You already know how successful the most recent ministry in Fiji was–both the medical and evangelistic outreach and the camp. Thanks again for all your prayers and support. You made a difference in the lives of so many.
During the plane trip back to the States, I caught a cold, which with jet lag, laid me low for a bit. After recovering from that, I went to my primary care physician last week and then my cardiologist yesterday to review the results of a 14 day heart monitoring process that was completed the day I left for Fiji. The results were analyzed while I was away. Turns out I have sick sinus syndrome, meaning my heart does not regulate itself as it should. As a result I will go into the hospital on October 2nd to have a pacemaker implanted. The hour-long procedure is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. I will need to remain overnight for observation and should be released the next morning. This pacemaker will augment my natural heart beat, maintaining a proper pace. My left arm will be in a sling for three weeks after the procedure while the leads placed in the heart attach themselves properly. Then everything should be back to normal. This will add some adventure to going through airport security, which will hopefully not be too much of a problem.
Appreciate your prayers that all will go well. The main risk is infection at the site of the implant. On very rare occasions a lung can be nicked during insertion of the leads, causing lung collapse. Both these problems are rare, though the infection is not as rare as it should be, since proper hospital sterile procedures would eliminate it totally.
I want to thank all of you on the prayer team who prayed for this most recent trip to Fiji. Both the medical/evangelistic outreach and the First Fiji Friendship and Leadership Camp were very successful. I know this is the result of your prayers and support. God maintained my health and stamina throughout a sometimes grueling schedule. He also allowed a beautiful afternoon of reflection at a wonderful beach between the two events. Very refreshing.
The debrief with the camp leadership team was very fruitful as we assessed what went right and what can be improved next year. Everyone was encouraged by the feedback we have already received from the youth who attended. Here is a testimony from just one of those:
I’m now a champion because now I know my identity and I’m so sure that I’ll have a great future. The campers just reminded me of who I’m supposed to be. It’s true that I miss them more than anything in this planet earth. Meeting all the members was like a huge happiness for me. I am so thankful a hundred times that Cuvu Navilomani Atama invited me and we represented the Nadroga, Navosa area of Fiji. Dr. Ken, thank you for the message and for sponsoring me with a scholarship so I could come. To all the people from Suva, I love you guys and thank you for the ride. God does provide because I was so worried about our transportation. My friends from Nadi town through to the Rakiraki area, but especially my pastor and his wife, yes thanks very much to this family because they really helped the camp come alive. I love all this people because I’ll never forget the friendship we made together. This friendship camp was so something else because every time I have to wipe my tears. Though it was a bit sad because all the others live so very far away, but I do wanna meet them again and that’s my prayer. Oh, sorry I missed out something…To all the members of the Atama family, thank you very much. It is my prayer to God that he will continue to provide for them and bless them.
This is just one of the comments from those whose lives have been enriched from this time together learning about Jesus and Father God and experiencing Their love in and through each other.
I now have about 45 new Facebook friends, with more being added each day. The leaders in Fiji have a planned follow-up schedule to maintain contact with all who attended to continue t mentor them and to establish long-term relationships with and between them.
I arrived home last night about midnight. Didn’t have any sleep for about a 20-hour period because I had to be at Nadi airport at 2:30 a.m. for the 10 1/2 hour flight leaving at 5:50 a.m. We left about 45 minutes late. Anyway, made for a loooooong day. Did manage to get some sleep last night, though none on the plane, and am now unpacking and getting back into the traces here.
Once more, my most profound thanks for all you did to make this mission such a success. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
It is Saturday evening and the first annual Fiji Friendship Camp is in the books. I don’t think many of the campers or the staff got much sleep last night. I finally settled down around 2 a.m. but or co-director’s wife was awake all night. What wonderful servants she and her husband were. Without them, we could not have held the camp. We should all sleep well this evening.
We were up around 6:15 a.m. to spruce up the school grounds, leaving them in better shape than we found them. The youth did a spectacular job. Then bucket showers before breakfast, where farewell tears were already beginning to trickle down some cheeks—and not only of the young ladies. Lots of us taking photos of groups of new friends.
Then, though it was a lot like herding cats, we got everyone into their official camp tee-shirts and assembled for the official camp photo. More spontaneous photo ops for friendship groupings, then into the meeting room to sing while I put the finishing touches on a PowerPoint presentation I assembled of the activities of the week. That was a phenomenal hit. I believe I got every person into at least two or three shots.
I also asked the group to sing me an unaccompanied hymn or song. Their voices are truly lovely, much more so in my opinion than when they sing with drums, keyboard, bass guitar, etc. I gave out a few more Bibles, then spoke very briefly about the woman with the issue of blood. You can never take Jesus by surprise and you can always come to Him even with the most hidden thing affecting you and He will personally respond with love and healing, never allowing you to go away in hidden shame.
Then the selected camp spokesperson officially thanked me on behalf of all the campers for the week of teaching. I was really touched and moved by the comments as well as by the many individuals who came up to me personally afterwards to say goodbye.
Cuvu, her one of her daughters and I drove back to Nadi where I am back at the Grand Melanesian Hotel. Monday the camp leaders will debrief the week and make plans for future Friendship Camps.
All of you who prayed were a vital part of affecting the lives of these young people who will be leading the church in the not too distant future. The youth were moved to know that so many of you cared about them even without knowing them personally.