Influential Juice Bar
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, December 31.
ailoaloa Beach is a popular tourist destination known for its affordable accommodation, restaurants, and especially its bars and night spots in Nadi, Fiji.
When COVID-19 struck Fiji, many small coffee shops, fast food outlets, and restaurants lost business along the beach. One such place was the Bamboo Resort.
Sensing an opportunity, three local Seventh-day Adventist churches teamed up with Bamboo Resort to open Bitu Wellness Bar, a juice bar offering wellness and health programs such as free biometric screenings, exercise programs, fat-loss challenges, and personalized meal plans. The bar, whose name bitu means “bamboo” in the local language, quickly gained popularity among the locals, who streamed in for healthy fresh juices.
Church members prayed that the bar would serve as a center of influence to encourage Fijians to take a more wholistic and natural approach to their health in a region where people struggle with lifestyle diseases, particularly diabetes. The bar, supported by the South Pacific Division’s 10,000 Toes campaign, a recipient of a 2019 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering, also sought to raise awareness to healthy alternatives to alcohol.
But then a second wave of COVID-19 struck Fiji, and the authorities ordered that the Bamboo Resort close along with the juice bar. For two weeks, customers called daily to find out when and where the juice bar would reopen. What happened next was unexpected.
The married couple who managed the neighboring Beach Escape Resort had watched daily crowds pouring in and out of the Bamboo Resort and had noticed that more people visited the juice bar than the liquor bar. They also noted a decrease in alcohol-related incidents on the street.
The couple contacted church members and offered the use of their liquor bar and other premises as a wellness hub. Church members initially turned down the offer, not wanting to offer fruit juices in the same place as alcohol, but the managers explained that they wanted to stop selling alcohol altogether.
Alcohol was cleared out from the bar, and bar equipment was replaced with juicing machines, blenders, and fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The Bitu Wellness Bar was up and running again.
Church members expressed amazement at the marvelous way that God leads. The juice bar managed to not only influence the regular patrons of the Bamboo Resort, but it also has transformed the Beach Escape Resort into a center of influence that is bringing hope and healing to the community.
Thank you for your 2019 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering that supported the South Pacific Division’s 10,000 Toes campaign in Fiji and other South Pacific countries. Thank you for planning a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today to support new projects to spread the gospel in the South Pacific Division and beyond.