Today was our first full day to relax! We had no planned ministry events and boy was it needed. We have been having so much fun staying busy with the conference, home visitations, and other services, but we are exhausted, so today was a much needed break.
We woke up this morning for our last breakfast with Pastor Mousmi at her home and the church in Tavua. It truly has been such a blessing to visit with her and see how different it is to do ministry here. Where the church members often don’t have transportation, so they spend much of their time prior to service, driving around a covered truck and picking up church members, so they can attend. These people care so much about saving souls, they do everything they possibly can to make it easy for people to come to Jesus. So inspirational!
After packing up and finishing breakfast, we headed to the beautiful beach at Natadola. You know all those amazing pictures you see of Fiji advertising to vacation here? Teal blue clear water, white sandy beaches, palm trees… that’s Natadola! It was truly one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been. It is also the closest I have ever been to the equator, and it takes only about 10-15 minutes to burn. Several of the team got burned today, mostly David though! Classic gora (white boy)…
At the beach, we started out by boogie boarding and body surfing. The waves were so perfect and we were having a lot of fun. Then David Bickley told us that just around the point there were some caves in the rocks and we should walk the beach line to get to them. The problem is that he didn’t realize that the ocean floor along there is literally like broken glass. We walked as far as we could before we were forced to turn back, because we were still a long way off from the caves and our feet were hurting so bad! So we started the long walk back and our feet got even worse. It was also during this time of walking and being out of the water that the sun burns occurred. Bummer.
We spent a little time in the shade and then walked up to the resort just down the beach. This place was nice and we were able to buy some cold Cokes, ice cream and smoothies there. It was a needed cold treat.
We headed back to the water down the other side of the beach, where some waves were breaking just 10 feet from the shore. These waves rocked us hard! The ocean took both mine and Shelbi’s prescription sunglasses, one of my stud earrings and also a little of my dignity; as I frequently stumbled out of the tossing waves with hair across my face, swim suit not in the places it was supposed to be and salt water pouring out of my sinuses. All worth it!
After getting tossed sooo many times, we were all pretty beat, so we decided to pack up and head back to Nadi, where we are spending our last night. After the hour drive, we pulled up to a gated huge house. The Bickley’s surprised us with our last night at a really nice place with a pool and bedrooms for each of us. This place is truly a blessing after we have spent the last two nights sleeping on the floor of the pastor’s home.
Some of us rinsed off and swam in the pool during a Fijian rain storm, it was so refreshing! Followed up with the first real shower I’ve had in about three days, and that’s after trudging through mud from the flood and getting all salty and sandy at the beach. Ronnie, Rebekah and their two kids came to the house, along with Pastor John and his wife, Pastor Ruth. They are cooking us one last good-bye meal, which will no doubt be delicious! Then it will be a hopefully deep and restful sleep tonight before we head home tomorrow.