Our last stop was Fiji. Are you thinking, "Life in ministry must be rough!"?
We did have a wonderful time--but we sat on no white sand beaches and did no snorkeling.
Our first meal in Fiji was the only time we were really in a tourist spot--we took a taxi over to the side of Nadi the where the hotels are because we had the day alone.
Since we knew we were being taken out to dinner we bought meat pies at "The Hot Bread Kitchen" and ate them here.
Dinner that evening was much more elegant, as an elder and his wife took us out to dinner before the Friday evening meeting where Jim preached and presented Emmaus.
I've decided I'd like some long rectangle plates like the one I was served a delicious Tandoori Chicken on here.
After a bus ride across the island the next morning, we had a lunch at the home of ECS Ministries Fiji Regional Director that he made of parrot fish bought, and probably caught, that morning.
It was delicious. It had a "beak" that looked like a parrot's beak!
From there I went to speak at the ladies' meeting and afterwards we were "around the table" of delicacies!
Scones, sandwiches, cakes, cookies and a Fijian savory that were delicious along with milky tea on a hot afternoon made me feel part of the culture!
Sunday Jim spoke twice more and we spent all day Monday with the Nilash, the ECS Regional Director talking about the courses, the possibilities, ideas, plans, and problems.
The last day I sat at a table in prison!
Here I am about to enter the prison. You can see the gate down the hill. We thought the sign on the bus stop was funny given my name and the juxtaposition of what it said next to the Fijian women's prison. I didn't take a camera inside to take a picture.
Our hostess had prayed for women who speak Spanish to visit the Mexican woman I sat with. I was the second former South American missionary to come! The Mexicana had unknowingly become a drug mule and was convicted of transporting cocaine and sentenced to 8 years in prison there. They reduced her term to 6 years and she has served a little over 4. "Only one more Christmas in jail!" she told me.
She's not bitter about where she is because, "God had to bring me here to meet Him! I didn't pay any attention to Him at home. Oh sure, I went to church, but it didn't mean anything to me. Now I know Him. I have a personal relationship with Him because Jesus paid for my sins. I've confessed them and I believe that Jesus took my place. I don't have any intimate friends here, but I have a Friend I can tell everything!"
We talked for 3 hours and they flew by. She has learned English there and our hostess, Australian missionary with a prison ministry, has been able to lead her to the Lord, but she was so happy to spend some time speaking to someone in Spanish.
She has 4 children in Mexico aged 7 to 33 and one grandson she's never met. Please pray for her as God brings her to mind. I don't want to jeopardize her at all, so I won't write her name, but He knows!
Finally, before we left on the cross island bus and began our 26 hour journey to our son's home in Chicago, we had one last meal with our hosts, Australian missionaries to prisoners in Fiji, ending a weekend of sweet fellowship.
It's so great to be a part of the family of God and meet "brothers" and "sisters" wherever you go!