Changed By Fiji

By Heather Mathison

Life changing. That is the only way I can explain the last two months. I could never have imagined how the people of Fiji would transform me and my heart. There are countless stories that depict the goodness, and generosity of the women, men, and children I got to know during my stay in the little bure house on the hill. In America, it is so easy to become isolated from one another. The Fijian lifestyle forces everyone to live in community, which can be hard, but is beautiful at the same time. The need for each other grows strong relationships and love that is breathtaking.

During my two months on the island, Stephanie (Seth and Jack’s mom) came out, Abi Yager visited for three weeks, and at the very end, a mission team from Hawaii came to support Mission Fiji.  Each person brought something different to the team, making each section of time unique in it’s own way. The first three weeks with Steph were about being relational with the women in the village, settling the bure, and making home for the guys. I seriously feel like a homesteader! As Stephanie left and Abi came the pace changed. It was a little slower but filled with indescribable community and love .

Abi, Jack, Seth, and I were able make a trip to the interior of the Island. I was seriously blown away by the generosity of those that lived there. I was humbled by their way of life. The people of Draiba don’t have running water, in fact their water is collected by filling up several barrels from the river that runs next to the village. Showers are nonexistent, instead, everyone bathes, with their clothes on, in the river. Which sounds gnarly but was actually pretty fun. Back in Nabila, Abi and I made an excellent team teaching Yoga to about 90 students, grades 1-8. We also spent some awesome time with Elenoa, the nurse, and were able to give her a new automatic blood pressure cuff! Abi and I also surprised the guys with a fridge!! I don’t think I’ve seen two happier faces!

After Steph and Abi  left, I took a two week trip to Australia. There’s not enough time to tell you about that here, but it was amazing and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef was indescribable!  After Australia, I headed back to Fiji to help with the OneLove Mission team. The final two weeks in Fiji were hectic but filled with God’s goodness. The team helped build a second bure, landscaped the property, and gave us running water – which we didn’t have before that!!! Throughout the trip I was able to lead the women in several outreach activities. We visited the elementary school, gave away hand-made baby quilts to new mothers, and put on two women’s health days in the village! The memories and relationships that were made will forever be in my heart. The day before I returned to the States, the Nene’s in the village immersed us in their culture. They made us hom ji (tea), gave us handmade lae’s, and showered us in baby powder. The ceremony was so emotional I don’t think there was a dry eye in the building.

These are just a few of the experiences God graciously gave me while in Fiji. My relationship with Jesus was forever changed, and I am walking away from this experience with an entirely different perspective. I will never be able to thank everyone enough for helping me to be a part of Mission Fiji. Without all of your encouragement, prayers, and financial support none of this would have been possible!

I love all of you so much,

Heather