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.