Saturday, November 3, 2012


The practice of prayer -- of saying grace before meals, of asking for GOD's blessings when i awoke and thanking Him for the day's bounty before i slept, of sharing private thoughts with Him throughout the day -- especially when the realities of daily LIFE became seemingly overwhelming -- was but one of the wonderFUL graces GOD graced me with during my stay in Naselesele.  Life in the village was simpler, with much less technological distractions (computer games, facebook, TV, etc).  And yet i prayed often for the indwelling Holy SPIRIT to intercede in my prayer life, for with the seemingly endless chores to do without the modern conveniences, sometimes i neglected what was more important and dear to me -- intimate fellowship with my LORD JESUS.
BeautiFUL sunrise -- but it literally rained bucketsFUL soon after!  The blue-roofed building is the Catholic church, which is in the re-building process -- with almost all the work being done voluntarily by the village folks.  Each clan has designated days when the men are to share in the work and the women to cook their lunch and afternoon tea.
Streams freely passing by Kuru and Katerina's house...after that tangerine-colored sunrise!
Our "remodeled" kitchen area -- we can now stand up to wash dishes instead of sitting down on the floor to do them with a basin filled with water and the water supplied from the bathroom tap.  To us, this was a MAJOR improvement; and we were all very grateFUL to the helpFUL carpenter -- watiqu Vili, who listened to watina merlin!
The overflow from that gorgeous tangerine-colored sky that only the Master Artist can do.
Ever SO sweet mangoes!  Those of us who crave these delicious treats wake up early and go hunting -- looking under green canopies to find what GOD has dropped from the branches, with the wind as His tool for this blessing.  GOD knows how much i enjoy mangoes, so He touches Vili's heart so that he goes out to the bush at daybreak, competing with the village kids who are just as eager to find for themselves these free sweets!  GOD is He "Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."  (Psalm 103:5)
Cooking by firewood is definitely NOT my preferred way of cooking!  But Fijians say that the food tastes better this way -- maybe because of all the smoke?  Needless to say, all that smoke got me smelling like barbecue!  The Naselesele womenfolk are ALL experts at making delicious meals with this cooking style and would make excellent survivors for "Survivor."  They would make those bikini-clad contestants look like helpless dolled-up Barbie clones!
Na watiqu Vili with his catch from the night's line watiqu vinaka sara ga -- because he caught the fish and cleaned and cooked them up!  My joy was in the eating -- Psalm 103:5 says it all.  Vinaka vaka levu, JISU!
Cooking by firewood has definite consequences!  This is where i come in -- as pot scrubber, dishwasher, launderess, all-around cleaner-upper.  Blessed be GOD for He has gifted me with a disposition towards clean things, clean environs, clean pots and pans -- SO, i clean.  And i am SO very grateFUL that the SPIRIT who indwells me is also cleaning UP my heart.  HALLELUJAH...AMEN!
Create in me a clean heart, O GOD, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  (Psalm 51:10)
Here we are enjoying the videos of the week's singing contest and soli festivities (a fundraising  event for the village school), watched from the computer Cozette gave me in 2009.  No high-tech HDTV, no lap-top computer for each child, no personal i-pods or i-pads -- electricity from 6pm to 9pm -- what a blessing this is!
Traditional Fijian way of sharing meals and very typical in our house -- picnic-style feasting.  Here, we celebrated nau Tuvi's and Jotama's combined birthdays with our newly arrived school principal, Mr Ole.  Sharing generously is still the way of life here in Naselesele -- simply say kerekere.  Being raised in the USA (and being just a "half-cooked Fijian" -- a Filipino kavalagi), i had problems at first with this kerekere system. The word itself means "please, may i..." -- may i borrow this or may i have that?  But typically, most of the time, the kerekere - may i borrow means the same as the kerekere - may i have.  Most Fijians are generous givers -- and in the village, since ALL are somehow related to each other  -- it's easy to gift the asked-for thing.  Being an American-raised kavalagi, i still differentiated between lend and give. It took me a while to do the WWJD-- What Would JESUS Do -- in this kerekere world!
CHRIST gave His ALL so that we may have...
LIFE everlasting.
B&B with Goldie Boy, taking their afternoon siesta before hunting mice.  GOD, who knows all of my deepest needs and desires, through His gracious Providence, provided these cats (from my dear friend Tila, of Beverly's Camping) so that i may be comforted during times of aloneness.  Our heavenly Abba has proven His WORD to be my source of truth and strength and wisdom.  Over and over, again and again and again -- He shows Himself faithFUL to His Word.
All the promises of GOD are Yes! are Amen!
Seek first the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  (Matthew 6:33)

i've been back two weeks and two days already...back in the good ol' US of A, after living in Taveuni  for more than 17 months.  i experienced culture shock when i saw this 4-year old boy, his thumbs rapidly and expertly clicking away on the buttons of his electronic toy, intensely involved in his computerized game
, oblivious to the world around him
.  And i remembered how  Naselesele kids were "addicted" to swimming in the creek, how much they enjoyed pushing a wooden pole (or bamboo) with two wheels attached to it; or even a used tire, rolling it around the village grounds by guiding it with two sticks.  And how expert they are at playing Jacks -- without the ball...just with pebbles.  And that weird game of Sapo -- using candy wrappers or used bus tickets -- slapping them to make them turn over so as to get the biggest pile to win and keep.

 i was without internet connection for these initial two weeks and did not fret over it because in Taveuni, i had no regular internet access (nor much extra funds for this extra).  To get connected, i had to walk to Tovu Tovu Resort or take the public bus to Naqara (Taveuni's main town, a 5-minute drive-by) to use Shiven's computer at Zintec, his internet and video rental shop.  But i finally got connected two days ago -- and whether it was the real coffee i drank in the late afternoon or the novelty of being connected non-stop -- i stayed glued to the computer 'til 3 a.m., bleary eyed and zombied out, yet unable to stop posting pictures for my Fijian family and friends on facebook.  i experienced something like an fb-overdoze...and that lack of self-control warned me how easy to slip into this mode of connecting electronically, rather than actually.