Friday, June 17, 2016

Arrival in Fiji

Met with the Mission President at the airport as he was heading to a zone conference in Nadi. Elder and Sister Knight took us to dinner and then the mission office for us to get into our "guest room" at the temple site. We had to get up by 4:30 am to catch the taxi to the airport in Suva for a 40 minute flight to Labasa on the "North Island". We were met there by Elder and Sister Petreo who took us to their house to pick up our truck and we drove 85 km (62 miles) to Savusavu and our flat there. They took us to town to do some shopping and by 1:00 pm we were on our own. We went home and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

After eating we unpacked and tried to organize our stuff. Jackie did some inventory on supplies, etc. and we had to go back to town for more items for the kitchen and house. There was no can opener, potato peeler; and internet was and is very slow, just like China, we had to get a mobile hot spot for wireless internet. We are trying to get our clothes washed and ironed after suitcases are unpacked. The iron works for a while and then goes cold. We think it is the extension cord we are using? So Jackie is in a corner to plug in because the iron cord is quite short. I guess we have another item to look for in town. Today I bought a Sulu, the native dress for men and missionaries. I think I will still wear shorts under it for awhile. 

Mom (Jackie) says my driving on the left has been "OK", except for the one time after a turn around I got on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately there was no one coming and I soon corrected. Roads a very narrow and the buses and trucks take lots of room. Locals drive very fast so I get passed on double lines quite a lot. I don't care at this point. The mission President said one senior couple got here and the first day were hit on the drivers side, the next day the passenger side. I have made it past two days without one dent. (Knock on Wood)

We have met many people who are acquainted with the church. They see the name tags and will stop to talk to us. Many members have come up and introduced themselves to us, but we can't remember the names yet. We have met the branch president, Vetu, a young man who works in one of the stores in town. Stores here are a lot like the small ones in China. He lives a couple of houses down from us. His mother came over to introduce herself to us today. Today in town we met the Elders, district leaders, in this area. One is from New Zealand and the other is from Hilo, Hawaii. We have two sister missionaries here but have not yet met them. Church is just down the road and starts at 10:00 am. The chapel is a small building that has one large room, sacrament meeting, and four small ones at the end of the large one; primary, YM/YW, office and not sure what the other would be used for. We went in, door was unlocked, and looked around. there was a bulletin board with pictures of missionaries that have served, serving and getting ready to serve. There are about 20-25 pictures there. This is quite impressive for such a small branch. Our main assignment is to work with the YSA to prepare for missions and stay active after service is complete.
We have a zone conference the 27th of this month in Labasa. So I have to make that drive again. Fortunately I know how to get to the main road, there is only one, and it is the only way to the north side of the island. Getting to the chapel after arriving is still another matter. We only were here for 1 hour when we went by it and left town. I hope Jackie remembers and can help navigate. If we get in trouble, we will ask for directions to the police station, the chapel is just across and down the street.

We can't drink the water and have to wash our vegetables; i.e. lettuce, tomatoes, etc. We have not seen much fruit in the local market yet, all we have seen is pineapple, apples and coconuts. I think the apples are from New Zealand? 

We can only think how much we are blessed with the "things" we have because these people have nothing. Unemployment is very prevalant here. We know that the Lord has sent us here for a purpose and we must work hard and pray for guidance that he will lead us to those that have been prepared to us to arrive.

This is all for now and I will try to get the blog working. We love you all and ask for your prayers in our behalf in this work. We are reminded every day the counsel given to us by King Benjamin in Mosiah 2:17, "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

1 comment: