And now for the main event

We have reached the end of the lecture phase of DTS. Over the last 13 weeks we have had the privilege to share in a time of significant transformation and growth in the students’ lives. The wisdom and affirmation spoken by the visiting speakers is starting to translate into heart knowledge as we walk deeper in faith together.
As staff we have had to learn patience, discernment and sensitivity to God’s voice as we have been faced with new challenges. Neither Ali nor I have ever been in a mentoring role before. At times it is enjoyable and satisfying, at other times we are plagued with notions of inadequacy. It feels like much is expected of us, to be a living example in love and servant leadership. Yet we are flawed people, fully reliant on the grace of God.

Thanks to Dani
The students express their thanks for all of the work Dani put in to their healthcare workshops
Nayeem teaches on Islam
Our Bangladeshi student teaches us about the dominant religion in his culture…
Bangladeshi dinner
…and makes us some of his home cuisine

It has actually been a difficult period for us over the last few weeks. One thing after another has struck and shaken us, both physical ill-health and emotional trials. Last year we felt that we were being fore-warned about what we would be sacrificing to continue life as missionaries. Feeling cut off from family and friends who are going through impossibly hard things is by far the toughest and most painful thing we face. Learning to grieve from a distance, and trust in God’s protection when our own arms can’t stretch that far.

Team 1
Our outreach team…
Team 2
…and the other half

These things have distracted us from our preparations, so now we suddenly finding ourselves facing a month and a half of outreach. The first two weeks we will be running a medical clinic in the Rakiraki area, one of the worst hit areas in the cyclone. Living conditions will be challenging as we all sleep, cook meals and run the clinic together in the community hall. The toilets were literally blown away so we’re hoping on the kindness of some of the villagers to let us use their facilities, even though the houses still standing are now hosting multiple families.

Nayaulevu damage
Widespread destruction from the cyclone, including the roof of the local school

Even after several weeks there may be people in the villages who are still dealing with the trauma of having endured this frightening event and the grief of having lost so much. Last week we received Psychological First Aid training from Mike, our friendly psych nurse from Australia, in order to assist the Ministry of Health in their recovery efforts. Through this we can provide practical care and support for victims at the same time as performing a needs assessment in the village.

House with no walls
This building was the clinic last time Marine Reach visited a few years ago!

After this fortnight Ali and I will be leading a team of 6 students for the non-medical phase of the outreach. We plan to travel to Fiji’s other main island, Vanua Levu, and spend some time in both Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities. Keep your eyes open for some stories on our return! Despite having been here for over a year and a half we know we can expect to face new and unforeseen circumstances! Our aim is that we walk through these encounters with joy and confidence in our Lord.

Better learn to hover
And this is the toilet block we will (hopefully not) be using

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