Women waiting for clinic

Fiji 2017 Day 6–Medical Outreach Continues

The test for people who cannot read is threading a needle.
The test for people who cannot read is threading a needle.
We’ve completed our second day of medical outreach. There has been a delay in getting a count on what we’ve accomplished as the paperwork got a bit messed up among the volunteers who are keeping track. By tomorrow everything should be worked out. I know we’ve served over 130 individuals. We’ve provided dental help to over 33 patients and have given out over 60 pairs of glasses. We’ve also had at least 22 people accept Christ as their Savior.

I would call that a very good couple of days work in the Kingdom. God is so very good.

My health today has been excellent. The brief episode yesterday with a visual migraine was dealt with through prayer. For those of you who don’t know, a visual migraine does not cause pain. It does produce a bit of fatigue. What it mainly does is create visual distortion. Yesterday’s episode I think was provoked by being slightly dehydrated and hot and in fairly bright sun without using my sunglasses. Appreciate all your prayers and expressed concern.

Tomorrow we start our beekeeping training. We moved another hive to the site this morning after we learned we would have 41 participants. The extra hive will allow more hands on experience for our trainees. By the end of the day we had 60 signed up. So we will also take an extra trainer with us.

We are working with the women’t group in the village, as I mentioned, because we have found that the women are highly motivated and very likely to succeed long-term.

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Fiji 2017 Day 5–Medical Outreach

This is the first day of our medical outreach in a rather remote Fijian village. While I don’t yet have all of the numbers, I am confident we provided care to at least 80 individuals, many of whom were Indian Hindus. We are showing them the love of Jesus in a very practical way, as we have been doing all around this lovely nation since 2004.

We wound up temporarily with 3 dentists on site. The ministry of health unexpectedly sent one of their dentists, a man who had been a student of our dentist, Dr. Reggie Jr. He had already done a few extractions by the time our team assembled. Jr. was much better equipped to carry on, so the other man assisted him for the remainder of the day. Jr. brought another dentist, a friend of his from Labasa town along as well. Both of them were steadily engaged in pulling teeth throughout the day.

At the end of the day I went in to see how they were doing and to let them know it was time to quit. Turns out Jr. had been working for a long time on a very difficult extraction of a rear molar. The tooth broke and he could not get the roots no matter what he tried. There is no x-ray, no way to do any of the things that would be routine in office in the city. As in past situations like this, I laid my hand on his shoulder and began to pray out loud that he would get the roots out successfully. Within a few seconds, one entire root came out. The other dentist took over and I prayed for him. A few minutes later the last root came out intact. God is good. Our dentist from past trips, Dr. Larry Rizzo will recognize this story.

I called Joyce and spoke with her briefly. Within seconds of hanging up, I began to experience an aural migraine. I’ve had these a couple of times some years back. This wasn’t as bad as the previous ones, but I immediately called Joyce back so she could pray with me. Within minutes the visual distortions stopped, though I was left a bit tired. Thank the Lord for swiftly answered prayers. So appreciate all of you who are praying

We will begin again tomorrow at 9 a.m. and anticipate another very good day serving as His hands extended. The team from Downey CA is doing a fantastic job helping with a variety of tasks, including giving out reading glasses.

Fiji 2017 Day 4

Today, Monday is my 4th day in Fiji as we prepare for our TUtP 2017 medical outreach and bee keeping training.
The day began at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast as Aisake, Pastor Joshua and I got ready to travel back to Labasa to meet up with various team members traveling from a number of locations. The two hour drive was uneventful, though through quite beautiful countryside. We drive over the spine of the mountain that divides the island, so we have quite the view.

Once in Labasa I first had to resolve the issue of the non-working modems so I could be sure to have access to the internet over these next few days. That was accomplished fairly easily and I now have two modems, each from a different phone company, working on my computer. I’m able to use the one with the best connection depending upon where I can get the best signal.

we will have two counselors to talk with those who come through our program. Pastor Joshua is one of the counselors. The second arrived fairly quickly after we got into town. We ate lunch and drove out to the site where our 10-member team from Downey CA will be bunking. The site is a nice 2-story building on the edge of town. Lovely view. Great breezes.

The pastor of the church that operates this guest facility was waiting for the team to arrive. However unknown to us, the team had decided at the last minute to drive from the ferry into Savusavu where we had driven from, to leave some items at an orphanage before coming to Labasa. We didn’t find this out until the pastor called us at 7 p.m. asking if he could go home for his evening meal as the team had not yet arrived. We were a bit embarrassed that the team hadn’t called anyone to let us know of their change of plans. This meant that the host from the village where the outreach will be held had to make his way back into town in order to get the team settled in and provide them with directions to the village. Hopefully everything has been sorted out.

In the meantime, I met up again with Chuck, our bee keeper trainer and drove back to his farm where I’ll be sleeping throughout the outreach. I really appreciate Chuck and Sue. He is tending the TUtP beehives as well as conducting all our training. We should not have to bring anyone from the States anymore unless they want to come. It’s always helpful, though.

I trust all the pieces will come together in the morning and we will have an incredible opportunity to serve the people of this area and share the love of Jesus with them in very practical ways over these next three days.
As always, we so appreciate your prayers.

Fiji 2017: Day 3

This is Sunday, my third day in Fiji and a day of rest.

I taught this morning comparing the stories of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair and the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus asking Him to deliver her daughter from a demon. Two diverse women in two very different locations and situations, both encountering the Lord of Life and presenting specific needs which He met. Interesting reflection on their similarities and differences and how Jesus showed love to both. Had a good discussion afterwards with some of those who heard the homily.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I had quite bout of acid indigestion. Haven’t had that problem for some time. Sudden extreme variant in diet, I’m sure contributed to the problem. Good old baking soda helped considerably once I was able to get some and take a couple of teaspoons in water. Still it was some time before I was able to sleep. Have tried to doze a bit this afternoon, but I don’t do well sleeping during the day. I should sleep very well tonight.

It is a gray rainy day. It poured on and off all night long with quite a strong wind. I’m staying within a stone’s throw of the ocean. I’d hoped to walk on the beach today but the on again off again rains don’t allow it. It has been fun hearing the rain beat down on the tin roof of the house. Those who have had the blessing of living in houses such as this can appreciate the pleasures of the unique sound this produces. Very evocative of past places where I’ve lived. Brings up many nice memories. The sound of the surf is also very calming and pleasant.
We leave in the morning to drive back over to Labasa. We’ll meet the other 10 members of the team from the States. They arrive by ferry from the main island tomorrow. We’ll all go out to the village and begin our setup for the medical outreach. Our bees have been in the village since last Thursday. It takes a few days for them to settle down enough to be worked during the training.

I was not able to get the modem I bought yesterday to work. Appears it is defective. Will have to return it and get another one that hopefully will work. Otherwise I’ll be cut off from communication while in the village. Hopefully at night I’ll have access from the farm where I’m staying each night.

It has been interesting spending time with Aisake and his family. TUtP invested a lot in his compound to enable him to raise chickens and plant various crops. Things are going well. His bees have thrived and he’s been able to split our hives. We’ll see at the end of the week what kind of honey flow he has when our bee keeping trainer visits.

We’ll be targeting the women’s group in our bee keeping training. We have found over the years that working with the women produces more lasting results than working with the men.
So appreciate your prayers that all will go well during this outreach.

Thanks and Blessings!


The Last Two Days of VBS & Illness

VBS Day 4I wanted to get out the final report on the last two days of VBS today. I spent 8 hours preparing the multimedia presentation Abraham and Rachel need for their wrap up tomorrow afternoon and for their church. For the last hour of that time I was getting sicker and sicker. My stomach was mildly upset at first, but progressed to full-on food poisoning. Haven’t been this sick in quite some time. Let’s just say I’ve been keeping both outputs very busy over the last hour or so. I’m beginning to feel somewhat stable after most everything I’ve eaten over the past couple of days has made dramatic exit from my body.

Would very much appreciate your prayers as I need to be well enough to travel on Tuesday. I do have antibiotics which my doctor prescribed for just such a possibility. I hope I can begin to take them in the morning. No use trying while I couldn’t keep them down.

Would like very much to be able to get some sleep tonight.

Thanks and Blessings!