Niue is one of the smallest island nations in the world. Located in the centre of a triangle made up of Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. Though he hasn’t lived there for more than a decade, Metric Ikitoelagi, who coaches their national rugby team, still describes his home as a paradise.
Though he’d grown up there attending church, Metric told Matt Prater that he’d never fully committed his life to God until after he moved away. Talking on Vision’s 20Twenty program, he explained that he knew many of the boys he’d be coaching would be like him, churched but not living biblically.
So Metric decided to do what he’d promised he’d do in every part of his life, and use this opportunity to plant a seed. “I was really seeking for a Bible verse to base the journey on, because I really believed that if we put God in the centre, and everything revolved around Him, it’ll definitely work.”
He eventually chose to focus on Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew, chapters 5 through 7. When he asked them not to drink alcohol while on tour his team were shocked. “All the boys were like ‘man, we’ve never been on a tour that’s had rules and strict regulations that we’ve got to follow.”
But they did follow them right through to the end. Once they’d finished playing, Metric told the team they could relax a little. “Go and see a bit of PNG. Have a drink, one or two, but not too many. But I think the seed was planted, because even then, the boys, they did go out, but their mind-sets were changed from what they used to be.”
The players left the camp talking about salvation, being born again, and how to be good people. “And I told the boys that rugby was a by-product. It was just a bonus. But God using myself as a vessel to come in and preach them through rugby, I think that was the winner at the end of the day.”
Metric feels many young people these days are worshiping false idols and temporary things instead of God. Even for him, it’s difficult to speak out his faith, knowing he might face ridicule and protest.
I think if we really love God, and we want to seek the truth from God, I think we’ve just got to be brave and stand up and make a change.
That was his mission as Niue’s coach. “We’ve made a choice, we’ve taken a chance to go to PNG, and I wanted these kids to change. And I wanted to be that person that they could walk away from here, and like I said, they’ve learned one or two things from rugby, but if they’ve taken God away with them, that’s a win for me.”
To close their conversation, Matt Prater asked Metric what the Gospel meant to him. He said that he sees it as “Good News” and happiness, but in order to understand that Good News, he says you need to be saved. Some people would argue that you need to do a lot of good things. “I used to think of it like that before, like I need to be a good person. I need to give things away.”
“But really getting to know God, I think that if we really want to get that happiness, we really have to give ourselves to Jesus, be a born again Christian, be saved, and try to mimic the steps of Jesus when he was here on Earth for all of us.”
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.