Farewells and Plans for the Future

It is Monday, July 1 in Fiji. Early yesterday morning we left Nakorokula Village, the village that hosted our outreach, took a very crowded van to Lautoka and boarded a 21′ boat to the Yasawa Island of Waya Leilei to deliver 8 wheelchairs.

We were greeted in traditional Fijian fashion and welcomed to the village. Then we were feasted to one of the best meals I have ever eaten anywhere. Some of the team snorkeled while I went over to another location to buy drinking water and some snacks. Then we had evening church. Some of the most sublime, beautiful singing this side of heaven. Then I delivered a message. After I finished, the Fijian pastor preached another full message. Services are often longer overseas. Then another meal.

Early this morning we left the island to return to the mainland. It is about a 31 mile trip. About 45 minutes out, we stopped at an ocean lagoon to swim with the sharks during shark feeding. Folks come from all over the world to witness this beautiful coral marvel and pet the sharks. Truly a memorable experience.

Got to Nadi around noon, in time to swim in the hotel pool and get rid of a lot of gritty salt and sand. Then, oh bliss, the first hot shower since the beginning of the outreach. We met with a local artisan I’ve known for some years. She is the premiere crafts person in the nation. Jim Whitney talked with her about a line of cultural products she might produce with some of her top artisans. With Jim’s contacts this could become a great source of income for a number of women. We’ll have to see how this works out.

After those discussion, I took the team over to the airport for pizza and their flight out. They will be on the maiden voyage of the new Fiji Airways Airbus. They’re very excited about that.

Tomorrow I head to Suva to debrief this outreach and to make plans for the next trip. There are several people I need to meet, if briefly. Face-to-face contacts are so very important in this culture–much more so than in the States.

Everyone involved in this outreach agrees it has been one of the best ever in so many ways.

Thanks for your prayers!