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!

Last Feb/Mar 2015 Fiji Report

Friday, Saturday and Sunday went by very quickly at the end of my Fiji ministry planning trip. On Friday I went with Ratu Osea to look at a possible site for our August Youth Leadership Camp. Unfortunately the site does not have adequate facilities for cooking. In addition the person who helped coordinate our camp last year is not going to be available this year because of family responsibilities.

As a result, we will move the camp to Vanua Levu Island and Aisake Emmanuel, GIFT general secretary, will do the preliminary coordination and planning with local churches. This will actually work out better because Aisake and his wife are taking over responsibility for TUtP involvement with Community Bible Study International activities in Fiji. The Pacific coordinator for CBSI and his wife will be training students at our August camp, so having the camp in the Savusavu area where Aisake lives seems logical. In addition our August outreach will be on Vanua Levu. Keeping everything on one island makes logistics much more manageable.

Saturday Ratu Osea and I worked out the details of the new memorandum of understanding for our beekeeping projects in the Lomawai area. The beekeeper who will supervise the project came down from Lomawai to Nadi to meet with us. He was able to examine all of the beehives and give us a full report on their condition and on what we need to do to move the project forward. The hives are in remarkably good condition. The beekeeper will immediately extract honey from them and then split the hives that are ready for splitting. Only 18 bee boxes need to be replaced due to deterioration. We already have 6 new boxes on hand that were built for the project. We have sufficient timber to build the remaining 12 boxes. Eight need to be requeened. Our beekeeper is trained to do that and will begin that process after he extracts honey.

Sunday morning I went to church, had lunch, checked out of the hotel and went to the airport for my return flight to LAX. The Nadi airport is undergoing extensive remodeling. Is there any airport in the world where that is not happening? As a result, most of the lounge area was not air conditioned. I found the coolest spot I could and sat and read until my flight was called.

There was much more turbulence during this 9 ½ hour flight than I’ve ever experienced. Even the flight attendants commented on how unusually bumpy things were. A massive hurricane was due to hit the main Fiji islands on Monday or Tuesday. I’ve not heard what happened yet, but that may have accounted for some of what we experienced during our flight out of the area.

I believe I accomplished all my goals during this trip. It was interesting to see how the Lord orchestrated the many contacts I needed to make. Face-to-face meetings are essential to the Fijian culture and to our ministry. It was great to renew relationships with ministry partners I’ve worked with over these past 12 years.

Jetlag is. I didn’t sleep well the first night home, for whatever reason. Last night was much better. Appreciate your prayers as I settle back into responsibilities here at home.

Thanks and Blessings!

Fiji Report March 4, 2015

Today, Thursday, I took a cab back to Lomawai Secondary School to meet with the parties who entered into the original memorandum of understanding with TUtP regarding our beekeeping project. Ratu Osea joined us from Suva. When I conducted the youth leadership camp at Lomawai last August, one of the teachers indicated to me that the school wished to withdraw from our agreement for various reasons. Turns out that person was not authorized to speak for the school. There is a new agriculture teacher who has extensive training and experience in beekeeping and she definitely wants to move the project forward.

As a result of our conversation today, TUtP will draft a new memorandum of understanding to include the PTA, which has a number of beekeepers, as part of our agreement. These beekeepers will supervise the project for the school. There are still details to work out over the next two days, but we have a basic understanding of how we will move forward.

Tomorrow, the vice-president of the PTA, a trained beekeeper, will get into all the hives at the school and do an assessment of their condition to determine which boxes need to be replaced and/or re-queened. Once t this assessment is completed he will come to Nadi town to meet with me, We will determine how to refurbish the boxes and start the process of growing the number of hives to a base of 50 double hives. We also need to get the table saw motor and two sewing machines repaired for bee box building and bee suit sewing. There is some money from the sale of honey to help with this.

This was a good meeting that could have been quite difficult. I believe we have cleared up a number of important issues and can make this work for the benefit of the community we are trying to serve. Ultimately we hope to establish an entire bee industry in this area that will employ graduates of the program, many of whom are part of the Christian community that surrounds the school.

I still need to meet with my camp team to determine where we will hold our camp next August after our outreach. If that does not happen tomorrow or Saturday, I will have to implement alternate plans with other trusted ministry partners.

Thanks so much for your prayers.

Blessings!

8th Fiji Report March 3, 2015

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!

A Tale of Two SIM Cards, A Coincidental Meeting, & The Grey Ghost

Today I was able to meet with Vuniani Nakauyaca, prayer warrior and founder of the Healing of the Land Teams in Fiji.  I have known Vuni since 2003, have taught at his center and travelled with his team.

First the tale:

When I arrived in Fiji I was told I would have to get a new SIM card for my Fiji phone since VodaPhone, my service provider, was upgrading their system.  Late yesterday afternoon I finally had time to stand in the very long line at the VodaPhone center to make the exchange.  I immediately returned to my hotel, took a quick shower (have I mentioned how hot and muggy it is here this time of year) and headed back into town for an early dinner.  When I got back to the hotel, I made my report to my prayer partners, turned off my computer and phone and went to bed around 11 p.m.

This morning when I turned my phone back on I immediately started to get phone calls from people I did not know and who did not know me.  Then I noticed that I only had a few pennies left in my prepaid account.  I had had close to $100F available before swapping out my SIM card.  After breakfast I headed up town to the VodaPhone center to see what was going on.  Two lines this time, both thankfully rather short.  I explained my situation and the agent at the counter took my phone, poked around for a few seconds and said, “Mike, what’s wrong?”  Could that be a clue?

Seems the agent the day before had switched SIM cards and inserted someone else’s into my phone.  Wrong SIM card removed, right card inserted, contact information and prepaid amount retrieved, I walked out with a much more useful instrument.

I attempted to call Vuni, but got no reply.  Then almost immediately I got a call from Ratu Osea who had been trying to reach me all morning.  Turns out after we parted yesterday, he was at a gas station when who should pull in but Vuni (the coincidence).  They hadn’t seen each other since two years before when I had gotten them together at Vuni’s house.  Vuni had since moved and he had changed phone numbers.  Ratu told Vuni I needed to see him.  Vuni took my number and had been trying to call me all morning as well, with no result until I had my phone fixed.

A 40 minute cab ride later, I was sitting down and talking with “the Grey Ghost” as his friends call him.  He is always traveling, never at home or available, hence the doubts of his existence in this earthly plain and his nickname.  We had a great time catching up.  He had just overseen a very significant identificational repentance event and had only just returned home the day before when he spotted Ratu and stopped to talk.

I told Vuni about our beekeeping projects and the need to locate another center for this aspect of our work.  The HTL team has a model farm not too far from Suva that might serve this need.  My meeting on Monday at the Lomawai Center will determine what assets we might wish to move.  The government agricultural department had done beekeeping training for Vuni’s team some months ago with the promise of supplying several beehives to them “in the near future”.  That near future has never happened, nor is it likely to.

We then talked about the TUtP outreach scheduled for August in Dreketi Settlement on Vanua Levu Island.  Turns out that in 2010, Vuni’s HTL team led a healing of the land process in three of the seven villages that comprise this settlement.  There are two HTL pastors in Labasa who know the area quite well and should be able to serve as counselors and do follow-up for our project.  Is God good, or what?

Another 30 minute cab ride brought me to the TUtP Women’s and Youth Center in the Namadi settlement where I met with Pastor Paula Sotia, who directs this project.  About 60 women are registered with the center and served by our ministry.  Funding is a major issue.  On the way to the center, I was again on the phone with Dr. Joe Koriovuata, Permanent Secretary for Social Services, helping him resolve an issue with the computer I’d given him yesterday for GIFT (the Fijian Christian doctor’s group we work with in Fiji).  After discussing the financial situation with Pastor Paula, I called Dr. Joe and he and Paula talked.  They will meet in Dr Joe’s office at 8:30 a.m. to talk about project proposals and funding

Another cab ride back to my hotel, another shower, a quick evening meal in my room, and the end of a very rewarding day.  Thanks again for all of your prayers.

Blessings!

Fiji February 27, 2015

Elizabeth Clayton and Ratu Osea meetingMy main meeting today was with Ratu Osea and Elizabeth Clayton.  I’ve known Elizabeth from my first years in Fiji.  Her main ministry involves rescuing street children, providing them with a safe home and an education and hopefully helping their families come to a place where they can truly care for them in their own homes again.  Today she is overseeing the well-being of around fifty kids.

She is also the legal guardian of Sujit Kumar, previously known worldwide as the Chicken Boy of Fiji.  Sujit is one of a handful of so-called feral children—individuals who were raised by animals, almost devoid of human contact.  Almost from birth, Sujit was kept in a chicken coop under his parent’s home.  Eventually he was “rescued” by the Fijian police and chained to a wall in an insane asylum.  For many years he was kept in the most filthy, inhumane conditions imaginable.  His caretakers would throw food to him, always keeping their distance.  Occasionally they would hose him down as his only means of sanitation.

Elizabeth has a degree in behavioral science.  When she learned about how Sujit was being treated she got permission to take him into her home.  She began to work with him one-on-one to try to bring him to his full potential given all of the mistreatment he had suffered since he was born.  She took him to specialists in many countries who had an interest in the development of the human brain.  Her concern has always been to determine Sujit’s potential and to do everything possible to help him lead the fullest possible life.  She formed the Sujit foundation, pouring much of her own money into funding Sujit’s many needs.

Around three years ago she and I talked about what would happen to Sujit when she died.  The foundation would presumably have enough funds to provide for his care, but who would care for him and where could he live/  His scope of life and his potential is still much curtailed due to physical issues that will never be completely resolved.  For instance he cannot learn to speak since the segments of his brain that control speech are severely underdeveloped.  His social skills have vastly improved under Elizabeth’s care, but he still requires intense individual supervision every waking hour.

I suggested it might be best to set him up in a Fijian village.  The foundation could cover the costs for his care, provide adequate housing, etc.  Being in a village would give him much more freedom than living in a city.  There would be more opportunity for growth as he interacted with a rural environment.  Rural Fijian people are generally very considerate and are kind to those who are developmentally challenged.  Elizabeth liked the idea but did not take it any further than the discussion phase.

Today I finally got her together with Ratu Osea, the paramount chief I’ve mentioned previously.  Ratu will be moving from Suva back to his home village of Cuvu the end of March.  This village is right on the beach, not too far off the main road, but is definitely rural.  Immediately adjacent to his main house Ratu owns another smaller house that no one has lived in for many years.  The house is still structurally sound, but is in need of renovation.  It could be a very suitable place for Sujit.

Monday morning Elizabeth will drive Ratu and me to Cuvu to look at the village and to inspect the house.  If she thinks the situation is suitable, the foundation will renovate the house and she, Sujit and a caretaker will move to the village and live together there for a period of months until Sujit is comfortable and well accepted into village life.  During that time, selected villagers will be trained as caretakers.  Since Ratu will be back in the village, he can assure that everything goes according to plan.

Elizabeth will eventually move back to Suva and visit Sujit periodically to assure herself regarding his ongoing well being.  Everyone will benefit and Elizabeth will know she has done her best for this person she loves so well.  And she will be able to devote more time to the kids she is rescuing.

Very often I serve as a bridge between individuals who have a need and those who have the resources to meet that need.  It is such a blessing to be able to make a difference in the lives of so many over the years.  Thanks for your prayers and for partnering in this ministry.

Fiji February 25, 2105

This morning, Thursday, I had an appointment with Dr. Joe Koriovuata, Permanent Secretary for Social Services in Fiji. Dr. Joe is one of the founders of GIFT, the Christian doctor’s group we partner with here to do our medical outreaches. He has been a personal friend for many years. He was kind enough to send his car and driver to pick me up and take me to government house.

GIFT is building a new center just outside Suva where they will coordinate their ministry around the nation. Dr. Joe and his wife will live at this center after he most likely retires from government service later this year, though he has been asked by the Prime Minister to become Permanent Secretary for Health, an office he held prior to taking over Social Services.

GIFT wants to set up an in-house training and resource center on Biblical studies and evangelism to help their doctors become more proficient in the spiritual side of their ministry to the people we serve. I loaded WordSearch from my TUtP office computer onto my laptop so I could show Dr. Joe how that program could meet their requirements for reference resources more effectively than building an extensive library of hard-copy reference materials. I have dozens of sets of commentaries, over 30 translations of the Bible, and literally hundreds of other key books, all of which can be accessed in minutes and cross referenced in a number of interactive ways. Multiple thousands of dollars worth of materials are available at a keyboard stroke at far less cost than books. It is also a lot easier to carry a laptop with all these material available on-site during an outreach.

I have a contact at WordSearch who gives me tremendous discounts on whatever I buy for ministry purposes. In addition to the cash savings per product, he also has gifted me with dozens of titles at no cost. As a result, TUtP can provide GIFT with an extensive set of materials without worrying about how to transport everything into the country and through customs. Initially we hope to provide at least two desk top and two laptop computers loaded with WordSearch and ready for GIFT doctors to use.
I did, however, on this trip bring with me a complete set of N.T. Wright’s translation of the New Testament with notes in book form. I already have those in WordSearch, so don’t need them. I gave him one laptop, though we don’t yet have any reference sets to load until after my return to the States next month. Once I make the purchase, he can load everything onto that computer for immediate use.

While I was with Dr. Joe, I also discussed possible funding for programs at our TUtP women’s center in Namadi settlement just outside Suva. Dr. Joe immediately got on his phone and called Pastor Sotia, the director of the center, to arrange preliminary discussions regarding what kinds of programs Social Services might fund. Funds might also be available for the women’s center on Tuvacau Island where TUtP has set up a beekeeping project. Dr. Joe can assist Pastor Sotia to write up proposals that meet required government standards.

From Social Services I walked over the Anglican Cathedral in the center of town to meet with the Dean, Fthr. Claude Fong. I first met Fthr. Fong two or three years ago during one of my prior visits. He is a conservative, evangelical pastor who has a strong desire to see the Anglican seminary in Fiji return to strong, orthodox Biblical faith. He has asked me to help in that process. This seminary trains all their clergy for their churches scattered around the So. Pacific. We’re still working on what TUtP can offer by way of training. My son, Kevin, who is just completing his MA in theology from Regent University in Van Couver would like to come to Fiji and teach theology and philosophy for a couple of years prior to completing his doctorate. So he might be able to help.

After this meeting, my scant continental breakfast was rapidly leaving me wobbly and famished in the wilting heat of the late morning. So I hailed a cab and ate a hearty lunch before going on to my next meeting which was with Ratu Osea Gavidi, the Paramount Chief I have known since 2003. He has provided a great deal of wisdom and guidance during my many ministry trips into this great island nation.

Ratu will move from Suva back to his home village of Cuvu in Nadroga Province the end of March to take up a number of new responsibilities that relate to his leadership role as Paramount Chief. He had planned to retire soon. He is 72. Instead, he will be taking on increased responsibilities for the welfare of his people. He has a great servant heart.

Just as I was getting ready to return to downtown Suva to catch up on emails and eat my evening meal, a torrential downpour, replete with thunder and lightning erupted. It only lasted for about 30 minutes, but it was quite the show.

Now I’m back in my hotel room getting ready for tomorrow. I so appreciate your prayers. My stamina has held up. I continue to enjoy good sleep. It seems I will be able to meet with everyone I need to see before heading down to Nadi City next Monday.

Blessings!

Fiji February 24, 2015

Chuck and Sue MCkay at their farm near Labasa town
Chuck and Sue MCkay at their farm near Labasa town

This morning I was in Labasa with Aisake, general secretary for GIFT, the Fijian doctor’s group with whom TUtP does our medical outreaches. We had traveled to this city yesterday to meet with Dr. Mike Mua, the medical director of the northern part of Vanua Levu Island. Dr. Mua heads up the 250 bed hospital in Labasa and is in charge of all medical outreaches in this part of Fiji. We needed his blessing, advice and cooperation for our project next August.

Dr. Mua is a believer and was one of the original founders of GIFT ministries. He helped staff one of our earlier outreaches in the slum areas of Suva. He fully supports our efforts and had some very wise counsel regarding the best place for us to locate our August outreach. There is a rather large Indian settlement, Dreketi, which is on the opposite side of the island about 2 hours away from Labasa that is virtually never visited by medical teams. This is where we can make the biggest impact and be of most assistance to him in his efforts to meet the medical needs of those for whom he has responsibility.

After our discussions with Dr. Mua, Aisake and I walked over to the offices of the Commissioner of the Northern District of Fiji. This very important official, Mr. Alipate Bola, is a long-time friend of Aisake’s. We need his permission to do any work within his district. Aisake explained to him the work we do and I showed a PowerPoint presentation from one of our previous outreaches.

He became very enthusiastic when he learned of our beekeeping initiatives. He has responsibility for agricultural activities throughout all of Northern Fiji (dozens of islands) and was instrumental in funding beekeeping among the farmers in Dreketi. There are more than 200 hives in that settlement and they have not been doing as well as they should. He feels the farmers need further training, especially in the areas of re-queening and splitting hives.

Yesterday we met with Chuck McKay, a Labasa farmer who heads two farmers groups including local beekeepers. They need exactly the same kinds of training. Mr. Bola is eager to cooperate with us as we provide the training and support these beekeepers need. Through his efforts, we will be able to secure government training facilities in the Dreketi settlement. That would prove immensely helpful for housing our entire team.

Aisake was able to meet with one of the local pastors who will help us secure spiritual counselors and prayer teams as well as those who will do the critical follow up after the outreach with those who accept Christ as a result of our ministry.

We completed all these discussions in time to catch the bus that got us back to Savusavu in time for a late lunch and in time for me to purchase my ticket on the overnight ferry to Suva. I am sitting on the ferry typing this report at 10 p.m. The ferry was supposed to embark at 8 p.m. Looks like it will be closer to 11:30 before they get all the trucks loaded prior to departure. I don’t mind the delay as it means a more sensible morning arrival in Suva. I can’t check into my hotel room until around 2 p.m. So the later we arrive in the morning, the less time I have to keep track of my baggage.

God has certainly been watching over all our various meetings and giving us favor with those we are working with.

I’ve been sleeping well at night and have had more than adequate energy throughout each day. I have a sleeping bag spread out on the floor in the lounge and should sleep well on the passage to Suva

Continue to pray that those I need to meet with in Suva will be available. I’ve already received phone calls from two people stating they are eager to meet with me during the next couple of days.

Thanks and Blessings!