There are some days that are permanently stuck into your memory. Today was my favorite day of Fiji so far. I’ll try my best to keep it succinct. But I make no promises.
Part 1 – THE MORNING.
I woke up this morning to 3 alarms because it was daylight savings time here in Fiji, but no one was confident in our phones having that knowledge without cellular or WiFi. We devised a plan to ensure we didn’t oversleep…but somehow I still did it wrong and woke up an hour too early. Turns out, our phones are smarter than us and we should have trusted them all along. *Fun fact: Eric drove us to church this morning. I believe he was made to drive in Fiji. Here, you drive on the left side of the road, the driver is on the left side of the car and the stick shift is in your left hand. He’s left handed, so it’s a match made in heaven. However, the windshield wipers & blinkers are opposite as well…and that part is hard to remember. Every time we turn…the wipers flail madly.
Part 2 – THE SERVICE.
We dressed in our Sunday best (which turned out to be way underdressed – typical Americans). Everyone was dressed in the most beautiful Sarees, Kameez & Bula Shirts as 250 people from churches all around Fiji gathered for this combined service. We had the privilege of leading an extended time of worship & Pastor David preached a dog-gone good message. At the end, David led us into a ministry time of prayer & worship. This wrecked me. Watching the divides be crossed through prayer, was incredible. Listening to the faith filled passionate prayers, was inspiring. Feeling the Holy Spirit move heavily through and in people was more than my tear ducts could handle. God was so present & we got to be a part of what He was doing today. In the middle of the service, we were honored with Salusalu’s (see photo for reference). These were handpicked for us & the words that came along with them were so so special. I may have cried a little here as well. And lastly…we DANCED. Yes, even Paul Lack. The service closed with 3 dances (“items” they call them) in which a group of people dance for worship & entertainment. So we joined them! I mostly took photos during this time to document how “white” we all looked. I’ll surely allow you to see this phenomenon in the near future.
Part 3 – THE FLOOD.
The rains came down…I mean really came down. We were told it hasn’t rained like this for several years. The city of Lautoka began to flood. Water everywhere. Sidewalks disappear & streets become ponds. Water gushes down hills & through neighborhoods. Animals run for shelter & people try to get their vehicles to places that they won’t have to swim out of later. So we do what every normal human would do in this situation. We play Rugby in the rain. This may be the moment of the trip that will remain my favorite. We are barefoot. Mud everywhere. Kids pour out from the neighborhood when they see us crazy Gora’s & Memya’s (white boys & girls) come out to play. The rain continues to fall. By this time we are completely soaked, with big smiles on our faces, running around in the mud playing a version of Rugby. My team was USA & the others were KIWI’S. I loved being wet & muddy. I loved seeing the kids smile & laugh. I loved watching my friends throw being clean & dry out the window. I loved this moment in time.
*Fun Fact: Red ants are nasty here. When you don’t have shoes on and step in their nests they aren’t nice to you. Little devils made my feet their munching ground today.
Part 4 – THE APARTMENT.
We all came home for a quick rinse off & spritz up before dinner. During this time we discovered that Krista is deathly afraid of cockroaches. There are quite a few of these here, but we hadn’t had much of an encounter with them until today. Krista noticed the first one & asked David to kill it. He tried & failed. It got away. He didn’t say anything more about it. About 15 minutes later it re-appeared. Krista was not a fan of the said cockroach & many screams & jumping occurred. David made sure to tell her that he hadn’t lied to her…he just didn’t say anything more about it.
*Fun Fact: we did kill it…but it was very difficult. They can survive many a shoe smack.
Part 5 – THE KITTEN.
If you know me at all, you know my love for animals is unhealthy. Yesterday, Eric noticed three kittens outside our apartment. So naturally I was all about them. When the flood came, I panicked. I knew these tiny tiny kittens could easily drown where they were located. When we got home I searched for them and couldn’t find them anywhere. But I heard their meowing & knew they were somewhere near and probably in need of my saving. Luckily, while we were off playing rugby…the Bickley’s daughter Allison found one! For you animals lovers…you know this was the best part of my day. For you non animal lovers…just re-read the rugby part.
*Fun Fact: It was later reunited with it’s family & all the kittens and mama cat are alive & well.
Part 6 – THE DINNER.
We’ve had some amazing food on this trip. In fact, I didn’t even like Indian food before this…but I can now tell you, that has changed. However, our American tummies were having a hard time processing that much rice & curry for every meal. So tonight we drove an hour away and ate at The Hard Rock Cafe (I know, so cliche). Milkshakes & burgers were consumed.
Part 7 – THE END.
I wish you could all meet these amazing people. They’re so full of Jesus & have faith that you can’t even imagine. Someday I will bring you all with me, because I’ve already decided that I’m coming back.
*Fun fact: I miss my dogs a lot.