Monday, May 22, 2006

This, That and The Other

Last week I was the "leader" of our group, along with Aaron (one of the single guys). Our job duties included handling the team finances, facilitating the meetings, keeping track of what everyone was doing and the schedule for the week and generally encouraging people. I enjoyed it and think I did a pretty good job.

We'd had a 3-day weekend after the VBS, so we had plenty of time to shop and swim and relax before we got started. We ended up working with the Emmanuel Worship Center and going out to visit families, bringing them food and encouragement. Most of the families were Indian, and we all really enjoyed spending time with every one of them. One family I visited that I fell in love with have a young boy who came to VBS - he was one of the kids who stood up to accept Jesus. His parents and younger brother don't go to church, so he is very brave and goes all alone each week and is being a witness to his family. They live in a rural area, and their house is an 8x12 foot shack made of corrugated tin - no water, no electricity. His mom cooks on a peice of tin set outside, and the house is just one room with 2 beds and a chair. I'm constantly amazed at how blessed we are financially in the United States. Sierra, too, was quite moved as she realized their entire house was 1/2 the size of her old bedroom. Reality checks are good!

We also were able to go to visit the leaders of various small groups (called cell groups here) to encourage them and help them to infuse some "fire" back into the groups. Everywhere we go, we are invited in and given juice and food. People just love to visit, and so do we!

People are starting to wind down and are looking forward to coming home. I'm trying to be a cheerleader for everyone to stay focused and finish strong, but I think it's a losing battle!! So, I've decided not to do that anymore as I don't want people to get annoyed.

This week we are having another medical clinic with Marine Reach in another village, and then we'll be having a crusade there over the weekend - so it's a busy week, but we are doing things I love to do! Today we walked around the village letting the people know about the clinic. We were invited in at most houses, and spent 20-30 minutes visiting. When we got ready to leave, a few people actually began to cry and tell us how priveleged they are to have us in their house and how much they will miss us. Such a different perspective, and wonderful to be a part of it!!

I will add more pictures soon...Sierra also learned how to husk coconuts and drink the juice, and extract the milk...she's so into coconuts now!!

Friday, May 12, 2006


This week we hosted a Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the church we've been working with - each day we had between 60-70 children show up, ages 3-14. I ran the arts and crafts area and Sierra worked with the pre-schoolers.

The theme was "BUGS" and catching the "buzz" about God's love for us. Each day featured a different bug and a different message. The team really pulled together and did a great job - this was really a stretch for a lot of our team as working with kids is difficult for them! We were all blessed, however. I made a lot of the decorations for the VBS and I was really happy with how everything turned out. Kim also made a lot of them, and everything was so cute.

The kids had a great time and really got into it. They loved doing the crafts and it was a lot of fun, although my helper didn't show up Wed, Thurs or Fri!!! So, I was a little hectic, and felt stressed - especially today when we did a rather difficult craft and none of the kids got done within the time alotted and they were all swarming me for help - AACK!! Although I do well "under the gun", I really don't like it as I turn into a drill seargent and get "super-efficient" and "hyper-focused" on the task and lose out on the relationship building...which is really the point, isn't it?

Out of all the kids, we had about 12 stand up yesterday to accept the Lord, and another 25 today - so it was really fruitful and we're excited to see the kids really interested in God and His love for them. It was amazing how these kids took their Bible verses so seriously and really held onto them as a real treasure (we gave them each day's verse glued onto a small peice of construction paper).

This weekend is Mother's Day and I'm missing my mom. Sierra has been planning for 2 weeks all the "surprises" she has for me - she is so generous of heart and just loves to bless people. I am planning to do a little something for the ladies on my team as they are all (except one) of the age of my own mom, and are all missing their children back home who are my age - so I figure I can be the "representative" daughter to them for this special holiday that honors our mothers.

We have a 3-day weekend, which is a rare treat...Si and I really don't have any plans, but hope to get to the beach and maybe a little shopping done.

Last night the DTS team (the 18-15 yo's) left to return to Sacramento - they will work in Sac for 2 weeks before returning to Chico. It was a sad time to see them go as we might not ever see them again and they are all precious to us. Sierra has gotten especially close to a few of the girls and was really broken-hearted. Saying good-bye is truly the hardest part of the missionary life. Although we realized, and were so thankful for the hope...that with our Christian brothers and sisters there really is never a "goodbye", but always "I'll see you soon" as we realize that we will spend eternity together in heaven. That is quite comforting and offers so much hope.

I can't believe out time here is coming to an end so quickly - only 21 days left until we return home!! I think, as I look back over the outreach portion of the CDTS, that God has been teaching me about perseverance...the outreach has been much harder than I'd anticipated. I really thought I would "shine" in this atmosphere, but I struggled with it, and there were times I wanted to fold up and go home! It wasn't the work or the culture or anything like that - those things were was more the aspect of putting aside my independence and working as a team, dealing with disappointments and conflice within that atmosphere and keeping steady along the course. I realized that when I get disappointed, I tend to turn my back to God and expect Him to come and "woo" me back and I retreat into a shell of self-pity. Not nice things to realize about yourself, but God is good!! I asked Him to come in and clean up the rough edges of my heart, and He took me at my word! I wanted to learn to be a person who perseveres and doesn't give up, and he's taking me through that. So, it's all good!

Please pray for me as I continue to seek direction about what we are doing next. I have a few things I'm praying about, but have not felt any direct answer from the Lord as to His tendency is to push things through and make them happen, but I want to wait on the Lord and hear His will for us, and do that.

Well, that is all for now - have a blessed Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Visual Journey of Our Outreach

We had a day off last week, so we went on this ship out to another island - it was a lot of fun, espcially when we found out that over 2/3 of the people on the ship were Christians!

They allowed Sierra to steer for awhile - Captain Sierra!

Here are our new friends aboard the ship - some of them had guitars, so we sang praises and fellowshipped for the ride to and from the island. It was so great!

This is Sarah and Sisa - they run a program for single mother's and are generally very, very busy doing Kingdom work! I've gotten close to them and really love thier family.

One night Sarah and Sisa invited me and Sierra over to work with the youth of their village and teach them some skits and songs - the kids had a blast, and so did we. We will be going back for more teachings!

There is a Crossroads class just starting in Latouka, a half hour from where we are staying - we went there to encourage them and spend time getting to know them. The sunset was beautiful that night - this is taken from the top of the building where everyone hangs out.

A few of us went to the Namaka Public School to talk to the children about sexual purity - this is a skit that Reanna and Jacob did about the different types of love.

This week we took part in a medical outreach, and helped to bring a clinic into one of the villages, called Nawaka Levu. We went home to home inviting people to come for free medical care, and set up this "jungle clinic" with exam rooms made up with sheets over poles. It was amazing!

This is the prayer room where people at the medical outreach could come for prayer. Paul, in the forefront, is leading the young man in red to the Lord. Behind is Marcus (sitting) and Susan (in pink) praying for the sick. We saw 9 saved and many received encouragement and medical care - over 200 in all!

The kids really shined at the medical outreach - they spent all day for 2 days entertaining the children with face painting, making cross necklaces, telling stories, balloons, stickers and just being friends with them. It was really a blessing.

These are two little girls that really loved me and Sierra - they spent all day with us. They were here with thier grandma. In the back left you can see the makeshift pharmacy where medicines were handed out for free. In the back right you can see Mila acting goofy as she registers the patients for the doctors to see.
Well, this is a taste of what we've done so far - there is much more to do! Please keep praying for us. For more pictures and stories about what the team is doing, click on the link to the right that says "Fiji Team Blog".