Saturday, December 1, 2007

We arrived in Lautoka yesterday afternoon, and are staying with Pastor Maikeli and his wife Va. All is well.  
Since our last update we have been keeping busy through our neighborhood in Nadi. Last Sunday we were able to participate in a service at Heritage Family Centre International Church in sending off missionaries to different parts of the world. The YWAM Fiji DTS students were there as well, anticipating an outreach to India. We were able to pray for them with the church and be blessed by some of their own dramas. After the three and a half hour service we had a curried lunch together with the church community. It was a great time of fellowship.
Some friends of ours, Robert and Menani have blessed us by cooking dinner for us throughout the week.  We had an assortment of fish, Fijian stew, and chop suey.  The food has been quite different from what we are used to, but it has been fresh and essentially, gourmet.  We’ve been well fed.
Tuesday we had a “free day,” in which Ed and Kelly took us to a nearby beach, Wailoaloa. We walked along the beach to a nearby resort. We all had a nice time relaxing and swimming for the few hours that we were out. It ended up raining, so we headed back to the house. Despite the clouds and shy weather, a majority of us ended up pretty well sunburned. All in all, it was good for us to have the day to relax, catching up on our journals and laundry.
Throughout the week, the DTS and BLS team spent a substantial amount of time working on new dances and dramas. We have completed two dances (a worship dance and a pop dance) and one drama. It’s been a lot of work, but everyone has been faithful in his or her participation, and in making this something that can be effective in our ministry.
We have also had the opportunity to be under the submission and guidance of one of our BLS students, Elaine. She did an amazing job and was very natural about her leadership. She took over Ed and Kelly’s position up until we left for Lautoka on Saturday.  
We also were able to visit a nearby orphanage. We took a bus just down the road to Treasure House, where there are about five orphans living. The orphanage has five other girls, but they are older, and in school. They also live at a different location.
While we were at Treasure House, we helped with the five younger boys and girls. The orphanage operates as home and has a very healthy environment (both physically & emotionally). The women that minister to the children are a genuine blessing, compassionate.  They have a great measure of patience and unconditional love.  It was good to see the children receiving the love and affection they need.
After our first day at the orphanage we decided to go back the following day. We divided the team into two groups and sent one half to be with the children, and the other half stayed at the house to work on Chapel talks and create a drama.
The team participated in a lot of different acts of service in our community. We were able to spend an afternoon picking up trash all throughout the neighborhood and later burning it in our backyard. We also went to our neighbors and asked them what we could help with. Some of us raked, some did laundry, and others did different things to help serve. It was such a blessing to be able to bless people in that way. We are still in the process of building relationships and simply being a light to the dark places. We try and do this through serving, as Christ did.
People are very relational here and there is no way past that. It really is a blessing to connect so easily with people when they are this open and willing to share their lives with you.
Sports are a constant happening in Fiji. Va told us they love Rugby so much that even if they don’t have a ball, they’ll play with a coconut. While the boys are running each other over on the fields, a lot of the girls are on either sides of a volleyball net.  We were invited to play volleyball with some of our neighborhood youth. They play everyday for a few hours, so we stopped by to play on Monday. It was so exciting to be a part of their games. Most of us had the opportunity to play and take turns with the Fijian boys and girls. I think that playing volleyball was one of those moments where I felt part of. I felt like there was this natural connection between the YWAMers and the Fijians, like we were playing with friends that we met with regularly. That’s just how they make you feel – as if you are one of them. Welcome. We have been back since then to play and it was just as much fun.
Friday night we were invited to the Shiloh International Church for the youth service. You have to understand that youth in Fiji can pretty much be up through age twenty-five. We had a time of worship with the church and shared a few testimonies, dramas, and chapel talks. We were very blessed to see a group of teens that showed up from our own neighborhood (they were the girls we met playing volleyball). After our service, we had a time of fellowship with cake and juice (what is known here as tea).
This Sunday we returned to Heritage Christian Church and met up with some of the Crossroaders. Seeing them again was like seeing family members. They shared a drama during the service, and we also shared a few, as well as a few testimonies from Liv and Gratia. Va shared from I Samuel during the service. It was very encouraging.
Later Sunday evening we had another chance to be a part of Pastor Maikeli’s ministry. We went to a village that was actually the first place the Fijians came to on this island. It is also the village that the Fiji President is from. We had a few tours by some of the boys that are a part of the cell group. The village is right on the West coast, so we were all able to watch the sun set, right alongside the ocean’s salty waters. It was beautiful! What a creative Creator we have! The tour was actually very helpful because we have heard many things about the Fijian villages, but it was nice to finally see it for ourselves, and to gain understanding of some of the traditions, history, and the way that the community functions.

After the tours we had a time of fellowship with the boys in the cell group. We were able to speak into their lives what we felt God was sharing with us, and one of the boys was especially called out. He was brought to tears as some of our DTS students shared with him what words of knowledge the Lord was giving to them about his life.
We are so blessed by what opportunities the Lord is giving us during our time here. The relationships are still growing and we very much look forward to the time that we will be spending with Pastor Maikeli. They have so humbly and willingly opened their home to us. We are very honored by their generosity and their hospitality. Pastor Maikeli has a lot planned for us during our two and a half weeks stay, so we look forward to coming alongside what God is doing here.
As much as we feel led to be a blessing, serve, teach, disciple, and make a difference in our time in Fiji, we are the ones really being blessed, discipled, and changed. Everyday I see how much more Fiji has to teach me about relationships and hospitality, about having a passion for Jesus and a heart for the nations, about honor and value. The people of Fiji truly are a beautiful people. We are so blessed to learn, grow, and to walk along side of them.
We hope you are all well back home and we send our love. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate all that you do for us. Thank you for your willingness to open your hearts and hands to what God is doing through us in Fiji, as well as in our own lives.
God bless,

Fall 2007 DTS and BLS
YWAM Chico