Today we had a great opportunity to go with the humanitarian couple, Brother and Sister Stanford, to do a "hand over" of 10,00 liter (2600 gallon) water tanks to two different villages. The first village, Nakasa, was not ready. Everyone in the village was out on their farms. This kind of thing is very big in villages, they want to have a ceremony, with speeches and a meal. It is their way of thanking those that have donated items to the village.
The second village, Nakawakawa, was ready to go. They were cooking on the open fire, the community hall was covered with mats for sitting on. The children and village elders came out to greet us. Jackie and I got an escorted tour of the village from the 3 of the children. They were very happy to get their pictures taken and even wanted to help Kurt with his videoing of the celebration.
The road to Nakawakawa was so beautiful. Looks like Southern Utah
This looked like a stream you would see in the Rocky Mountains.
This bridge had been washed out in Cyclone Winston. This is the rebuilt bridge.
Brother Stanford gave a short speech, our district presidency 1st counselor gave a short speech. This was his village when he was young, so he got time to talk to them. He gave a very nice talk, in Fijian, about the gospel and how important Jesus Christ is in our lives, particularly at this time of the year. Then the village chief gave a talk, in Fijian, thanking LDS charities and those of us there individually for being there. We then had an opportunity to line up and shake hands with and thank the village elders for their hospitality. We then sat down to eat a "Fijian buffet". It was finger food, thank goodness, with sliced pineapple, store bought cookies, a deep dish pizza, and some flour tortillas that had been fried up. We felt very lucky because when they prepare cooked food; chicken, pork, rice, casaba, and other vegetables, we shy away because they don't keep any sanitary means for cooking.
From left to right: Elder Dawson, Branch President Elder Stanford, Me, Jackie
It is always a Kodak moment!
My assistant video man, Pita.
Afterwards we had photo time. Our dignitaries had pictures with the village elders and the official hand shake to make the "hand over" complete and finalized. LDS charities gave two. 2600 gallon water tanks to this village. While we were eating we had a very hard rain. With the rain they had received and what we got the tanks were more than half full.
The sound is really good.
In Matthew 25:35-40 reads, "35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
We have had the opportunity to literally "gave me drink", in these two villages and one family in our branch here in Savusavu. And with the "Light the World" program that was introduced this year, on December 7, "hungered (drink)", we have been literally given opportunities to work first hand in doing that. It is amazing how the spirit works on you here on a mission. Things that we would do because we want to help, now come to mind that it is what Christ did and asks us to do for Him before he comes again.
This is how they called the village to the ceremony. Note the hole in the middle rather than then as in Hawaii.
A couple men came along the road to assist, and with the help of some of our party they got the hood open. It was then that I realized that we were not going to be able to drive the truck. We loaded everyone in one truck, 5 inside and 3 in the truck bed. To make things worse, it started to rain. We made it to an intersection for us to turn to Savusavu and by then President Vakalala and called a cab to take him to Labasa. Just then the elders from Tukavesi came by. They were returning from Labasa after have their truck serviced. So we went with the elders and the sister missionaries went with Brother Stanford and his wife and all made it back to Savusavu without getting completely drenched in the rain.
The truck was towed to Labasa the next day and they are now checking to see what the repairs will cost. I will be calling them often starting next week to see where they are with the repairs. If I don't keep asking they will think I am not interested in getting the truck back. Without the truck we are left with busses, taxis and walking to get around. Most of the work we are doing the families we are working with require us to have a vehicle to get to and from their homes.
But the Lord was looking out for us that day. I was almost stopped and the damage was not as bad as it could be, no one was hurt, other than my pride, and we all got home safely. Having a 1000 pound horse get hit and not get thrown into the windshield is a big blessing in itself.
We want to wish all who read this and very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year. We love you all and continue to pray for friends and family. May all your righteous wishes be granted according to your faith. May our Father in Heaven bless our lives and may we live in such a way that they will have a desire to come unto Christ. We are His hands and feet and mouths. We are asked to live and act as He would. Be the example of Him in all we do. We love you all. Until the next blog post, God bless you all.