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Lepani Kuruduadua, 60, standing outside Naqarani Seventh-day Adventist Church in Naqarani, Fiji. He injured his leg while repairing the church, leading to the amputation. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Fijian Loses Leg and Finds God’s Calling

Only when his leg was amputated did he realize the importance of leading people to Christ.

By Andrew McChesney

Lepani Kuruduadua felt like his life was over.

The retired schoolteacher accidentally cut his right leg with a knife while repairing a church in the Fijian village of Naqarani. The wound didn’t heal and, because Lepani had diabetes, only got worse. Finally, the doctor said the leg had to be amputated.

After the operation, Lepani lay in bed for months, wondering what was left in life. He felt especially sad because he had joined the church 17 years earlier but had never used his two good legs to lead someone to Christ. Now he had only one leg.

Ten months after the amputation, Lepani received an artificial leg and relearned to walk. He thought day after day, “I’ve got to do something for God, even though I only have one leg.” As he prayed, he remembered a village that he and other church members had wanted to evangelize for a long time. He remembered that an Adventist family lived in the village. He decided to ask the family to help organize evangelistic meetings.

He took a taxi to the village and was greeted at the door by Anna, the daughter. He learned that her parents, whom he had hoped would help with the meetings, had moved across the island to Nadi.

“How do you worship now?” he asked Anna.

The young woman replied that she sometimes worshipped with Nico, a neighbor who didn’t belong to any church.

“Let’s have a short prayer,” Lepani said. “I want to visit Nico’s house.”

As Lepani and Anna approached Nico’s house a short time later, the door suddenly burst open, and a man ran out.

“You’re the visitor that I’ve been waiting for!” he exclaimed.

Nico invited the visitors inside and related an incredible story.

He said he had prayed and prayed for someone to speak to him about Jesus. He had promised God that he would join the church of the first person who came to his house. That very morning, as he was gathering firewood in the bush, he felt a strong impression that the long-awaited visitor would show up. He rushed home, but no one was there. He took a shower and had just emerged when he heard Lepani’s voice outside.

“I want to join your church,” Nico said. “Next Sabbath, I’ll come to your church with my wife and three daughters.”

Lepani prayed with him and expressed joy over his desire to join the church. But he said, “Next Sabbath, I’ll come to you, and we will open a church in your house.”

For the next seven months, Lepani worshipped every Sabbath in Nico’s home. Other villagers joined them. After Lepani organized evangelistic meetings, 16 people were baptized, including Niko, his wife, and two of their three daughters.

As the congregation grew, the church moved out of the house and into its own building.

Lepani, now 60, is thrilled, and he hopes to plant a church in another village this year. Then he plans to plant a church in a third village next year.

He said the loss of his leg changed his life.

“What I couldn’t do with two legs, I am able to do with one leg,” he said. “I have realized what I am supposed to do.”

Lepani Kuruduadua reflects on the loss of his leg and shows how he puts on the leg. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in third quarter 2019 will support “Save 10,000 Toes,” a program to prevent diabetes and help people with diabetes in Fiji. Thank you for your Sabbath School mission offerings.