Cloak of faith – Fallen son comes home to rest

Luke 8:40-49

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

By IILAITiA TURAGABECI

Nayawa, NADROGA – May 13, 2020: 10am (Methodist Media): In a place where Christianity first arrived before spreading inland into Nadroga/ Navosa, a man of the cloth was farewelled and laid to rest on Tuesday.
Reverend Jone Davule, the Divisional Superintendent of the Yasawa Division, one of the 59 divisions of the Methodist Church in Fiji, came home where his namesake received the lotu, raised and bid goodbye by his people.

The monument at Vunavutu, a tribute to the journey Ratu Meli Lewaqamuqamu made to Viwa to bring a missionary to Nadroga. Photo: Soko Ratudradra

His body was escorted by the people of Yasawa that he served from Koromumu Hospital to Nayawa where the traditional ceremony of the i vakasobu was done at the chiefly residence, Were levu I Madudu.
Representatives of the various divisions performed their i reguregu from the previous evening to the family of the Tui Madudu, Ratu Jone Vagunudruli, where the fallen former head of the church’s youth department hails from.
As his body was laid to rest at Delabia, where his namesake, Davule, first accepted the lotu to arrive. the mourners kept to a small number because of COVID-19 restrictions.
It was impossible to limit mourners inside the church as they bade farewell to a son of the church.
Reverend Davule, of the mataqali Nadruku, one of five mataqali in Nayawa, and yavusa Madudu, followed in the wishes of his forefathers and took up ministerial duties to spread the gospel.
Church president Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa, in his sermon, paid tribute to his life of servitude and reminded mourners of the God’s promise of new life in Revelation 21.
History has it that the then Na Kalevu, the paramount chief of Nadroga, Ratu Kinijoji Vosailagi, sent an envoy to Viwa, where missionary Reverend John Hunt had been grooming recruits in mission work.
When Ratu Meli Lewaqamu arrived, he found out that all the missionaries had been sent out on mission . Only one remained on Viwa, a man from was suffering from measles and who hailed from Sila, where Christianity arrived in 1848..
Penijamini, an avid sailor, was the sole missionary who left Viwa on the Na Kalevu’s request
He accompanied Ratu Meli to Sila, between the chiefly village of Cuvu and Tore which was named after his home village in Tailevu.
From there, he travelled to the Na Kalevu at Nakuruvakarua. There, he dispersed Penijamini to Navola.
Before reaching he had told his companion that if he died on the way he should be buried wherever it happened, and that his clothes should be carried on.

The grave of the late Reverend Jone Davule At Delabia in Nayawa, Sigatoka

He was buried at Navola, where a Methodist school, the Nasikawa Vision College, stands today
His clothes were taken off and carried on the journey to evangelise. His request was followed and the clothes were taken to Nakuruvakarua to the Na Kalevu.
Stories passed down say that when his clothes travelled from Sila to Cuvu, the mana of his clothes, which flowed and radiated, parted the forest of vau trees.
To this day, there’s a saying between Sila and the Na Kalevu – “Koicalevu ina kalanivau” – to signify this spiritual trip.
When the clothes reached Nakuruvakarua, the Na Kalevu wanted Nadroga/Navola to turn to Christianity.
From Vunawi/Vunavutu, where Ratu Josaia Cokaibusa hails from, the holy clothes were brought by Cokaibusa from Nakuruvakarua to Delabia, where It was accepted by the Davule family.
When the clothes reached there, the vanua turned to Jesus Christ and the gospel spread to the rest of Nadroga/Navosa.
Davule set up home on the spot where the clothes were received where his family set up home.
A cross was erected there that day to signify the arrival of Cokaibusa’s clothes that travelled from village to village, changing the lives of the people.
Jone Davule was born on October 5, 1958. The name Jone was taken out of the Bible and because indigenous Fijians usually had only one name in those days and it was felt he needed a biblical name for the work the family had committed to.
And so began the life of a man of God. He attended his primary school education at the Sigatoka District School, close to the Koromumu Hospital where he died on May 5, 2020.
He attended his secondary education at Andhra High School, a few kilometers from the spot where the sanctified clothes of his namesake were received.
He later attended the Fiji National University where he attained a Diploma in Tertiary Studies.
But his calling was overwhelming.
In 1992, he graduated from the Davuilevu Theological College with a Diploma in Theology.
His next mission was achieving a Master in Theology and Ethics from the Pacific Theological College From 2010 to 2011.
His first calling was at Bulu Circuit School in Lomaiviti-e-cake in 1993
He then moved to Nairai circuit (1994-1998)
Davule then moved into the educational system, joining Nadroga:Navosa High School as chaplain in 1999.
He then joined Jansen Bible Institute in 2000.
Davule then.returned to the mission field at the Malolo circuit (2001-2003).
In 2007, he joined the church’s Young People’s Department (YPD) and the Methodist Lay Training Centre (MLTC) until 2009.
He then moved to the Davuilevu circuit in 2012 before returning to the YPD and MLTC.
As his body was lowered into the grave next to the cross commemorating the arrival of Cokaibusa’s clothes that changed the province, there was sorrow and gratitude in that his life had been lived well in the expansion of God’s kingdom.
Talatala had continued the purpose of the Davule family.
Older brother Jo Uluga said they were honoured with the late reverend’s work and proud of the many lives he had touched.
On the day he was buried, the tikina came together. The people of Nayawa and Laselase came together to pay tribute to a man of the cloth – cloth that shone light in a province that was once feared for its ways.
Today, the cross that signifies the cloth stands proud beside the final home of a fallen son of Delabia.

(Coverage of the funeral and subsequent story was made possible through support of the Pacific Environment Journalists Network – PEJN – and other partners)

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