Bula From Fiji!

By Heather Mathison

I’ve been in Fiji for 11 days. How did that happen? My days have been filled with learning the culture and living life the Fijian way. Our bure is situated on the top of a hill that over looks the ocean, the view is magnificent. Every morning I wake up, look out the window, and attempt to take in God’s creation. Just down the hill, Nabila Public School resides. Classes are held for grades Kindergarten through Eighth. The first day I was here, Seth, Jacky and I got to help the kindergarten teacher, Miss Laisa, build her kids a play ground! Laisa and I have become fast friends and have spent quite a bit of time together!

The first few days of the trip revolved around making the bure home. When I first got here the floor was concrete, only one wall was up on the inside, and dinner was cooked on the floor. Laisa, Joe the carpenter, and several others were crucial to the process. The bedroom was finished, a loft was created for the guys to sleep in, as well as a desk area. “Carpet” was  also laid to get rid of the dreaded concrete! Laisa taught me how to sew curtains and wash the dishes in just a few wash basins! Fiji is starting to feel like home, and I already don’t want to leave.

The bure still doesn’t have running water, so there is no shower or toilet. Our electricity comes in the form of several extension cords connected end to end that are hooked up to a church about  250 yards away. At the back of the church the Talatala (pastor), his wife, and six kids, have a small home. They have opened their doors to us and have made me feel like family. Randini, the pastors wife, has been one of the most generous and gracious women I have ever met. She embodies love, and is more concerned about people than stuff.

A few days ago I had the biggest pile of dirty, sweaty laundry. Randini told me that if I came over she’d show me how to make it happen. The process is long, and involves quite a bit of physical labor as well as drying time. As soon as I arrived, she took down her wet clothes from the line and helped me for two hours. She dropped everything from her own busy life, and spent time with us. We talked about life’s ups and downs and God’s provisions while the clothes were hanging to dry. That’s what Fiji style is, living life together.

Nabila Village is a short 15 minute walk down the railroad tracks. Life in the Village is many things. It’s challenging, hot, crazy but laid back, and beautiful. There is a sense of community and family that isn’t found in America. The open door policy is the only policy and people are welcome to come and go as they please. I told the guys tonight that when I go back to America I don’t want to be American. I want to be a person that makes more time for people, someone who isn’t consumed by stuff but by love and God.

On Friday, a sports day was held at the school down the road. I had the opportunity to be a medic and meet Elenoa. She is an amazing nurse who cares for two villages and nine settlements, around 1100 people in all. I helped her check the parents for hypertension and diabetes and learned all about health care in the villages. She runs a clinic every Tuesdays for babies and today I got to go help out. This morning was filled with eye opening conversation in the small clinic on the hill. I look forward to getting to know her better and partnering with her in caring for the people of Fiji. Pray that we can build a relationship that allows us to serve people in new and healing ways. I have also given out a handful of first aid kits. Thank you to everyone who donated their time and money to help me in create them! They have been a huge blessing so far and will continue to be into the future!

The last 11 days have been some of the best days of my life. God is moving in ways that I could have never imagined and is showing me new truths everyday. I have found new peace about my mom’s situation, she has cancer for those of you who don’t know. God never promised that this life would be easy, but He has promised that He will walk through each trial with us.

In the next few weeks we’ll be headed up North to visit some of the villages that were destroyed by cyclone Winston, as well as doing more work with the school, and ministry in the village! It’s going to be awesome, I can’t wait to tell you all more! Oh, one last thing. The spiders here are ginormous, like bigger than oreos. They are especially scary when they hang out in the toilet at eight in the morning. Let’s just say that half of the village probably heard me scream!

Until next time,