Yesterday my host, Aisake (General Secretary for GIFT–the doctor’s group under whom we do our medical work in Fiji) and I drove from Savusavu village where he lives on Vanua Levu Island, to Lambasa town. Vanua Levu is the 2nd largest island in Fiji and also is 2nd in population size. We drove up and along the mountainous spine of the island as we traversed the newly tar sealed (read blacktop) main road. Though it was misting all of the way, there were still some spectacular views of an impressive rain forest, waterfalls and the ocean.
We were taking this 1 hr. 45 minute trip to pick up some louvered glass window panes for the house he is building, and to visit with long-term friends who have a small farm near Labasa. As it turned out, though Aisake had already paid for the window panes and was assured they would be there when he arrived, the store had sold them to another customer prior to our before-noon arrival. But they assured him most earnestly that they were bringing some by boat from another nearby island and those would be available to him in Savusavu on Monday morning. Customer service with a smile?
We had a great time visiting with Chuck and his wife Susan. They came to Fiji as missionaries from Australia about 14 years ago. They adopted a number of Fijian children, in addition to the two kids they have by birth and became citizens of Fiji when that was the only way they would be allowed to keep their first adopted Fijian daughter.
Chuck was the architect who designed and helped build our TUtP women and youth center in the Namadi slum area of Viti Levu near Suva, capital of Fiji. He also drew up plans for Aisake’s house and is helping construct it. He and his wife are a remarkable, gifted couple. They need some help in obtaining seeds for their farm and in their ongoing beekeeping activities. In addition, Chuck’s 12 year old computer is finally giving up the ghost. I will provide what assistance I can once I return home tomorrow.
Last evening, after our evening meal, I was asked if I could teach on some aspect of prayer to the church group that meets at the camp where I’m staying. It was a real delight to teach in a very informal living room setting. Afterwards there were some questions as well as comments of appreciation for our time together. This is a fairly legalistic group that has some real issues with the accepted role of women in church. The same issues I’ve encountered in more places around the globe than I would like to think about. My prayer is that they will begin to realize the true nature of God and His relationship to the church and the true relationship men and women are to have within families as well as within the worshiping community. Extreme legalism can really put the brakes on faith and do a lot of harm to family relationships.
The first thing I heard this morning when I came to breakfast was that the radio announced that all domestic flights around the nation had been cancelled for today due to probable tropical storm conditions over the next 48 hours. It rained very heavily all night, but by morning the sky was fairly clear and there was very little wind. We drove to the airport on our way to town and were told the alert had been cancelled and all fights would take place as scheduled. In fact, one flight landed shortly after we left.
It is pretty much socked in at the moment, with light but steady rain and moderate wind. Hopefully my 4 p.m. flight will go as scheduled and I’ll be in Nadi by early evening so I can be at scheduled meetings in the morning and leave for home in the evening.
Thanks again for all your prayers.