Fiji 2014 February 22

Yesterday, Sunday here in Fiji, I began the morning by attending church. I arrived about 5 minutes before the service was scheduled to start. People were scattered throughout the sanctuary including a few already seated in the section I selected just inside the main entrance. I quickly moved to the end of a vacant pew on the center aisle and settled down. No signs reserved that particular section and no one already sitting there said anything to me as I took my seat, just a few nods and polite welcoming smiles.

About three minutes after I sat down, just as the service was ready to begin, a fairly large group of folk arrived and filed into the section beside and around me. Thus I wound up sitting in the tenor section of the choir.

I probably wouldn’t have known it was the choir because in Fiji, most congregations sing better than most choirs in most churches in the States. However as the congregation stood for the opening hymn, the choir director took his place in front and to the side of the area I was sitting in, a woman in the row in front of the tenors sang out the first few bars of the hymn to establish the key for the choir, and we began to sing acapella. Fortunately I knew all the tenor and bass parts to the selections we sang that morning. I’d never heard the tune they used for the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, but knew the words and could easily follow the tenor behind me. It was kind of fun.

After church I walked about a mile uphill back to my hotel, changed onto more comfortable clothes and walked back down to a restaurant to eat lunch. Not many places are open on Sunday afternoons, which I think is a good thing. Those that are open, including my hotel, play Christian music on their sound systems throughout the day. A nice touch.

After I’d eaten, I went into the center of town to pick up a few essential items at one of the few places that were open, took a cab back to the hotel to drop off what I’d bought, picked up my almost empty trunk, and took a cab to a meeting with Ratu Osea Gavidi and another key member of the Viti Resource Landowner’s Association. Ratu had remained in the Nadi area when I came up to Suva and so we were meeting with different groups of people on a variety of different concerns. We needed to share our experiences and bring each other up to date.

I took the trunk so that over the next few days, the woman who is making and buying craft items for the students at Azusa Pacific University would have some place to store the items until I return to Viti Levu the end of the week. It also saves me from having to cart the trunk around for the next stage of my trip.

When the meeting ended, I returned to my hotel for the evening meal. I’d decided to eat in my room. I fixed some boiled eggs, cheese, fruit and yogurt. A simple meal. For whatever reason, what I ate did not agree with me and I had stomach issues most of the night. No idea why. I’ve been so careful that I even use bottled water for my tea. By morning, I was feeling fairly well again, but restricted myself to tea, fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I’ll also eat a mild lunch, most likely soup.

This morning I’ve arranged for tomorrow’s trip by ferry to Vanua Levu Island. I’ve been instructed to be at the wharf around 2 p.m. even though the ferry doesn’t leave for an overnight trip until almost 6 p.m. I remember similar requirements when I took the ferry a few years back. Wound up wasting an enormous amount of time just strolling around the dirty, restricted area around the gangplank to the boat. Since I don’t have to check anything into the hold, I don’t plan to come quite so early this time.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Your prayers have been evident as things have gone so smoothly and I’ve been able to accomplish everything that needs to be done so far.