Buhl, Joeli

Buhl, Joeli
(c. 1810-1877)
   cofounder of the Ifethodist church in Fiji
   Joeli Bulu was born on Tonga and converted by Methodist missionaries during a great revival that swept the island in 1833-34. He was deeply affected by a letter sent by missionary David Cargill, then working in Fiji, and developed a call to missionary work there. in 1838, he was sent as part of a Tongan-based team to evangelize the islands. After learning the Fijian language, he began work in the printing establishment set up by British missionaries. A decade of zealous missionary endeavor led to his ordination as the first South Sea islander Methodist minister in 1850.
   For the remaining 27 years of his life, Bulu pioneered new mission stations, often in areas too dangerous for Europeans, trained indigenous leadership, and served as chaplain to Tahkombau, the Fijian high chief. From 1863 to 1866, he was the principal of the training college for catechists. His last years were spent on Bau, the royal island, where he died.
   Bulu worked for the indigenization of the Methodist Church in Fiji, though his efforts were set back at one point by a massive epidemic of measles that claimed a large percentage of the church members as its victims.
   See also Fiji Islands; South Pacific.
   Further reading:
   ■ Charles W. Forman, "Joeli Bulu," in Gerald H. Anderson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1998)
   ■ Joeli Bulu, The Autobiography of Joeli Bulu, Tongan Missionary to Fiji, ed. by Alan R. Tippett and Tomasi Kanailagi. (Pasadena, Calif.: Fuller Theological Seminary, thesis, 1976).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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