On Sunday I was able to meet with the last two individuals I needed to connect with while in Suva. Peter Schulz directs the prison ministry TUtP has had contact with over the years. Things are going very well. The ministry is expanding as the government has asked them to put together a program that will assist former inmates after release. Halfway houses have not worked in Fiji, for whatever reason. Peter is trying to establish a non-residential, staffed resource center that can provide released prisoners with ongoing support in a variety of areas.
I was instrumental in connecting Peter with the Freedom-in-Christ ministry some years back when I brought three key FIC leaders over and they provided a week of training that impacted the prison ministry in a positive way. It may be time to bring FIC leaders back into this new phase of activity. That will be Peter’s call and I will provide such help as I can to make it happen if that is his decision.
I had dinner with the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Suva. He wants to strengthen and encourage an evangelical, Biblical presence within his diocese and among his clergy. Prayer is a key component in making that happen. We will maintain contact to determine how TUtP can contribute when I’m here next. There are some real obstacles.
On Monday, Elizabeth Clayton, Ratu Osea and I drove to Cuvu village to present to the villagers the proposal that Sujit Kumar (see my previous report) might move into the village. That meeting went very well. Elizabeth was most impressed with the village and with the possible accommodations for Sujit. She will bring Sujit to the village sometime later this month to see how he likes it and how the villagers respond to him. Then plans may go forward to renovate one of the village houses for his use during the remainder of his life. This was an immensely rewarding meeting. There is already one special needs young adult this village is caring for. It was fantastic to see how he is being loved.
I was supposed to meet with our beekeeping partners in Lomawai on Monday. That meeting was postponed to tomorrow to enable more people to attend. We have some very delicate issues to deal with. One of those involved in our original agreement has died and another has moved to a different location. This has changed the dynamic regarding what we are trying to accomplish. We are assessing the deployment of assets to enable this project thrive. Is this still the best place for that to happen? If not, how and when do we shift assets? We have very strong new locations available as a result of contacts duringmy first week of meetings.
I caught a bus from Sigatoka, a town near Cuvu village, and arrived in Nadi in the early evening and settled into my hotel. I have made contact with Seniloli, a friend who is a very gifted artisan. She trains Fijian women to revive and continue much of their traditional cultural art forms. In fact she travels the world to help indigenous artists revive their art to make a living. Students at Azusa Pacific University want to make contact with specific women they can help to secure a stable income from their products. This will be the second time I’ll be taking items back to APU for these students to sell. Hopefully we can expand this over coming years to make a real impact in the lives of these struggling women.
I’m having difficulty making contact with my partners in the camp ministry. Hopefully this will be resolved over the next two days. If not, there are alternatives I will have to put into place before I leave on Sunday.
Yesterday and today I am fasting and praying, doing a kind of mini-Lenten retreat. I have a very lovely place to seek the face of God.
So appreciate your prayers.
Thanks and Blessings!