The ball was moved swiftly down the field with poise and bursts of speed by a man who dodged the defense with a feint, or rapid acceleration, until he took the ball over the line to score. Eroni could have played any sport well, but coming from Fiji rugby was natural to him and his family, one of his brothers even playing professionally. However, in the early ’80s, studies became his primary focus and, at the University of London, Eroni unexpectedly encountered Jesus Christ in a fresh and personal way; from then on he looked at life very differently. After completing his degree at the London School of Economics in 1985, he moved to the United States to seriously investigate living single for the Lord with The Servants of the Word. Eroni eventually made his lifelong commitment in 1991, and from that time onward, whether residing in London, Fiji, Michigan, or the Middle East, his heartfelt desire has been to love and serve the Lord.
This year Eroni is living in Beirut, Lebanon, where he leads a house of young men considering the life of The Servants of the Word. He’s also serving in the mission and outreaches of The People of God and of Illuminator’s Lamp, the two Sword of the Spirit communities in Beirut. When I asked him what he likes about living in Lebanon, his response betrayed his tropical island roots: “Lots of sunshine and seeing the sea every day,” he started off with. “It’s a very relational, expressive culture, which is where I live naturally,” he continued, as I remembered past conversations about the high value that is placed on relationships in Fiji’s more traditional culture. “It’s a place of ordered chaos – I enjoy this – life is not too boxed in. Spontaneity, surprises, uncertainty, and flexibility are all part of life in Beirut, but there’s an internal order as well to life and to personal relationships.” Eroni went on to talk about his love for the Lebanese, particularly the Christians many of whom have chosen to remain in the country despite opportunities abroad so they can be witnesses in the Middle East to God’s work. Finally, I asked him how he relaxed, and “the gym, watching sport, music, friends, good coffee, and sun – lots of it, preferably on a beach” were all high on his list.
Eroni carries out quite a variety of responsibilities. As the most-recently appointed Servants of the Word elder he oversees the pastoral care of the young men considering our life in the United Kingdom and Lebanon, and as a result spends much time in meetings, on the phone, and on Skype. In the two local communities he leads retreats for young people and acts in a consultant’s role to the university outreach. Added to all this, Eroni has an assignment that is unusual in The Servants of the Word, something he felt God particularly call him into: one-quarter of his work time is given over to extra prayer. His desire to take on this particular role speaks volumes about the spiritual depth of this man of God. We’re honored to have Eroni as one of our brothers.
This article is from our Easter 2010 Newsletter: View Entire Newsletter (requires Acrobat Reader)