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!

Ken

Fiji 2017 Day 2

This is my second day in Fiji. I’m still having difficulty with the internet but am temporarily on a very slow connection modem I bought today does not seem to work. Since it is Saturday night here I’ll have to wait until Monday to try to rectify the problem before the outreach starts and I’m in a rural area with no way to get onto the internet to send updates. Pray all works out.

Drove 2 hours from Savusavu to Labasa to buy supplies for the outreach and meet with some of the key participants in the program. Quite a hot, muggy day with rain during the 2 hour drive back. But we accomplished what was needed. All our supplies should be in place when we begin the medical and beekeeping programs on Tuesday morning.

I was also finally able to reach Joyce on the phone after repeated attempts over 2 days. Great to hear her voice. She’s also on the road visiting friends.o

So appreciate your prayers.

Blessings!

Fiji 2017: Landing!

End of 1st very long day in Fiji. 10 hr. 45 min. plane trip. Uneventful but virtually no sleep. Lots of preparatory shopping today in Savusavu town helped keep me awake so I should sleep quite well tonight. No access directly to the internet yet due to modem issues I plan to resolve tomorrow. In the morning will drive to Labasa town near where the outreach will happen. Already checked in with our dentist who arrives in Labasa tomorrow a.m. Am hit & peck 1 finger typing this on a very small phone screen. Appreciate your prayers. Greatest blessing.

Summary Report Fiji 2016 Relief Operation

I was in Fiji for the last two weeks in June doing relief work among some of the victims of Typhoon Winston,
the strongest storm ever to hit land in the South Pacific. Winston had sustained winds of 186 mph with gusts up
to 230 mph. It was 200 miles across. Tidal surges reached up to 60’ with minimum surges of 10’. Almost all
inhabited islands of the nation were affected in some way, especially the three largest islands—Viti Levu,
Vanua Levu and Taveuni.

Folks on most islands lost virtually all of their staple food crops and many of their small livestock. All root crops were destroyed in most areas hit by the storm. Root crops take from 9 months to a year to grow to edible size. The problem is there are very few cuttings for farmers to plant. I was able to buy seed for a church men’s group. They will plant them in their 100 acre plot to grow food for consumption and sale. If all
goes well, they can begin harvest in about 3 months. Fruit trees like papayas, mangoes, bananas, guavas, noni and
coconuts were destroyed or severely damaged. There are tens of thousands of coconut trees that have no nuts. This affects the production of copra, coconut oil and milk, and the sale of raw coconuts, causing great financial loss to thousands of families. Many trees will never produce again. It will take from one to two years to see how many come back into production.

I saw no tropical fruits of any kind in any home, market or road side stall during my entire time on the three
islands I visited. The main farmers market in the capitol city of Suva which normally has hundreds of people
selling various items, had no tropical fruits of any kind on display. Incomes are significantly reduced by this
shortage and dietary needs are not met.

I focused our resources helping members of 5 small isolated rural churches on Vanua Levu and Taveuni Islands
that had been overlooked by prior aid efforts. We were able to provide significant food relief to 37 families,
consisting of about 475 individuals. I provided 63 water purification filter systems to these families so they can
have clean drinking water. In some areas typhoid has become a problem. Dirty water kills more infants and
children around the world than any other factor, including malaria.

TUtP also assisted fishermen on the small island of Kiou just off Vanua Levu. Provision of fishing gear helps the
400 people who live there. Fishing is their main source of food and funds, though they do some farming as
well.

Kiou Island has a severe potable water shortage. Their main spring, source of all water for the village has dried
up. They open their water taps for ½ hour every morning. That’s all the supply of fresh water available for all
needs during the remainder of the day.

There is a spring on the opposite side of the island away from the village that has an abundant, constant supply
of fresh water. I am now trying to raise money to provide pipes that can connect that spring to the main village
distribution tank. The villagers will soon provide me details regarding the distance from the spring to the tank
so we know how much pipe to purchase. We also must know the height of the hill the water must traverse so
we know what kind of pump we need to buy. Villagers can do all the work required to set up the system. Once
the pipe is in place and the water begins to flow, gravity will siphon water continuously, so the pump only
needs to be available to fill the pipes again should they ever break.

Thanks to all of you who provided the funds necessary for this project. Thanks for all of you who prayed that
we would be able to reach these folks with this help. They thank you for what you have done for them.

Day 15 Weds. June 29, 2016 Fiji Relief

This morning involved a bit of last minute shopping. I bought a large fishing net and a spear gun to help one of our fishermen feed his family and possibly make a bit of money selling the fish he catches. This involved some comparison shopping since prices on such items vary quite a bit from shop to shop. I had already looked at spear guns on Vanua Levu Island. Prices there were outrageous. I felt I could do much better on the main island of Viti Levu. That turned out to be the case.

Many shop keepers don’t post their prices, but determine what they think they can sell an item for depending upon how much they feel their customer can pay. I must say my years of bargaining all over the world is a big help in negotiations.

I had hoped to meet Vuniani Nakauyaca sometime during my trip. Vuni is the founder of the Healing of the Land team I have written so much about in the past. I’ve known him since 2003 when I first came to Fiji. He’s an incredible man of prayer. I’d tried to call him Sunday when I got to Suva but couldn’t reach him. Finally I got a return call from him this afternoon and arranged to stop by the H of L Center located on the way to the airport. We had about 45 minutes to catch up with what God has been doing in our ministries before checking in for my flight.

It turned out to be a good thing that I arrived early at the Nausori Airport. I was told when I bought my ticket that I could check in for my international flight at that airport and go directly through customs when I arrived in Nadi. Not true. I had to collect my bags, wait in line and then clear customs. My original flight schedule would not have allowed enough time for my connection. Fortunately there was an earlier flight leaving within a few minutes of when I got to the counter in Nausori. By taking that flight, I had more than enough time for everything including sending this last report before I board my flight to LAX.

Thanks again for all of your prayers. You are an essential part of everything the Lord accomplished during this trip.

Blessings!

Day 14, Tuesday, June 28 Fiji Relief

This morning Aisake and I went into town and purchased the seeds the church men’s group need to begin planting their 100 acre farm plot in Savusavu. We also bought the screen and other materials needed to build a greenhouse. I am awaiting a call tomorrow morning from Chuck, the manager of our beekeeping project, to see how we can best leverage that program to position us to be able as quickly as possible to increase aid those who can benefit from help in that area.

Since we already have the quotes for necessary fencing to keep animals away from crops and trees, it will be possible to wrap up TUtP relief efforts before I leave for home tomorrow night.

I had lunch with John Samisoni, the Christian businessman who has been a close friend and partner with us in all our outreaches since 2003. It was good to touch bases and catch up in a number of areas. John will continue to play an important role together with us as we go into the future.

I Skyped my wife, Judy both in the morning and just before she went to bed. She’s been able to eat a limited amount of solid food today, which is encouraging. We both appreciate your prayers for her.

Thanks and Blessings!