Thursday, January 13, 2011

One last field trip

Can you believe what a beautiful sight this is?!!!!

Paul has always wanted to take a one day outing and go far away to an area of the Viti Levu (main island) Island and visit a very remote branch of the Church called Siaoko. We have been told over and over that the area where it is located is breathtaking! as is proven in the above picture! The challenges included in making a visit out there is the far-away-from-Suva distance, the several-hours-each-way-on-a-rocky-dirt road and the steep incline required on foot. Most important however is the fact that it isn't a good idea to take this trip on a rainy day but that it is the "rainy season" now so it is very tricky to figure out a day that it won't rain. Consequently, I have not been a very avid promoter of taking this outing. As our time has been getting shorter and shorter Paul finally found someone to accompany him besides me!

As you can see, the odds were in his favor this day and it turned out to be a perfectly sunny outing.
After driving for about 2 1/2 hours they came across this sign that welcomed them to the side of the road where they should park the truck and take off on foot.

Bro. Tuilevuka was his companion and trail guide that day. If you are ever going to head out into the bush over here, it is always really smart to be accompanied with a local person who has made this trip many, many times. The path was easy to follow but it did have a pretty good incline.

After about a 30 minute trek, they arrived at their destination. The thought that kept running through Paul's mind was "how did they ever decide this would be a great location for a church meetinghouse?!" Which then made him wonder how they ever got the building built in this remote setting!

Here is the inside of the building. Paul was really impressed with how neat and clean the members keep it here. This unit has about 35-40 members in attendance each Sunday which is another very impressive fact about this Branch! Behind that white wall that is at the front of the chapel are two other small rooms. One is the Branch President's office and the other one is the "bedroom" for the missionaries when they come to work in this area.

Paul and Bro. Tuilevuka were warmly met and welcomed by the Branch President, his wife, one of their daughters and a grandson. Life is really simple up here. The Branch President is a farmer and a fisherman. That is how he supports his family. Paul spent about 45 minutes going over financial matters and doing some training on how to keep track of the Branch budget. Paul has met with this Branch Pres. 2 or 3 times before but it has always been when the Pres. would come to Suva so this was a great opportunity to see first hand what and where and how the Branch President serves.

So this is where the missionaries sleep ... two foam mattresses, two blankets and one woven mat ... very, very simple!

Their accommodations do include a shower. Lacks a little privacy but there aren't too many people close by and if you shower before the sun rises or after the sun sets, that provides another form of privacy! Life in the bush is quite simple!

On the way back to Suva, Paul & Bro. Tuilevuka stopped at another branch along the side of the "main" dirt road. This branch is called Nausatoka. Paul & I have actually visited this branch twice. The first time we visited, we were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting. Before the Sacrament meeting began, Paul went out back to use the "facilities".

Here is the restroom building just behind the chapel and up the hillside several yards. I love that they have a number for each door so that no one can get lost or confused... once again, it is good to keep things simple!
Paul chose to enter room #2 and was very impressed to find a very wise statement written on the backside of the door which inspired his Sacrament meeting talk a few minutes later. This experience happened over a year ago and he has wanted to go back there and take a picture of this "inspiration". This was another reason he wanted to take this field trip as well.

Paul began his message by saying how amazing it was that he had found
"such profound inspiration in such an unprofound place!"
That's what we love about Fiji so much! You just never know what you are going to come across and how it is going to affect you for the BEST!
We will never forget this wise thought!


Barbara said...

Great saying of inspiration.
I saved this one to my pictures!
Wow your time is coming to an end.
Oh How you must be feeling...I can only imagine.
THe thought of seeing your family all together again must be very exciting though.. THe close feeling you share with Paul must be the BEST..what memories you have to keep in your hearts forever!
Much good thoughts coming your way for a safe journey home and for a wonderful homecoming...I had a dream the other night that I came to your homecoming talk in church:)
Fondly, Barbara

Martha said...

Love the beautiful pictures! Thanks so much for sharing you wonderful missionary experience. I hope you have a safe trip home. I bet your family has some exciting surprises for you.

everything pink! said...

What??? I didn't know you were on a mission!
Oh how wonderful
I need to stop over to your blog more often and read your wonderful journeys!

Julie Pia said...

Hey you!

I've got your hair products and I'm wondering if you're back from your trip? Let me know and I'll be over.