I have always found it tragic to hear of those who have gone off to war and, having endured the inevitable gruelling toll, return to find little support or understanding. There are numerous examples of this in recent history, with the Vietnam War being a particularly pertinent one. Without entering into the debate of whether this war, or any other, is justified I can’t help but feel a huge sadness for those who gave so much to do what they felt was right, and were then left to deal with the consequences on their own.Continue reading Epilogue
Looking back, I can see that the history of this blog has a few recognisable fingerprints on it. Dani will be the first to agree with me that we are not social media people (at times I’m not even a social person!). So when we first headed out to Fiji and decided to write a blog as part diary/part update for our family and friends, it was a touch uncharacteristic for us. At that stage we had no intentions whatsoever that we would still be doing missions work 4 years later and depending so heavily on God for provision. Yet I have a hard time imagining how we would have been able to handle the tough times had we not started this little project way back then. Continue reading Better Together
It appears that I (Al) am overdue making a contribution to our blog, and so I sit and type! In all honesty I have withheld slightly in recent months as it is undoubtedly harder to enthusiastically promote our current roles than it used to be. In medical missions there was a very clear and immediate cause/effect, and with a few photos it wasn’t difficult to convey our purpose. With our current roles being focused on the long-term, and with landmarks hard to identify and describe, I suspect that my attempts to do justice to our work will seem underwhelming. Continue reading Blurred Lines
Our feet are back on UK soil! The secret plan to surprise Alastair’s parents with an unexpected visit worked beautifully despite one or two close calls on social media: we were met with a priceless look of surprise. It’s delightful being surrounded by loving friends and family once more and we’ve already shed some of the heaviness that had been building up by being away so long. Continue reading Surprise!
It is becoming quite clear, even at this early stage, that the roles Dani and I are to fill here will be quite different from each other’s. While Dani is focussing largely on the heart and soul of RescueNet – registration with the World Health Organisation, developing outreach programs, organising staff training, updating medical practices and guidelines etc. – my job description is a little more difficult to pin down. Continue reading How did I get here again?
G’day mate! We are writing from the chilly city of Canberra! On Tuesday 13th September we landed in Australia and briefly explored the sights of Sydney before making our way here, the location of our new adventure with RescueNet.
After Samoa we returned to Fiji with the intention of completing all of the duties and projects that we felt important before our departure for Australia. And so for 2 months we wrote a medical paper, planned future outreaches, managed the accounts, hosted visiting teams, repaired broken equipment, organised medical supplies, wrote guidelines for ethics, computer systems and finances, and various other random tasks. It’s just a part of life in a small organisation that there are many duties but a limited number of people to fulfil them, and so often square pegs go in round holes. At times we would be frustrated at the need to meet responsibilities that we don’t feel equipped for, at other times it would be very satisfying to see the fruits of our labour. But either way we just wanted to make sure that when we moved on we wouldn’t be leaving behind any loose ends.
Shortly after the rewarding conclusion of DTS 2016 and our goodbyes to the students, we stepped on a flight to the island nation of Samoa. Our purpose was to join the YWAM Pacific gathering, have a rest, and renew our visas. Having had minimal time to prepare for the trip we arrived with little in the way of expectations – however even the ones we had were turned upside down as we spent a week immersed in full island culture with a YWAM twist!
The outreach took a different turn when we split into two smaller teams. Ali and I were leading a team of 6 students (3 American, 1 Canadian, 1 Fijian and 1 Bangladeshi between ages 20-29). Apart from having the responsibility as team leaders, this part of the outreach was also distinctly different as we spent the time amongst mainly people from Indian background. Almost 40% of the Fijian population are from Indian descent, originally brought to Fiji as indentured labourers under British rule. Despite being officially “Fijian” now, they still maintain their own cultural traditions, language, dress and even food.
After 3 months of teaching the students were developing itchy feet, keen to get out and practically apply their knowledge. This would be their opportunity to take what they had learnt about God, spreading the good news and healthcare to our outreach locations. And so we began by travelling to the other side of the island to visit a village called Nayaulevu, 15 kilometres inland from the main road.
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.