Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Outnumbering the Sands of Fiji

I have been doing very non typical Fijian things since I have been here, from an outsiders perspective. No laying on a beech and eating fruit after a long massage in a nice hotel... I thought I would save that sort of thing for my honeymoon or some other vacation. From an insiders perspective the things that I have been experiencing have been very true to the Fijian life style. I have visited villages and eaten on the floor. Tasted the native foods and drinks... played games of Rugby and swam in rivers, chewed on sugar cane, drank out of coconuts, sucked on limes straight off of trees, chopped up peppers from a pepper tree into my rice, eaten bananas straight from a banana tree and worked on a cassava/ taro farm (much like sweet potato), and meet many great locals that will hopefully be long term friends for when I come back to this friendly country. I have realized how blessed we are as Americans and how we have so much and still complain. These people love there lives and family. Even though they have so little in comparison... most of them have what they need and they hold on to the important things in life. They treat their guest with unending respect. They serve me first at every meal and want me to sleep on the softest bed in the house, while they take the hard floor without complaint. Christ is the reason for happiness and they worship him throughout the day. For a certain pastor that I helped build a wall in his bathroom yesterday, he does not have a job and, as of now, he does not get support from the church. He only trust God to come through for him and in his words, "He always does!" He says this while cleaning a toilet seat with a coconut and old charcoal from burnt fire wood as his Fijian "Lysol Cleaning Solution". He is a true inspiration to me. Please pray for Joe if you can. That God would continue to come through for him and that He would find away for Joe to be a pastor and be supported by the people of the congregation. I would love to remember these people and send them my tithes when i start making some money. I feel like these people truly need the money and I now know there faces and I know that they are living for Christ and wanting to spread the word of the Lord. I would hate for money to spoil or hinder their burning passion to tell others about what they have found and why it makes all the difference to anyone who is willing to listen.

I think God has laid it on my heart to seek His will while I am here, so that I might learn from these people. That I might remember what Christian community looks like again, how important being apart of a Church is, and that I might not forget these loving people here in Fiji. I am Glad and thankful for this time. This unexpected and somewhat fearful time that God had so perfectly planned. Many times I was a little stressed and I did not know what God had in store for me, but at the last moment He would show me the way. It has been fun as well. I have truly seen what traveller after traveller neglects as he or she gets off the air plane in Nadi and rushes to a boat to take them to a party island or a romantic get away. I was very much lured by this at first, but I give it all up to God for leading me on this path.

I know that I will be back one day soon to help with the peoples needs here. I have a much better handle on why God put it on my heart to pursue Fiji in such a way. While I was spending time at a church north of Suva on the eastern coast I was again blessed with their kindness and generosity. They did not have much, but they knew that the Lord provides whatever they need for them. The experience was unmatched. I believe I was the first American person in their village ever! Stares from little children's eyes out of the windows of the houses in the village found the rare sight of white skin, as I strolled through there village. They would kindly say "Bula" which is hello and look at me with a smile. Much happened while I was here but the main thing was the list of needs that they wanted me to take back to the land of plenty. This was God's purpose for having me here. To make connections with people here and send what they could not afford or gain access to here in Fiji. My mind is spinning with possibility. I could get a group from church together and bring many of the stuff that they need back to there church or we could mail it from the states. Some of them have churches on the outer islands that need materials and a team to come and help build churches. I think a missions trip to the outer islands of Fiji would be an easy sell back home!! Then others could see what I have seen. They could see the genuine and faithful hearts of the people of Fiji, and be blessed through there faith like I have been. It would be great. For now I will focus on finding the things that the church said that they would need and then maybe some day work on getting back here with a group of willing workers that could further the help here. Overall it has been very different than anything that I could imagine and it is hard to think that I get on the plane tonight, but God has lead the way and when that is happening... you deny yourself and follow Him. I thank Him for this experience the last 4 months: from Spain to Morocco to New Zealand to Fiji and next to Italy and Training Ground in Colorado. I will continue to follow HIs will throughout my life. THat way, I KNOW, adventure will never be lacking!!

I give you this verse: I believe it is Hebrews 10 (if I am wrong I will change it soon) This is the chapter of Faith. It starts with the Faith of Abraham, stepping out into a place where he had no clue where he was going and God blessed him with more offspring then the stars in heaven or the grains of the Fiji sands. I hope that is what you will always do. Faith in Him can only lead to life! Not just life, but abundant, overflowing, beautiful LIFE that will never cease... this is good.



Friday, April 10, 2009

The real Fiji

Things in Fiji are going well and happening in a very unexpected manner. I got here three days ago and had no clue what I would be doing here. I made a reservation at a hostel the night before my plane flight and had done little to no research on what to do here. I found out soon that any tourist attraction here is so expensive. Going off the main land to the islands and staying at the hotels/ resorts can clean you out so fast! Camping, they say, is not an option, but I plan on proving them wrong. I am only in Fiji once so I want to experience the nice beaches and beautiful water for sure. All along I have been wanting to do something different here. I felt like God wanted me to reach out to one of the Churches or Mission groups here, but I did not know which one. The first night I spent the night in a hostel and met a man named Amos and he saw me reading my Bible as I was eating breakfast. He did not say anything, but I noticed him looking. After thinking and worrying a lot. I was so unsure of what I was doing here and why God had laid it on my heart to serve. I was willing, but had no where to go. I decided to pack up and just head out. As I was leaving I wanted to fill up my water bottle. I asked Amos if he could fill it up for me and he did. Then out of nowhere he asked if I was a Christian and I said yes!!! I remembered him looking at my bible and I knew that he was a Christian as well. Before that point I had no clue what I was going to be doing there or even where a church was, so I could knock on their door. I was so happy to hear that Amos was a Christian. I asked where he went to church and knew that was where God wanted me to be. I hoped in a taxi and was heading there before I knew it. I have spent the last two nights sleeping in my hammock or tent in the back room of the church and have been to a good friday service. I am heading to Amos' village today and watching his nephew play rugby tonight. I am still looking for the way God wants to use me here and why he has me at this Church. The people of the congregation are so nice and loving. They said that no one has ever done what I am doing and are still somewhat unsure of what I am doing here. As am I. They do know that I want to serve for Christ and that is reason enough. Pray for God to show me a direction for me to go and a purpose to serve. I guess I am experiencing the REAL Fiji here in Nadi. It is a true adventure for sure, but instead of exploring the nature I feel like I am exploring the culture and the people here. It is all new and unexpected, but it is good.

Hope all is well,