Final Fiji Report Sept 2015

This is the final report regarding the latest Fiji Outreach trip from August 11-Sept 14, 2015. I have been home for a week recovering from the trip and catching up on the mound of things that piled up at home and in my office while I was gone.

This was a very difficult trip in many ways, as I was seriously ill during much of my time there. I got pneumonia at the beginning of my first full week in-country during our medical outreach, and I totally lost my voice for two weeks. Our beekeeping trainer and my assistant, Aisake Emmanuel also came down with the flu or cold that was going around. Nonetheless, God did great things:

During the Dreketi Outreach we treated a total of 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.

Our team in Dreketi is now following up on those who received Christ to begin the process of discipleship.

During our youth camp in Savusavu, six campers gave their lives to Jesus during the first evening. After a week of evangelism training on the last full day of camp our newly trained campers led nine individuals to the Lord during their practicum at a local hospital. This was the first time these kids had ever done any witnessing. What an encouragement to them to see the Lord honor their efforts.

As a result of what happened at the camp, our team has been invited to be the speakers at a massive youth camp in May of 2016 on Vanua Levu Island. This is a camp that is held every two years by several congregations throughout the island. They anticipate over 200 youth attending from the four major islands of Fiji and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. What a marvelous opportunity the Lord opened up.

During our two weeks of beekeeping training near Labasa, our team taught eight two-day training sessions that reached about 230 existing beekeepers. We worked together with the government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, the Commissioner’s office and the Northern Development Program. We also worked with ITC, an AID agency. We visited Fijian villages, Indian settlements and urban areas. Throughout the sessions we were able to explain that we do what we do for the sake of Jesus Christ and hold devotions prior to each training period.

Providing this training has positioned us very well for future work within these locations. From among those we trained, we hope to identify at least 20-25 mentors for more intensive training so that they will be able to continue to help advance the skills of those we helped during this year’s activities.

During our final week we assessed the beekeeping project in Lomawai and made a decision to move all our assets to Labasa on Vanua Levu to advance our activities in that location under the direction of Chuck McCay and Aisake Emmanuel, our coworkers in Fiji who helped facilitate all of our efforts this year. These two will be continuing to coordinate our work on an ongoing basis over the next few years. We were able to move all of our bees, but could not complete the relocation of all our equipment. I just learned via email yesterday evening that arrangements to move the remaining items to the new location are going forward with the help of John Samisoni, another friend and coworker in Fiji.

I am currently completing one last course of antibiotics and steroids my doctor prescribed last Thursday. Chest x-rays showed my lungs are clear, but I still had inflammation that needed to be dealt with.

God accomplished so very much during this trip. This despite my illness. You were a part of everything He did through your prayers. I cannot thank you enough for standing beside us through these efforts and accomplishments.


Lovo in Nadi on Sunday

Saturday the team drove to Nakorokula Village to the farm of Josefa Gavidi where we inspected his 10 hives and extracted honey.  Josefa and his wife were delighted to see us.  They’ve had their hives for a little over a year and had not yet extracted any honey.  The hives were nuclear hives, which meant they were purchased with only about 10-15 thousand bees and 5 hives of brood in a single box.  It takes at least 6 months for the hives to build up enough strength to begin to produce honey.  Then, under good circumstances, it takes about 6 months from that time for enough honey to be stored to warrant extraction.

We were only able to take 8 frames of honey from two of the ten hives, but we did extract about 12 kilos of really good tasting, light honey.  This means the location is good for foraging and that as the other hives gain strength, Josefa should be able to look forward to great production of high quality honey.  He’s fortunate to not have a lot of cane sugar growing near his farm and to have several acres of mangrove, coconuts, guavas and mango trees.

Sunday we attended church in the morning.  It was Father’s Day in Fiji, so the service revolved around the role and responsibilities of dads.  Great service.

When we got back to George and Annie’s house, Aisake and George produced a lovo—think luau.  Chicken, fish and several root crops and other food packets are baked on hot rocks buried under banana leaves.  The process of getting the rocks hot takes longer than the time it takes for the food to cook.  The results are spectacularly great food.  We had a feast.

I went with George and Annie back to the church in the afternoon to conduct an hour Bible study.  We had a great time with about 20 adults present.  I taught on the Lord’s Prayer.  I mean my organization is Teach Us to Pray International.  We had a great time.

Tomorrow morning Aisake leaves for Savusavu.  Carl and I need to be at the airport by 6:00 p.m. to check in for our 925 p.m. flight to LAX.

This has been a very effective and profitable trip for the Kingdom of God.  Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement over this past month.  It has not been an easy trip, but nonetheless, God did great things and you were part of it all.


Friday in Nadi

The beekeeping team, Aisake and Carl, returned by overnight ferry from Vanua Levu early this morning. They had about a 4 hour drive from the landing to where .

we are staying in Nadi. They arrived at the house about 10 a.m. Both were tired, so Carl took a 2 hour nap before he and I headed out for lunch and a 10 minute bus ride into Nadi town to do a bit of shopping. Carl had not been able to do any shopping due to our extremely full schedule.

After we got back from shopping around 4:30 p.m. Carl disappeared upstairs again. When I went to call him for our evening meal, he was once again sound asleep. We left him in bed. He will most likely sleep through the night.

Tomorrow we have to pick up a few more things from the Lomawai school as we head to the farm where we will inspect and extract honey from 10 beehives. This is the farm where we are temporarily storing the items we were unable to transport to Vanua Levu.

For all of us, our health is steadily improving. I still have 2 days of antibiotics.

Thanks for your interest and prayers. Keep praying that we finish well. Our return to the States in on Monday, Sept 14.


Nadi on Thursday Evening

Our team has delivered the bees to Vanua Levu. The van was met by Chuck’s truck and the bees were transferred and transported this afternoon the rest of the way to Lambasa to Chuck’s farm. Chuck called to say he set them up and the bees are already sending out scouts. Very good sign.

Chuck and I have been talking about how the bees and the equipment will be used to advance the Kingdom of God on Vanua Levu Island. We have some solid plans that we will flesh out over the next several weeks. This is exciting as the possibilities are quite good. The area where we are staging this is largely populated by Indians, many of whom are Muslim. What an opportunity

The team is on the ferry from Savusavu to Viti Levu and should arrive in Nadi around noon tomorrow. We have a full day of beekeeping business on Saturday. We will be extracting honey from the hives belonging to one of the farmers we have been working with. There should be a number of beekeepers involved in the process and learning how to do this task in the right way. On Sunday afternoon we plan to retrieve a wild bee hive that is in a teacher’s home in a nearby school. Again, there should be several beekeepers involved and being trained. If we can get the queen and most of the brood and other bees and put them int a beebox, it is the same as earning $375F, the cost of a new hive. Also swarms tend to be among the most healthy and productive bees.

I am beginning to feel more like myself again. Still have 3 days of antibiotics to take for the UTI, but the pain is gone and the nausea I’ve been experiencing from the antibiotics went away today.

Thanks for your continued prayers as we wrap up this trip.


Space for Prayer

While the beekeeping team took our hives over to Savusavu, I remained behind in Nadi since there was no room for me in the van transporting the team and the beeboxes. In Suva I would be meeting with various ministry partners. In Nadi we currently do not have many contacts, so I spent the day at my favorite retreat spot, praying and reading Scripture.

Then off to my “office” for some work.

Tuesday in Lomawai

Today, Tuesday, we completed the inspection of the hives at the Lomawai Center. Based on the condition of the hives, we decided to move all the assets from Lomawai to our Vanua Levu beekeeping project. We have people in Vanua Levu who are able to rehabilitate the hives and advance our project goals more effectively than Lomawai is able to do at present. The Lomawai Center has never been able to get the government to allow them to include beekeeping in their curriculum. There were also jurisdictional disputes between certain stakeholders that could not be satisfactorily resolved.

At 2:30 a.m. Weds. a.m. our team will leave from the place in Nadi where we are staying in order to get to the bee boxes 2 hours before sunrise to enable the team to prepare the prepped hives for transport in the van we are using They will then drive back to Suva and catch the ferry that will get them to Savusavu early in the morning. They will have about 5 hours to get the bees situated before they reboard the ferry to return to Suva and drive back to Nadi.

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Pray all goes well. This is a rigorous schedule and things really need to go pretty nearly perfect for us to succeed in successfully moving the hives.

My health continues to improve. Thanks for your prayers in that regard. Still have to guard my voice a bit, but can speak fairly normally. Still taking antibiotics for the UTI for at least another 5 days.

Thanks and Blessings!

If this is Monday, We Must be in Lomawai

This morning Aisake and Carl arrived in Suva by the overnight ferry from Savusavu. Carl says he loved the trip as he really enjoys boats. Unfortunately he apparently has the same cold or flu that I had and so is not feeling well.

Nonetheless, after breakfast in Suva we drove down to Lomawai, arriving around 1 p.m. Since we had eaten a fairly late breakfast, Carl and Aisake immediately put on their beesuits and got into the hives at the center. They completed the inspection of 10 out of 15 double hives.

Tomorrow morning we will drive to Emuri Village to inspect the hives there. Then we will return to Lomawai to inspect the last 5 hives and do a bit of training for any of the local beekeepers who want to observe the inspection. They can learn a lot by watching and asking questions. Then I will meet with the school principal and other local leaders to discuss the future of the project based on our observations of the hives.

No matter what we decide (leave the hives where they are or move them) we will do training for local beekeepers on Thursday when we extract honey from 10 hives on a local farm. Again, a great learning opportunity.

Appreciate your prayers for wisdom in this important decision. Also continue to pray that my health returns to normal. I still have an occasional cough, but not like before. My voice is mostly back, but still a bit weak. My UTI seems to be clearing with the Bactrim. PTL. However, I do notice that I am still more tired than normal.

Thanks and Blessings!

Sunday in Suva

Meeting with GIFT doctors--Dr. Joe and Dr. Eric. Dr. Joe is Permanent Secretary for Social Services in Fiji, and Dr. Eric is Dep. Secretary for Health for the nation. Both are committed Christians and both are good friends of Teach Us to Pray.
Meeting with GIFT doctors–Dr. Joe and Dr. Eric. Dr. Joe is Permanent Secretary for Social Services in Fiji, and Dr. Eric is Dep. Secretary for Health for the nation. Both are committed Christians and both are good friends of Teach Us to Pray.
I’ve now spent three full days in Suva meeting with various ministry partners and doing some shopping for items I can only get here. I’ve met with everyone I needed to meet except for one friend involved in prison ministry. We’ve been in contact by email, but seems his schedule might not allow a face-to-face during this trip.

The computers and Biblical software I brought for our GIFT doctors are now at their center and are operational, except for one computer I left here last February. An IT person will help get the software downloaded and installed since the wireless connection we had access to was not fast enough to do the job. The files are massive. Once installed, updates are fairly quick. The doctors were so very thankful for the equipment and programs. They now have access to over $4,000 worth of commentaries, Bibles and other resource materials. What a blessing as they plan and manage their medical outreaches over the months and years to come.

In a few minutes I’m off to church and lunch. Very early tomorrow morning the ferry from Savusavu will bring Aisake and Carl to Suva and we will catch a bus down to Sigatoka where the next phase of our adventure continues. We will be checking into the beekeeping project in Lomawai and either doing more training there or we will be moving the assets to Labasa where they can be better utilized. This will be a very delicate and complex process. Appreciate your prayers that all goes well.

On the health front, my respiratory problems are almost all cleared up. Since I have not heard anything from the throat swab and other tests, I was told there was no finding of anything requiring further treatment. However, I am now dealing with a kidney stone and UTI, taking Bactrim as of yesterday.

Please keep praying for complete health for our team during our remaining time in Fiji. We leave on Monday, Sept 14 and have to have everything ship shape before we go.

Day 1 in Suva

Got up at 5:30 this morning. Had breakfast and headed to the Labasa airport for my 8:45 flight to Suva. The flight only took 35 minutes, which is shorter than the cab ride from the Nausari airport where we land, to my hotel in Suva.

Got checked into the hotel by 10:35. Plenty of time to unpack, take a nice shower and dress for my lunch meeting with the GIFT doctors. Only the lunch was postponed to tomorrow because of government budget meetings. Both of the doctors I am meeting are in important official positions. One is Permanent Secretary of Health and the other is Deputy Secretary for Social Services. Have already had apologies from both with a reschedule for tomorrow at 1 p.m. This was not a problem for me as I also had some shopping which I can only do in Suva. So I did that today instead of tomorrow.

I plan to see another doctor while I’m in Suva for a check to see that things are progressing as they should be. I still cannot speak. Kind of hard to use the phone. I do feel much better than when I had pneumonia. Still have bronchitis and stress induced asthma. Want to be rid of both. The cough from the bronchitis seems to be what is keeping me from being able to speak.

Appreciate your prayers.