev Raikoti’s spiritual journey began.

First, he resigned from the bank and then engaged in church work.

He had to do this before proceeding to Davuilevu Theological College.

In 2015, he travelled to Yasawa-i-Rara Village in Yasawa to do his pastoral work for two years.

“Life in Yasawa was good because it taught me more about life, seeing it from a different perspective, this time as a church worker and not as a banker,” Rev Raikoti said.

“I spent about two years there, then in 2017 I started at the theological college and I loved everything about it.

“Once I started my walk as a pastor, I started seeing what my late grandfather had said about working for God, that I wouldn’t have to worry about anything.”

His grandfather, the late Bakari Duikolokolo Volau of Vanuavatu in Lau, had told him on his sick bed that being an employee of God paid more than what the world could offer.

After he graduated from the theological college in 2019 and was assigned to minister on Kia Island in Macuata, he thought life would be a struggle but since being posted to the island, Rev Raikoti had never run short of blessings.

“Sometimes, I am moved to tears seeing God provide for my needs every day. He provides so much that I cannot even fathom His faithfulness,” he said.

“I eat fish and different types of seafood every day while here on Kia Island. I now see the truth in promises that when we work for God, we can face any challenge and situation.”

Rev Raikoti and his wife have two sons.

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