Monday, 22 September 2014

Week Three

Week three was alive and kicking.  The students were blown away by how God had been using them to impact individuals lives with the gospel.  Then came a new challenge – Preaching the Gospel, not just to individuals but to groups of people that they have to draw in.

Ella, one of our students, was so concerned about this she didn’t sleep much that week at all.  A lot of fears run deep in one’s mind when we are faced with challenges that seem too great for us.
The students are learning a valuable truth as through this course they are constantly pushed out of their comfort zones and have to depend on the Lord for wisdom, strength and courage.  True courage is not the absence of fear but the conquering of it.

Through the training the students grasped the principles well.  They wrote their gospel messages and painted up their visuals.  All that was left was to do was to preach.  I was first up so that I could demonstrate how to do it in a real life situation.  Things went well.  At one stage over 50 people were listening to the gospel. Now the time for the call to respond came.  Nerves filled my body as you never know what will happen when you give the call. 

I called for the response and nobody moved.  I thought to myself, ‘hold your nerve'.  Give one more call to respond’.  One person came forward, then another and another.  Over 12 people responded to the gospel.  Thoughts flooded my mind.  Jesus’ words, ‘follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men’, came to mind.  Praise God that despite my fears, faults and limitations God still uses me and God wants to use you too!

All the students did so well.  People listened.  People responded.  The Lord’s name was lifted up.
Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement.  The Lord is moving in people’s lives.  Your prayers are making a difference and the Lord’s name is being glorified.

This week we are going into schools all week.  Pray for effectiveness as the students communicate the gospel.  Pray for families to be reached and for wisdom as I teach.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Get Fit!

Well for those of you who know us well you will know we both like to exercise.  I do mine at home with DVD's first thing in the morning.  Jeremy however prefers the gym.  Well this year he found a boxing gym and has been having a great time.  Last week he took me to a class.  It was great but I do prefer to be at home in front of the air con.  The fans at the gym just don't cut it!  And the exercises outside.....  Almost too much.  Even the kids got involved - perhaps they take after us!
Sprints up a steep hill on a hot day - harder than it looks!

Flicking the rope
Beating a tire - also harder than it looks!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Robinson Crusoe Day Tour

Jeremy had a few days off with Lew Meyer and Robert Siakimotu lecturing so we took a short family vacation.  We stayed along the Coral Coast and were tourists for a day on Robinson Crusoe Island.  We were picked up and taken to a jetty where we caught a barge on a river out to the ocean then to the Island.  We were greeted by cannibals before being welcomed on.  It was a fun day with snorkelling, bush walks, a water park, kayaking, lazing about, coconut demonstrations, fire walking, a lovo for lunch and a great show!  Check out the pics.
Greeted by cannibals!
Dylan with his prize flowers from winning the crab race!

Drinking coconut milk!

Lovo feast

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Interesting Shopping in Suva

We have all grown to love Suva despite the dirt, rough roads and overpowering heat.  As with travel, however, there are always a few sights to make you giggle.  Where else can you buy narcotics in the supermarket!

It is also interesting what you can buy here.  I have found freeze dried and packed anchovies, and shark bits.  Looks scary!  But then in the tourist market I found these ...

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Week Four update

So here’s my top ten for this week.

Bugs and such     4    Apparently we have a vast number of baby toads in our lawn, lots of                  
                    grasshoppers and the millipede’s are working their way inside.
Homesickness    1  Not really homesick.  Kids miss friends but Skype is a wonderful thing.
School work       3    Kids are working well but some days it is just too hot!
Sleep                   5     I am doing fine but Jem has been struggling with this one.
Tan                      5      We have had a couple of good days but this week has been cloudy
Boredom           3        I have gotten quite used to my routine of reading, sudoku and school work. 
Cooking             2       It seems you can cook anything in a frying pan!
State of mind       4     Each year I come it takes me a while to adjust mentallly to my new home but I feel quite settled and content, Praise God!

This week I tried cooking some local food – very local.  It came from the drain in the backyard.  Paige said, “I am not sure about eating something that came out of a drain!”  I informed her that most of our food comes from ‘unpleasant’ sounding places.

I went out and cut some Dalo leaves (Taro leaves)  and cooked it with onion and coconut cream.  I think it is obvious what the kids thought of it.  I quite liked it.  It is such a common food that they even sell it in cans in the supermarket!

We were very blessed this year to bring with us a pile of envelopes containing encouraging messages from a variety of people.  We have, as instructed, read one each week and we keep them on the fridge to remind us that we are part of God’s family and we are loved.  Thanks so much to all who contributed.  We even had a courier package two days ago from the Graingers’s containing chocolate.  Thanks guys.

This week we also visited the NZ High commission to vote.  The Fiji elections are on the 17th of Sept so there has been a constant reminder on TV and around about.  We pass the US Embassy and Aussie High Commission most days so we were surprised to see NZ's was just a small dingy office compared to the vast grounds and buildings of the others.

We go on ‘holiday’ next week and get to be tourists for a day up the Coral Coast.  Jem has a couple of days off so we are all looking forward to spending that time together.

God Bless

Monday, 8 September 2014

Week Two - "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men."

Well this week the weather has been really hot and even though we have no no air-con where I am lecturing the students have been working hard at developing new skills in evangelism.
Door to door and one to one evangelism has been a new and scary experience for the students, however, the more they go out to obey the great commission the more excited they are becoming because they are seeing themselves being used by the Lord to impact families with the gospel.

As the students have communicated the Gospel they have all been used in leading people to Jesus. We have seen church goers - people brought up in the church begin to put their faith in Christ alone instead of their church denomination.  The students have seen people with no church background repent and make Christ Lord.  They have seen Hindus turn their backs on Hinduism and embrace Christianity.

The students were doing street work on Wednesday afternoon and they met a 21 yr old Punjab named Avi. He was incredibly open to the gospel and that day decided to receive the Lord into his life.  He is now very excited about his new found faith and has turned up everyday to our course.  He is sitting in on the lectures, the students are doing Bible Studies with him and seeking to help him develop a solid faith based on Gospel truths.

One thing I treasure more than leading a person to Christ myself is seeing those I've trained or are training, obeying our Master's call to take the Gospel everywhere and seeing them experience Christ's promise fulfilled in their lives, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!"

Backyard of Unity Baptist where the school is held
The hill the students must walk up and down if they are late to class
  • The committment of the students to learn, understand and clearly present the Gospel.  
  • Fruitfulness of Gospel ministries.  3 families are wanting Bible studies.
  • People have heard the Gospel.
  • People are responding to Christ
  • God for His strength and wisdom
  • Greater wisdom and patience as I deal with setbacks and Fiji staff not being reliable.
  • More people would come to Christ
  • Students will begin to look at how to preach in the open air with boldness and wisdom.
  • Ongoing strength for me as lecturing 4-5 hours a day can be trying in the heat.
  • That I would not just teach principles but impart my life to the students also.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Joy - Where is it found?

Downtown Suva.  This photo makes it look good!
It seems that since I have been here I have lacked ‘joy’.  We have a great place to live, we have a supermarket handy,  a bus stop only a few minutes walk away.  We have been blessed financially for our time here.  We have a great hotel we can swim at and enjoy and yet my heart has not found joy.  I know that joy comes from the Lord and Him alone but He is with me here just as he is in Hastings so why do often feel so down?  Maybe in Hastings the ‘feelings’ I experience are not so much joy but rather happiness.  I have friends, fellowship, familiarity and I fit in so I am content in that. 
Joy is in the Lord and I should not be content without it.  Give me joy I pray dear Lord.  Let me not be satisfied with being happy and comfortable but rather give me a deep down joy that one can only get from knowing you. 
Paige and Dylan walking along the water front.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Week three 1-10

So it is now week three.  Yesterday was the hottest day reaching 29 degrees and we had a power cut.  Air con only works with power!
Bugs and creepy crawlies               1         Still all good on this front!
Homesickness                                1         Miss friends and familiarity but are settling in well
Cleanliness                                     2         I now know just how much dirt our carpets absorb!  So much to                                                                 sweep up daily
School work                                 4          Kids doing so well.  We had a short day last week and went to                                                                         the pools for an intensive session of PE!
Sleep                                             7        So hot last night so we put air con on - then too cold, then too                                                                       hot, too cold etc.  A long night!
Tan                                                7         A couple of days in the sun and my tan is starting - Still feeling                                                                       pretty white though!
Boredom                                     6          I am adjusting to my new routine of reading, playing games and                                                                     watching a really bad tacky Bollywood Soap Opera.  The long                                                                    middle distance stares would make The Young and The Restless                                                                  proud (not that I watch that!)
Cooking                                     5          I can make almost anything from cakes to roasts in my electric                                                                       frying pan!  I want one when I get home!  There are a few things I                                                                   haven't been able to buy but mostly it is good.
Things I miss                          Normal butter (too salty here), Edam cheese, rice wafers with hummus.

Paige and Dylan shelling peanuts
All in all things are going really well.  We got to open a 'care package' from Jan the other day.  It was given to us before we left home to open in week 3 and each week after.  It was a great note and some chocolate.  Thanks Jan.  It is such an encouragment to know you are all thinking of us.  God is Great!
Boy scouts on their jamboree - Cute outfits!

Paige and I at Gloria Jeans Cafe
The vege market I shop at near our supermarket

Monday, 1 September 2014

From Hope To Despair and Back Again!

Well we arrived safely as you all know and the Lord has been good to us providing all our needs.  We feel extremely blessed because of your prayers and the encouragments that we have been receiving.
Well when we arrived we had a meeting with the OAC Committee about the final plans for the School of Evangelism.  We had 18 students registered to come.  This was incredible as I found out that the promotion for the school was delayed and didn’t start until a couple of months ago.
With great expectation came great hope, until everything changed.  9am Monday morning the SOE was supposed to start.  We had only one student there.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  People were contacting the team saying, “Sorry can’t come now.” Or “Does it start today? Sorry I can’t come.”  Excitement and hope turned to despair and embarrassment.  I felt so bad and guilty as I thought about everybody that had been praying for us and all the gifts that were given so we could come.  How could I explain it?  It was a disaster!
Despite the circumstances God is always in contro.l  Day one we had 4 students. By the end of the week we had 8.  Although this is a small school the students are quality people that love God.  We have people from government workers and trained engineers to one guy who lived on the streets until Jesus changed his life.
One of our students is the wife of a pasotr that has the biggest church in Fiji.  They hire a stadium each week and bus people in all over Suva.  At this stage their desire is to use our training next year for their leaders and people and they can afford to send up to 30 people a year. 
Well a week has now gone by and it has been a roller coaster of hope to despair then back to hope and excitment again all because of your prayers and the Lord’s moving.
We have just started the Personal Evangelism part of the course.  The students are excited but scared at the same time.  As we embark on preaching the gospel to the world pray they would find their strength in the Lord.

Praise and Prayer
·         Thank the Lord for His provision so far
·         Thank him for the numbers to run a school
·         Wisdom for me as I equip the students
·         Strength – the lectures run from 9am to 2.30 and are then followed by outreach till 4.30.
·         Students families – health and safety so nothing will distract the students from the course.
·         Students will be bold
·         Confindence in speaking as some can speak English but struggle with it at times.