Setting Up Camp Day 1

We did further camp shopping this a.m. for more food, kerosene and cooking gas. I also picked up the prescribed course of antibiotics which I have started to take for the pneumonia. I’ve heard from a number of you who are praying for my healing. So appreciate that. I must admit I am a bit tired this morning, but am gaining energy as we set things up for the camp.

Just got a very good report from the beekeeping trainers. Things are going extraordinarily well with the sessions. Folks are so appreciative that we would come and do training for them. Our trainer has opportunity to share his faith and reasons for being involved in this mission. God is on the move.

Hopefully we will continue to have a strong internet signal here so I can send you another report the end of the day regarding how things have begun. I am excited by the possibilities.

Thanks and Blessings!

Sunday Afternoon in Fijji

Today is Sunday, a day of worship and rest. We attended services at 9 a.m. and headed home for lunch and a peaceful day. After lunch while most of the team was taking a nap, I walked to a spot along the road where I should have been able to get a strong internet signal. For a period of time I had a strong signal, but could still not connect to the net. Then the signal failed entirely. It is early evening and I’m sitting in a car on a rise overlooking the ocean. Nice view, strong signal.

I had a doctor listen to my lungs this afternoon since I still have a cough. Much to my surprise, she determined that I may have pneumonia in the lower part of my right lung. Since we can’t do an x-ray there is no way to be certain. I have had a pneumonia shot within the past 2 years, but that is no guarantee. In any event the prescription is the same, one course of antibiotics and a check at the end to see that I am symptom free. The doctor was not concerned as the sound she heard was not very loud. Still I appreciate your prayers. I am actually feeling much better, hence my surprise at her finding. Will pick up the antibiotics in the morning while doing a bit more shopping for the camp.

Yesterday we visited the campsite to make last minute arrangements, including making sure the freezer was working. Then we drove into Savusavu to buy food for the first afternoon. Once we know how many campers actually come, we’ll buy more food for the rest of the week.

Also yesterday I learned one of the participants in teaching at the camp will not be able to come because of a mistake his booking agent made in his tickets. He has been emailing me copies of the material he was to present. I will use his notes to teach what he was to teach. In addition, I will be teaching more materials on the subject of prayer.

I thank you again for all of your prayers. You matter.

Blessings!

Dreketi Final Outreach Report

Here are the totals for the four days of outreach in Dreketi:

We treated 242 patients:

All 242 received eye and ear examinations
124 pairs of glasses were distributed
52 dental patients had extractions—many had multiple extractions
53 individuals were prayed for regarding various requests
11 individuals rededicated their lives to Christ
84 people received Christ—24 were Hindus and 4 were Muslims

God is awesome!! We head to Savusavu at 6 a.m. tomorrow and begin final plans for the youth camp that starts on Monday.

We so appreciate your prayers.

Thanks and Blessings!

Third Day of Dreketi Outreach

Today we saw a total of 54 patients:

39 eye exams
5 ear exams
29 pair of glasses distributed
15 dental patient extractions, several with multiple teeth pulled
15 were prayed for regarding a variety of issues
4 rededicated themselves to Christ
18 received Christ, 5 of whom were Hindu

Another great day. PTL and thanks for your prayers.

Blessings!

Second Day of Dreketi Medical Outreach

Today we treated 66 patients:

53 had eye exams
23 had ear exams
28 received glasses
15 dental patients had extractions—several had multiple teeth removed
16 people requested prayer for various needs
4 people rededicated their lives to Christ
21 received Christ as Savior, 8 of whom were Hindu, 2 of whom were Muslim

So we have increased the population of the Kingdom and there is great joy in heaven today.

Our beekeepers have also completed their second day of training. The training is quite intense and exhausting, but everything is going well. We may see them briefly tomorrow as they are doing training not too far from our clinic.

I had a tight, persistent cough all day today. It was especially bad first thing in the morning. I think it is related to mold, fungus and dust. Also the anti-mosquito device in our room bothers me. We will not use it tonight and see if mosquitoes become a problem.

Thanks so much for your ongoing prayers and support.

Blessings!

First Day of the Dreketi Outreach

On our first day we treated 83 patients:

67 had eye and/or ear exams
18 had dental extractions
40 received glasses
10 were prayed for
29 received Christ as Savior, 22 of whom were Hindu.

This is a great beginning. Our eye and ear specialists heard various patients talking about how great our dentist is, “You don’t even feel it when he pulls your teeth.” With that kind of word of mouth, the dental load should significantly increase as the week progresses. We have a great team.

Praise the Lord with us for 26 new members of the Family. Pray for even more to be born again. Through your prayers, you are participants in all we achieve.

Thanks and Blessings!

Fourth Fiji Report August 2015

Our morning started at 6:15 a.m. with breakfast. We are staying at a church guesthouse that is within the church compound. Everything is really quite nicely arranged. ur team is three to a room in four dorms. The rooms all have screens so we don’t need mosquito nets. Most mattresses are on the floor, according to Fijian custom, however they are quite firm and comfortable.

This morning we had about 70 folks at our church service. There were at least 25 children among them. Worship was quite enthusiastic and very moving. I spoke for about 25 minutes to a totally attentive and responsive congregation. The presence of the Lord was quite strong throughout our time together. As the young people took communion, each one came over to me for prayer and blessing. A few adults joined this group as well. That was a very moving experience.

Carl, our beekeeper left early this evening with the couple with whom he will stay for the next three weeks as he moves about and conducts several two-day training sessions. He and Chuck, the farmer and beekeeper with whom he will travel hit it off immediately. I know they will establish a strong friendship over the days they are together. We prayed for safe travel and health as they will be in a number of rural villages.

We will set up our medical and evangelistic clinic tomorrow morning before breakfast and see our first patients around 8:30 a.m.

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement.

Third Fiji Report August 2015

The rest of the U.S. team arrived in Nadi from LAX at 5:30 this morning. Since their plane was on time, they asked if they could change their afternoon reservation to Savusavu to the morning flight. That meant they arrived here earlier than expected. Much better for them than sitting in an unfinished, under construction airport lounge all morning and into the afternoon.

We completed our shopping for the medical and evangelistic outreach this morning as well. Then we drove to Dreketi, arriving just after dark at 7:30 p.m. We’ve unpacked and eaten our evening meal. The doctor associated with the Labasa government hospital is already in town, so the entire team is now in place.

I preach in the morning, and then we will relax during the rest of the day in preparation for an early start on Monday.

Thanks so much for your ongoing prayers.

Second Fiji Report August 2015

Aisake, GIFT general secretary, and I spent about 4 hours in his car driving into Savusavu town, then up north to Labasa to meet with various folks involved in some aspect of the next three weeks of activity here on Vanua Levu Island. By God’s grace we met with everyone we needed to see A number of us sat down for pizza, and chicken and chips at a small restaurant in Labasa where we arranged the last of our beekeeper’s schedule and for food purchase and preparation for the Dreketi outreach.

One couple who were with us, Chuck and Susan MacKay, are farmers near Labasa. I first met them a number of years ago when I was doing outreaches in the slums of Suva. Chuck is a man of many talents. He designed the women’s and youth center we built in the Namadi slums. Now he helps direct some of the farmer’s groups in his region. Some of these folks are Indian cane farmers who want to diversify their crops away from sugar cane. Some are Fijian villagers who want to learn how to best use their small village plots.

Chuck and his wife operate what I would call an experimental farm, growing a wide variety of crops and fruit trees, trying to determine which would be best to expand into the larger farming community. What grows best in a tropical climate? What is sustainable? What sells? Most of the local farmers have very little land, perhaps a couple of acres. However, if you combine their holdings, the growing area is fairly significant. Chuck keeps bees and encourages others to do the same. We relied upon his contacts to determine where and who Carl will train.

Chuck has begun to develop relationships with the leaders of the Fiji Beekeepers Association headquartered in Suva. I have met a few times with these same folks and know how committed they are to seeing beekeeping thrive around the nation. They have concluded that the best way to promote beekeeping is to train and mentor local trainers from among those who want to keep bees, so these trained individuals can have an ongoing beneficial impact among the various beekeepers in each community. TUtP wants to cooperate with this as we know that unless there are local trained and committed people in each community who will do follow up and be available to answer questions and troubleshoot problems, beekeeping will not succeed in most locations.

Our beekeeper, Carl, will be extremely busy travelling to a number of locations during his time here. Most training groups will be with him for two days of sessions. We have deliberately kept these groups to fewer than 20 individuals so each person can get real hands-on experience actually working in a hive.

One of the individuals with us this afternoon works for the International Training Center. ITC does some funding for development projects, but mostly is committed to entering into a variety of ongoing mentoring and training ventures like beekeeping and farming. They are big on hands-on experience rather than programs that emphasize theory over substance. We assured her that we share the same philosophy. She is helping gather some of their contacts for training.

The Fijian team from Suva arrives by ferry tomorrow around 2 p.m. Carl and Dr. Tom Boone, our dentist, arrive by plane in Nadi around 5:30 a.m. from LAX. Their one-hour flight to Savusavu arrives here around 4 p.m. We will head to the Dreketi area soon after they get here.

On Sunday morning, I’ll preach at the church where we will conduct our medical clinic and evangelism outreach. We’ll then set things up so we can begin medical work early on Monday morning. Carl will head out with Chuck to the first of his training sessions. So the beekeeping component will not be in the same venue as the rest of our activities.

Gotta love the tropics. Just went in to take a shower. A truly huge cane toad was ensconced like a potentate in the middle of the floor. Near the floor on one cement block wall was a small mud crab. Near the ceiling on another of the walls sat an enormous spider about the size of a tarantula.

Your continued prayers are appreciated. Please pray

  • For safe travel for everyone. Some of the roads into the farming areas can be a challenge.
  • For good health for each of us.
  • That those who should participate in the clinics, beekeeping sessions and the youth camp will find their way to the variety of places where we will be.
  • For people to find Christ through the various things we do.

First Fiji Report August 2015

On Tuesday, the 11th, I arrived at the airport For my 11:30 p.m. flight at 7:30. Fiji Airlines opens their counter at 7 p.m. and I like to get there as early as possible to get an aisle seat. There was already a 30-minute line. Fortunately I had my tablet with a book on Islam downloaded to read while I awaited my turn.

I noticed immediately that the plane was scheduled to take off two hours late—at 1:30 a.m. on the 12th instead of 11:30 on the 11th. One of the pilots had taken ill and they had to substitute another person who required a certain amount of time between flights, accounting for the delay. This is not a problem in that the result was we would arrive in Nadi at 7:30 a.m. instead of 5:30 a.m.

The flight was the best kind: one without event. I did not sleep, or even doze during the 10 ½ hour trip. Pretty much normal for me. Read more of the book on Islam, listened to some music, watched two very non-descript movies in which Maggie Smith had lead roles, and stood at the rear of the plane and stretched to pass the time.

At the airport, I had to figure out what to do with my 50 lb. trunk and the larger of my carry-ons while I took a cab from the airport into downtown Nadi to exchange currency and eat breakfast. The airport is under extensive construction and much of it is inaccessible. After being directed to the wrong place a couple of times, I finally located a check-in room where things would be safe.

My afternoon flight to Savusavu on Vanua Levu, the 2nd largest of the Fiji islands, took about an hour. It left on time and was completely full owing to the fact that everyone from LAX intending to go on the morning flight had missed their connection. When I landed, Aisake, friend and GIFT general secretary picked me up at the airstrip. We’ve already had a quick lunch and I’ve repacked my bags getting ready for the first two weeks of outreach and camp, as well as sorting out the items that will need to go to Suva with me during the 3rd week I’m here.

Tomorrow morning we drive across the island to Lambasa to meet with the doctors and with the farmer who will assist with taking our beekeeper trainer to the various places where he will be doing his training. I’m tired, but happy with the way things have started off.

Oh, by the way, I asked some of you to be praying for rain, as a drought had left the water tanks at the camp site empty. It rained heavily yesterday, filling all the tanks to the brim. Is God good, or what!