1840 – 1843: three dark years in Fiji for Wesleyan Methodist, Thomas Williams made few converts

After three years in Fiji,  Wesleyan Methodist, Thomas Williams, “Adaptation to his new environment came slowly, and the work for which he had left home, friends and occupation was dragging. He and his colleagues made few converts, and those few were merely nominal Christians attracted by extraneous aids principally the use of British medicine. The Gospel of Christ was beyond their comprehension.
Doubts continued to assail him; disillusionment haunted him like a grinning spectre; but he held on, performing faithfully his daily duties until, in the year 1843, the dawn of a brighter day broke and he felt, at last, that he could write to his father and tell him frankly not only what he had suffered, but also what he had gained . In the period of his second and more searching conversion. The letter was begun on 20 January 1843, but not finished till April:
Horrors of first two years in Fiji:
You will rejoice to know that I am getting on a little better in spiritual affairs. What I passed through during my first two years in Fiji is not to be told. Wind and tide seemed set against me. My heart was overwhelmed within me. In the anguish of my soul I often asked with the royal Psalmist “Is His mercy clean gone for ever? Doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies? It was the hour and power of darkness. Hell seemed at many times let loose upon me. I was on the edge of desperation; all but gone. O, how deeply am I indebted to God’s grace for His preservation. Preserved, perhaps, in answer to your prayers; for, at times, I seemed unable to pray. But, for some months past, I have been in widely different circumstances’
The candle of the Lord has again shone upon me:.
.. and I know Him. to be my reconciled Father through Christ Jesus my Saviour. My murmurings, ingratitude, mistrust and backsliding of heart are forgiven, all forgiven, freely forgiven. Bless the Lord, O, my soul. My will is becoming subject to that of my blessed Master. I want it to be lost in His. I wish not only to endure, but cheerfully acquiesce in every dispensation of His all-wise providence toward me; to feel that good is the pleasure of the Lord. Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief.
In the Valley of Death: You may feel a degree of surprise that I did not disclose the state of my mind to you before. The fact is I thought the statement of Our bodily afflictions would be enough for you to have to reflect upon for some time, and I can do it more cheerfully now the Lord has given me to sing a deliverance. Peace of mind is a blessing of untold worth, especially to us who: ‘ live in the midst of war and cannibalism”.’
The Journal Of Thomas Williams, Missionary In Fiji, 1840-1853 By G. C. Henderson, M.a. (Oxon.) Emeritus Professor Of History, Adelaide University Author Of Sir George Grey : Founder Of Empire In Southern Lands, Fiji And The Fijians 18s5-1856 In Two Volumes Vol. I Australia Angus & Robertson Ltd,1931.  The manuscript is in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, in two folios, containing 874 pages and about 250,000 words.

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