Adventures in Fiji and ESL Teaching

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Day After I Came "Home"...


They say... "There's no place like home". True. There really isn't. 

I think I had one of the hardest days up to date the day after I came home from our Mission's trip to SavuSavu. I was tired from the long trip, and for some reason, whenever I get really over tired and low on sleep, I can just cry over nothing. It's pretty pathetic! lol So... that didn't really help matters all that much! Haha.

I was ready to click my red magic slipper together. 😁

Living here has started to sink in more for me. This IS my home now. This is my LIFE now. I suppose it really hit home when I came "back from a trip". (SavuSavu) Everyone else was going "home"...and rightly so... you expect to "go home" after a trip somewhere else... and yet, I unpacked my suitcase in Nausori. My mind was like... 'wait a minute... something isn't quite right here'! Haha.

I love my little "home away from home". I really do. There was something so much more familiar coming back to Nausori now... than when I first landed here over 2 months ago. It really is "home" now and I'm thankful for it. I know so much more of where I fit, where I belong, what is expected, what I do on a daily basis, and who I share it with. Which, is such a blessing. But, I was feeling really homesick. I was expecting to hear my sister walk up the stairs... or hear my dad's voice from his chair upstairs. ... Silence. I really wanted a hug... I'd give anything to feel my daddy's arms around me again... so I went outside and held the cat! LOL πŸ˜‚ (Dixie (the cat) has become part of the family here too. She's my laundry buddy because she always comes out to do laundry with me.😊) I never used to be much of a cat person...but I really like Dixie.

I have to say, I'm so thankful for good friends. For people who care and have reached out to make me feel so much more at home here too. I love the people in my life. They are precious to me...and I praise the Lord for them. It IS painful to have your heart split down the middle in two very different places, 9,000 miles apart from each other. I can already feel it.

I was only gone in SavuSavu a week and I already really missed my Chinese students.... and, believe it or not, haha, found myself craving Chinese food!!! Oh my! (I'll never be able to eat that fake "American Chinese" again.) 😁

Anyways, so I made myself a nice cup of tea... grabbed some of my dark chocolate stash (I brought from the States!) and headed upstairs to my room. I listened to good music, read my bible, opened up my diary... and cried my eyes out! Haha. The LORD is such a friend to me though. He really has become my best friend. It's precious and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I just told Him all about it. And He listened and it was sweet. I told Him how much I'd love to visit home again soon... but that I was going to be happy even if He said "no". I'd rather be with Jesus in Fiji... than without Jesus in America.

The things we most desire don't make us happy like He does.

So the night passed... and I was again reminded of His AMAZING grace that conquers all! He's such a present help in trouble, like David said in the Psalms.

And I praise and I thank Him for the communication I am able to have from home! I read about missionaries that literally said goodbye for what was the rest of their lives... and I feel so spoiled. I can literally call my family in a matter of moments if the internet is working. 😊 And I am thankful to ... for a family to miss. That we are close enough, that we actually can feel like we're dying without each other! Haha. That is precious too.

All to say, God is good. No, it isn't always easy and fun... and yes, sometimes it hurts or feels lonely, but He is faithful who promised... and He has promised me so much.




The SavuSavu Mission's Trip




Just recently, the Lord opened the door for me to be able to go to SavuSavu. Which is on the second largest of the Fijian Islands, Vanua Levu. I went for just under a week with a group from Nausori Baptist Church. It was a great mission team and such a blessing! I think SavuSavu is the paradise of Fiji! It was SO beautiful there. And quiet. I so enjoyed just staring out at the vast ocean and listening as the ocean waves rolled in. (Nausori is anything but quiet! Haha! πŸ˜€) There were 8 of us on the mission team, including myself. We went to stay with and help the missionaries there, Brother Jonathan and Sister Leslie Macpherson. What a blessing it was to get to know them and stay in their home!















Let me just say... traveling in Fiji is VERY different from traveling in the US. Very Very different. We left Friday night and took the Ferry from Suva to SavuSavu. (These two cities are kind of spelled the same, but the pronunciation is very different.) The ferry was actually really nice. Clean. Which was a blessing! When you walked up the little stairway after giving them your boarding pass...they made you take of your shoes. πŸ˜„ So...walking around the inside of the boat felt like walking around your living room or something! Haha. Kind of an odd feeling. We didn't stay in any rooms or anything like that, but our group did find a corner with table and chairs and settled in there. We ate something... went up top to watch the land fade off into the distance as we departed and then sacked out on the open floor below for the night.

I think that is definitely the closest thing I have ever done to community sleeping! Haha! And what an experience! Everyone has to try that...at least once in their lives! πŸ˜‚ Wherever you could find a little room to stretch out...that was your bed for the night. Thankfully most of us brought our pillows and blankets with us. The ship might have started out with everyone sitting on a chair...but a few hours later...and the floor was covered with people sacked out and sleeping. You had to do a kind of "zig zag" to get around everyone. 😊 I'm glad I can usually sleep about anywhere. It helps living here in Fiji! Let me tell ya! Lol Although, even when I did finally doze off... I probably woke up every hour to switch from one side to the other. Like, if my leg was numb...I'd switch sides...or my arm etc, etc. which happened a lot. πŸ˜… Then there was one Fijian guy who snored really loud! Haha. The funniest though, was when I woke up half way through the night... to realize that I was touching some Fijian guys feet! Ahhhh! πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚ He wasn't that close to me when I had fallen asleep... so I scudded back into my little corner. But yes. Quite the adventure to be sure.




We landed in SavuSavu around 6am Saturday morning. Gathered all our stuff together and headed off the ferry to the Macpherson's home. I forget that Fijian houses look SO extremely different from the houses at home. They are simple houses... small... and usually pretty colorful on the outside. The poorest houses I have been to in the United States are nicer than most the houses here. But this is something to learn from. Honestly, you don't really need half of what you think you need. Running water... a little bit of electricity. A place to sit down to eat and sleep, wash, prepare your food, and that's it! We started off Saturday by helping Sister Leslie clean her house. Than we washed up and headed to town to buy some groceries for the week. We purposefully planned our meals so that we were helping make food for the Macpherson's and NOT being an extra burden to them. We came to be a blessing not a burden!


 SavuSavu town was about a 45 minute walk each way. If we caught the bus on time... it was only 0.70 each way. Although, I rather enjoyed the walk that was parallel to the ocean. There wasn't much of what you might think would be a "beach", but the ocean was lovely. I enjoyed sticking my feet in it...reading my Bible to the sound of the waves... and skipping rocks.



On Sunday, we had church inside the Macpherson's home. We put chairs up and a handful of people came. It is a small mission there. Some of the young men from our mission team preached...and that was a blessing indeed. 

On Monday, we went to the ocean beach. That was lovely. It was our "day off" while we were there...and I officially swam in the ocean (the kind of swimming where you can't touch bottom with your feet!) for the first time in my life. Kind of a creepy feeling...not knowing what could be swimming underneath you! But it was fun.



On Tuesday and Wednesday we had a Kid's Club that we put together, along with Bible study Wednesday night and the men also helped Brother Jonathan with his farming. We passed out some tracts and pamphlets while we were there too. The Kid's club was such a joy! We invited several children from the area... and with both the nights put together... we had over 25 children. We played hilarious games with them...sang songs... and most importantly, they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ! What a blessing! We also made homemade donuts and mini muffins as treats.



I spent a lot of my time in the kitchen cooking and baking or doing dishes. That was really such a joy too. Somehow I just gravitated there. Haha. Maybe because it was a familiar way I could serve. I always love making people food or a cup of coffee. 😊









On Wednesday night... while we were all packing up to leave again early Thursday morning... I stopped to see Brother Jonathan and Sister Leslie sitting on the floor together talking. He had his arm around her, and she mentioned what a blessing it was to have so many in their little church, with special music and fellowship. Brother Jonathan said, "we just have to wait on the Lord". It blessed my heart to see them both so full of the joy of the Lord and such willing hearts to serve Him faithfully. Missionaries really do give up SO much. I've learned that since I have been here. Yes, there are A LOT of physical things you give up. You have no idea how very spoiled us Americans are until you step into a third world country to live for just a little while! But it's more than that too. Things like...loneliness. Lack of fellowship. Lack of friends. These are things worth their weight in gold and you can feel it when they are missing. So many missionaries have to go it alone...because they are the only ones there. I honestly feel so blessed in that God has already given me a handful of precious friends who I can fellowship with here! It really does mean a lot to me. When you find someone... and there's just that liberty and like-mindedness in the Spirit to just open up and start talking about the Lord and what He is doing! That is precious...and such a refreshment to a weary soul!









We headed off for "home" (Nausori) at 6am Thursday morning. Our trip home was a little bit different than our trip there. First we took a bus for about 3-4 hours to our boat ride. The road we traveled on was called Loma-Loma. And talk about BEAUTIFUL! It was through the mountains...and I had to finally make myself stop taking so many pictures. I was also pleasantly surprised to see pine trees! First, and only thing thus far, that has reminded me of good old home back in Idaho! This boat was much more crowded and dirty than the ferry we took on the way here. We ended up finding a small space in the walkway outside. So we crashed there. Although, this boat trip was only about 4 hours. I tried really hard not to fall asleep... knowing I'd probably crash out for good if I did... but I finally succumbed to the rocking of the boat... and fell fast asleep amidst all our bags. I must have looked like a homeless person. Tabby tried to wake me up...when she saw that there were several people standing around me... (we didn't know it, but where we found room to crash was the place everyone lines up to get off the boat from!) but I was out. She even threw a water bottle at me! Haha. And of course, told me later that everyone was laughing because they thought it was so funny that I didn't wake up! Oh my. 😁 I did, however, wake up in time to see bright purple jellyfish before it was so crowded you couldn't really move for no lack of people piling up to get off the boat soon thereafter.











One of the most interesting parts of our boat excursion was how our bus got on and off the boat. The same bus we drove over the mountains in ... got on the boat below. So when we went to take the bus the rest of the way home... we went down to the bottom of the boat and got on a bus. It was an odd feeling...being inside a bus that was inside a boat...waiting for it to drive off. Haha! 😁 It was another hour or so of a bus ride from there...and then we landed in Nausori.





It was a really awesome trip. Full of laughter, singing, good conversation, serving, learning, adventure, and of course, new experiences. I am very thankful that the Lord allowed me to go...and would love to go back again, if the opportunity ever arose.



Monday, May 29, 2017

Sundays


At home, our church meets in the basement of our house. So, you can imagine how everything is just "right there". I just have to walk downstairs! Haha. Very convenient. I honestly love where our little church meets at home. It is precious to me. Well, getting to City Baptist here in Suva is a little bit more work! Haha. πŸ˜€ But that's okay too. The Lord is there and that's what is most important. I've slowly started to feel like part of the church here. It takes times. I'm still trying to remember SO many people's names... and they aren't all as easy to say as ... "John" or "Mary". Haha. I'm accustomed to English sounding names...what can I say? Some of them are English names...but not all of them. Anyway.


 On a typical Sunday (thus far) Verity and I usually leave for church somewhere around 9am. It takes over an hour to get to a place that is really only a 20-30 minute drive. Kind of crazy how that works. We first wait for the bus to come. Let me just say, the buses are "suppose" to run about every 20 minutes, but whether they actually do or not is very debatable. Haha. More than once already I've waited 30-40 minutes for a bus to come by when there "should" have been one! So sometimes you just show up really late...and there isn't much you can do about it. It's commonly called "Fiji Time" here... and everyone knows about it, laughs about it, and just "goes" with it. (Let's just say, it's hard to swim against a current...and even harder to make progress while trying! Because that's pretty much what it is.)



One Sunday afternoon we had a sweet Fijian lady and her two adorable kids ask to take selfies with us on the bus. That was really rather fun and made the ride go by a little faster.

The bus costs $2 each way. Usually, on Sunday mornings, there is either loud crazy music playing, or loud screaming preachers. I honestly would prefer the crazy music! But ear buds and an mp3 player is even better. 😊The bus stops A LOT. Letting people on and off. So it takes a while. And then of course, it depends on the driver too. Typically they all drive like maniacs, so you don't have to worry about doddling too much, but I've had a few bus drivers who don't seem to care if you arrive in 3 minutes or 3 hours. Just somewhere between and it's all good. Haha



This cute little girl stared at me the entire bus ride!

I'm so tempted to touch and see what their hair feels like!
After about 45 minutes or so... the bus stops in downtown Suva. There is a bus depot close by there... and if you know where you are going and which bus it is that takes you there, (and how to find it! Kind of important! haha) you can take a bus to pretty much anywhere in Suva. Sometimes we walk a good ways, shuffling through thick crowds of people and get a taxi to take us the rest of the way to the church, but the bus is cheaper and only costs $0.70 and more often then not, that is what we do. Either way, it is an experience! Every Sunday and Wednesday it is a long trip to church. Gone are the days where you can leisurely get in your own car and drive a couple minutes. Or the days where you just walk downstairs. 😊 Haha. 





It was funny... I was riding in the front of Brother Richard's car the other day, to go teach my ESL lesson, and I thought to myself... "Wow. This is REALLY nice." His car was nice, but it wasn't anything special compared to American cars. I think I'm just so used to taking a crowded, noisy, bumpy, slow, dirty bus ride now, that I've forgotten how nice is it just to ride in a car!




Sometimes it feels overwhelming and exhausting. More so in the first few weeks I was here than it does now. But it really can take some getting used to. It is a little exhausting taking crazy bus rides and shuffling through massive crowds of people, where you have to watch your wallet, and of course, you are white...so everyone STARES at you nonstop and tries to talk to you. Sundays are always tiring somehow anyways, but they just got a little bit more tiring. Haha! But that's okay. It is so worth it. I think of the people in other parts of the world who travel for hours on foot who come to hear the word of God! It's amazing just how spoiled we are in America. We often have no idea what sacrifices are made in other parts of the world. We've been spoon-fed worldliness and convenience and pleasure until we are spiritually sick with it. How we need real revival!

City Baptist meets in an open primary school building. I think just the steps leading up to the building who shock some of you, let alone the toilets! You walk in to use the toilet and suddenly realize you don't feel like you really have to go anymore. Haha! 😁 (Bathrooms/restrooms are called "the toilet(s)" here...and it is not uncommon to find a toilet in a room separate from a sink and a shower.)


The Lord has blessed me so much through the church here already. The preaching has helped me, convicted me, encouraged me in Christ, and I've learned a lot. And of course, the fellowship is always so encouraging too. Having other Christians in your life is one of the biggest blessings! 


One interesting element to me has been starting from ground zero. What I mean by that is... not already being "known as something or someone". At home, yes, I'm still "Lynea", but I'm also very much known already by everyone there and also by being the pastor's daughter. Here, I'm just "Lynea"... or, "the English teacher"! (Haha) and other than the Mears, who know my family, I am only identified by what they see in just me now. I've had this in small elements at home before, but not like here, where every element is this way. I'm not sure how much that makes sense to someone, but there it is. It's a different kind of feeling for sure, and I've noticed that I'm much more outgoing and social when I'm forced to be so, than when I have my outgoing and social sister to do all the talking. πŸ˜„ 





On Sunday afternoons I usually end up hanging around until the late afternoon service at 3pm. Usually giving time to go get lunch out with someone or be invited over to someone's house for a quick lunch. Then after the later service we clean up and start the trip home. The Mears often drop Verity and I off, which is a blessing...and so we just pile in the church van with everyone else who needs dropped off as well. Sometimes you don't end up getting home until 6 or 7pm. So yes, tiring Sundays. 😊 





I hope this gives somewhat of an idea of what life is like here. There's so much you just really can't explain through words. But the Lord is so good. I am so thankful for the Church. It is a wonderful place to be. So thankful for fellowship in Christ, which has come to mean so much to me over the years... and I wouldn't trade it for anything.