Developing student personas for digital strategies

Because of COVID-19, Christians all over the world have been forced to find new ways to minister, from a distance. One of the areas that I’ve been able to focus on because of the ways things turned out last year has been the ministry’s digital strategies and more specifically the Student Life website. I’ve been meeting with Karl (Tandem New Zealand) to lay the foundation for the online platform.

Our vision is to be able to journey together with people digitally all over the Pacific while still being able to connect them with workers on the ground that can help facilitate small steps on their spiritual growth journey.

To do this we’ve done a lot of research and gathered information through student surveys, staff interviews and sitting down with a smaller group of students to verify our assumptions.

Above are a few screenshots from our online brainstorming session with the staff team here in Fiji. The team used the whiteboard app Miro for this activity. Surprisingly, it was a very productive and engaging process with the staff team. In the past it’s been a challenge to work on things together remotely (thumbs-up to Miro).

Anyways, much of our discussion focused on the staff putting themselves in student’s shoes. There was also talk about their impressions on the types of students that were currently a part of the ministry and the types of students we wanted to attract. It was good because it also gave us an opportunity to talk about some of the gaps in our current system and to better understand student and ministry needs.

What we then created was a persona. A persona is a profile based on data that represents a group of users that have similar goals, pains, needs and behaviours. Personas help us know, love, and serve our users. Personas also help us focus our efforts on meeting our goals and the needs of our users.

Our persona is taken from a grid that allows us to identify groups of people by their placement on the Scale of Belief (x-axis), and the Level of Benefit they get from us (y-axis). When we talk digitally, we don’t speak to individuals, but rather people as a larger group through this framework.

The audience grid

We then took this persona, built around data collected from the surveys and on assumptions that the staff had made and sat down with a select group of students to provide feedback and to verify whether or not they could relate with the persona.

Persona focus group

Our prayer is that God would help us so that those we encounter are moving “upwards” and to the “right” on their spiritual journey so that they may eventually be able to guide others.

Our Persona

The first persona that we’ve developed falls into group K, so we’ve named her Kalesi.

Kalesi represents the most common student coming into Uni that eventually becomes a part of the ministry. Kalesi is a Pacific islander that has grown up in a Christian household yet is not currently experiencing any significant spiritual growth. Her main goal is to do well in school so that she would be able to give back to her family and somehow find a cause that she can contribute to.

Our aim as a campus ministry is to be able to connect with Kalesi(s) and be able to journey with her during her time on campus so that she can fulfil her dream of making a difference.

Currently, Karl and I are working on mapping out a way to best connect with and “win” the trust of Kalesi. So that we can have part of the website up and running by orientation week this first semester. (More on this soon.)

The next phase will look at creating a persona for the most unreached student on campus and figuring out pathways to reach them.

Appreciate your prayers as we continue to work on this.

Namaka Orientation

Imagine walking through campus on a hot (read: humid+sweaty+sticky) day and coming across a table that was serving ice cold juice… for free! Wouldn’t you stop to cool off and find out what these guys were about?

Free juice!

That was our exact strategy out at orientation day on Namaka campus last Wednesday and we had an overwhelming response. The Student Life table was definitely the busiest table at the school foyer.

While students got a drink, we took the opportunity to talk to them a bit about the ministry and asked them to fill out a quick one-minute survey card that looked like this:

A couple of the resources that we gave out on that day

Tom, one of the student leaders that showed up to help did an awesome job talking to groups of students (at times twenty plus in a group) about who we are and how they can get involved. It’s always encouraging to see students step up.

Tom talking to a group of new students about the cards

Prayer Request

  • Please pray for the students that filled out cards. Over the next couple of weeks we will be making phone calls to see if we can connect with them. Pray that God would just prepare their hearts.
  • Pray for the team as they begin these connections with students that God would provide opportunities for them to get into deeper conversations and share their personal testimony of life change.
  • Our first Connexion (weekly meeting) begins February 14th. Perfect “date” wouldn’t you say?

Praise Report

  • Our constitution has been approved by the Student Association and Student Life Namaka is now a registered body.
  • Kelera, our latest team member has found an apartment and will be moving over from Suva this weekend.
  • Visit our facebook page, it now has over 1,000 likes –

Elidah’s call to staff

A testimony by Elidah Zzferio serving with the Great Commission Movement (Cru) PNG.

It has always been my passion to serve God and be in missions for a long time but the field and area of missions was not made clear up until after my 4 years at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).

Being a young Christian in a tertiary institution, you go through a lot; not just peer pressure but the reality of life avails itself to you in many ways. I have gone through so much hardship and stepping stones in my 4 years there. My friends and peers have also gone through the same things as well but the ones who always rise above it all have one thing in common; Jesus, whereas the ones who know about Jesus and the Holy Spirit but do not allow him to take full control of every part of their lives, tend to do things on their own strength and knowledge and often end up hurting themselves more than intended. I see my peers going out to the clubs; smoking and chewing betel nut; getting drunk and causing havoc all over the campus, fighting over unnecessary things; getting suicidal over relationship issues and I wondered why? Why do they not see the enjoyment one has in the Lord, why are they still looking for ways to feel complete? Why are they finding fulfillment in the world?

I realized and I saw that yes, there is a need for missions… Not only in other countries that do not know Jesus or worship other gods BUT there is also a very big need here on campus and in Papua New Guinea too.

I was hesitant at first when I got the application. I was very double-minded but after a long time on my knees and after a quiet time, God spoke to me clear as day. I was still contemplating when the verse Matthew 6:33 came into mind: “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Then He asked: IS THIS NOT YOUR DESIRE? Have you not always wanted to serve me?

I believe God has called me to staff to invest my life in the lives of the students in enabling them to make clear, God fearing choices for a better PNG and to help them understand their worth in the Lord. To build up Godly principles in their lives so that they in turn can help others understand their worth in the Lord and build up Godly principles in their lives as well and also to have a movement of multiplying disciples in all ethnic groups in the country; on campus and wherever the student graduates will go in the future.

PNG staff
PNG staff L-R: Beautlyn Eliab, Dianne Aulo Tanya Agua and Elidah Zzferio

2017 Review

2017 was the year of the UNEXPECTED. As the year kicked off, we thought we had everything sorted as we mapped out our plans on the annual calendar. Maybe this is normal for newly weds… thinking you have it all figured out. I dunno. Anyways, let me describe it like this, it was like looking up at a mountain and seeing the summit.


The summit. That’s where you want to get to. It’s beautiful up there. You see it. You see it in all it’s splendor and you also see it there amongst all the other smaller mountains and hills that make that great mountain… the one you want to conquer. And you know that there’s only one way… Up! You see it but what you don’t see though is what lies behind each hill and smaller mountain… the valleys.

2017 was about finding out that sometimes, behind those hills; life’s getting ready to throw you a curved ball… no wait, an uppercut. [I’m not much of a baseball fan] And it’s not just about trusting God through the valleys but learning to be humble even when you’re on top. Yes, despite all the ups and downs of 2017 – the year of the unexpected, we’re thankful that God is faithful and that He is indeed the God of the hills and valleys. And when things don’t  work out the way we want it’s encouraging to know that He’s got a birds eye view of the entire terrain.

Here are just a few highlights of ministry (and life) last year.

Staff Conference


It was a busy start to 2017, we had two weeks of theological studies followed our regional staff conference.

On campus, it was still difficult for us to meet with students but God gave us creative strategies to be able to engage students off campus and even at their local churches. Read @judithniumataiwalu ‘s post here.


One of my highlights midway through the first semester was men’s fellowship which the male staff organised at the office. It was really great to see the guys (staff and students) get together and have some fun, enjoy a BBQ and have some time to share, reflect and encourage one another. We ended up having another event in the second semester and named the event B.O.B. which stands for Band of Brothers. Here’s a clip of the guys singing a hymn at the end of one of the meets.

Voyagers Conference

In June we had our first ever Student Life Regional Student Training Conference at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour. Our aim is to be able to equip, encourage and motivate students so that they can become positive change agents in their sphere of influence. The conference theme for 2017 was Voyagers and a special emphasis was put on our identity, our history and future role as Pacific Islanders in missions and across the Pacific and “beyond the reef”.

Infographics of student representation at the conference.

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 5.57.17 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-09 at 5.57.31 PM

Results from the Witnessing Blitz on the last day of Conference.Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 5.57.53 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-09 at 5.58.10 PM

Jesus Film Project


Judith and I traveled to Vanuatu mid-July and met with our ministry partners there. We were able to assist a Jesus Film Project team from the States and spent a week ministering to students at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE).

After sharing the Gospel at the school assembly on Monday, the team spent about an hour each day doing follow-up by taking the students through the Walking with Jesus video studies.

The JF team donated 3 tablets loaded with material. One of which will be available to students at the library.

Free Wifi in Port Vila

Also in Vila, I worked with local volunteers and Bible translators to set up a high-powered antenna at the Scripture Union Vanuatu office that’s able to broadcast a WiFi signal throughout Port Vila.

We loaded it with Jesus Film material using the BibleBox software, so that once someone connects to the network. They are taken straight to the index of available Jesus Film Project videos and audio Bibles.

Theoretically, the unit(s) should have a range of about 2km but we didn’t have enough time to test this out. It does take a bit of time to setup and I really should have done a video for this but I only had a week. I’ll probably post an update when I next visit Vanuatu.

Mission Projects


We had initially planned to join the project team to Nadi. However, the Tonga Project needed another staff member (preferably male) to accompany Sai because of the size of the team. It was sort of a bitter sweet experience because you both want to go on a missions project together but you also want to just spend a week building into students and focusing on the task at hand. I’m glad to say it worked out in the end and we both came back refreshed and had some pretty cool stories to share. Read about it here.

New Car


God blessed us through with a new (used) car in November. It’s been such a blessing especially with all the rain we’ve been getting in Suva. Special thanks as well to the couple that made this possible.

Judith Graduates

Also in November; Judith graduated from New Staff training along with Nathan and Yabaki and we began to plan our move to the West.

Judith during staff training:


We’re moving to the West this year! Our main goal is to assist and encourage the student movement in FNU Namaka. We’re excited and hope to transition over between late Jan to early March and right now we’re still looking for a home. [Please pray] If you’d like to know more, read about it here.

Nathan, Judith and I being set apart in FNU Namaka by Kolinio Ravoka.

Art of Marriage Seminar


Judith and I attended our first Art of Marriage seminar in November. AoM is a one-day seminar run by Family Life Fiji staff, Pita and Mere Nacuva.

Best News of 2017

And finally… we’re having a baby! It’s a boy and he’s coming in May 2018.


Thanks so much for your continued prayers and support. We love and appreciate you all. Our best wishes to you and your family for the new year.

TuMa & Judith

Ministry Update

Having spent a full half year of 2016 solely dedicated to raising our financial support plus settling in here in Fiji, what a nice change it was to finally be working with University Students since Feb this year (2017). Being engaged in the heart of what the Student Life movement is all about “A community passionate about connecting students to Christ” has been a great eye opener to the great need for Christ at USP.
Connecting with Students (especially first years) at the start of the year is always a crucial time for our staff and student leaders. Students are less tied down to commitments and more available to meet up and talk about the survey forms they filled out with us during orientation week or during one of our weekly connection meetings. Where they indicate an interest to know more about God and what ‘Student Life’ is all about, we, the staff and student leaders, follow up on by calling them up and meeting with them one-on-one. I must say, not everyone responds enthusiastically or responds at all, but for the few that do, we get the opportunity to share the gospel with. And if they want to meet up again and again and again, these are the few we get to do life with!
Over the past couple of weeks Judith has finally settled on McDonalds as her base for meeting with girls for Bible study. From the 70 or so phone calls made and 20 or so actual face to face conversations, she has a total of about 8 girls that she meets with on a regular basis (Weekly) and a couple other inconsistent or new appointments weekly.

His Plan for Me

When I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ
And He shows me His plan for me,
The plan of my life as it might have been,
Had He had His way; and I see

How I blocked Him here, and I checked Him there
And I would not yield my will,
Will there be grief in my Saviour’s eyes,
Grief though He loves me still?

He would have me rich, and I stand here poor,
Stripped of all but His grace,
While memory runs like a hunted thing
Down the paths I cannot retrace.

Then my desolate heart will well nigh break
With tears that I cannot shed;
I shall cover my face with my empty hands;
I shall bow my uncrowned head.

Lord of the years that are left to me,
I give them to Thy hand;
Take me and break me, mold me to
The pattern Thou hast planned.

Martha Snell Nicholson

February in pictures

Discipleship Ministry Partner Development (DMPD). During the month of February the team went through a training that would help us develop and sustain a Mission Team [made up of ministry partners] that would help us in our work both financially and through prayer.
It was challenging to be honest; our sessions would start at 8am and go until about 9pm. Often times I had to step out of my comfort zones and was forced to do things the “faith” way. Like calling people up and asking for appointments and sharing what the ministry was about. Fortunately, we had awesome trainers that worked tirelessly behind the scenes and encouraged us every step of the way.
Mickey and Judy Booth, the International Directors for DMPD were with us for the first two weeks of the training and they were such a blessing to the team. Continue reading February in pictures

January in pictures

IBS training with the team conducted by Dr Ray Albrektson. We focused on Church History and Apologetics.

I got to make this funny scrapbook so that I could remember all 20 centuries of church history.

We had an awesome new years picnic at the park and got to know the STINTers and the rest of the team a lot better.