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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fiji Day 25: Home!

After a wonderful conference, the only thing more wonderful is coming home!

However, getting ready to get on a plane is never a picnic for me.  I hate the hurry and desparation of trying to fit everything in a suitcase...and have it not be above the allowed weight.  Even though the hotel knew how many people needed a ride to the airport on their shuttle, those in charge seemed surprised that we didn't all fit...(by 5 people!)  

BUT, we got to the airport and we all checked in...no one had to pay excess baggage!  We saw the PNG staff off with hugs and promises to see them soon.  And then it was our turn.

It's always a relief to be seated in a home-bound plane...no more deadlines, no more good-byes, just hellos ahead!  There's plenty of time to relive highlights of those 3 1/2 weeks in my head as we wing our way back to Auckland.  God truly has done wonderful things.  (We experienced greater vision, unity, teaching, inspiration, and expectancy of seeing God work as the new University year begins.)


Thank you so much for being with us on this journey.  We appreciate your interest and prayers and partnership more than you'll ever know!  YAHOO!!!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fiji Day 24: Looking Ahead!

We've farewelled our friends at the conference, and we and our bus full of Papua New Guinea staff headed off to Nadi, Fiji where we all spend the night before boarding our planes home.

We're all a bit tired and brain-fatigued...it's been a very full and eventful 3 1/2 weeks.

BUT, right now Dan has 3 young staff around him at the restaurant table, trying to cram in last minute discussions and training Jasmine in the accounts before we part ways.


(One more sleep to go!)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fiji Day 23: Final Banquet!

The final banquet was tonight:  Commissioning new staff (including our two PNG girls,) prayer for Ludwigs going to Guam, anniversary presents for length of time on staff of CCC Pacific,  stories on the history of CCC given by Judy Douglas (and she tells great stories!), prayer, singing, tasty food, lots of picture-taking, dressed-up beautiful people...it was an eventful night.  I think my favorite thing was hearing Judy tell of the heart behind our ministry and realizing how privileged we are to be a part of it. 


Judy D. with her new bilim from PNG


 Eva had a hard time receiving her award for 15 years on staff because George wasn't there to receive it with her...We are so proud to be her friends!






Two more sleeps until we arrive back home!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fiji Day 22: Whale Tooth!

Tonight Judy Douglas was given a whale tooth at a kava ceremony.  (Highest honour in Fiji)



Earlier in the day Judy had lunch with all the ladies and told us how God has been teaching her to say, "Thank you."  Just after lunch I got a chance to practice because the hotel wanted us to change rooms...so we packed up and now are one floor up.

After the whale-tooth ceremony we returned to our room and had another chance to say "thank you" when we discovered that the water pressure is so low all over the city and our room has no water tonight.  


This river was in Anaconda movie

But on the plus side, we had fun in the afternoon with outdoor contests, and we're sitting on the bed right now watching Eureka on the TV in our room!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fiji Day 21: Dancing!


For our opening night at the resort, the staff kids did a Polynesian dance, and then the PNG staff did a Melanesian dance...including DAN MILLS!  Yes, you heard it hear first!  Dan told Elton that he couldn't dance and Elton said, "This will be a first for you!"


video


Each province has their own design they decorate their faces with.  My design is from Greg's province, and Dan's is from Elton's.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fiji Day 20: Table Talk!

This is the last night in this house.  Tomorrow we take a bus ride to a resort for the last three days of our conference.  Right now that sounds pretty good to me!  I'm tired.  The "big guns" from our HQ in Orlando (who are our speakers) flew in to Fiji today and will meet us there.

I AM going to miss mealtimes together in this house, though.  You can learn a lot about a person from "table talk" over the course of time.  Tonight I learned that Don's (our regional director) talk on the armour of God, zeroing in on the belt of truth, really meant a lot to Eva.  (Don gave many verses from Ephesians to demonstrate truth to cling to.)  And Jeanette, Koli's wife, used farming illustrations during her devotional (which everyone thought was wonderful,) and I learned that Greg is from a cattle farm.  His people live on a small island that belongs to PNG, and it has a river and grasslands...enough for 100 cows.  When he was little he tried to ride all the animals:  cows, pig, etc.  He said he fell off, got hurt, then his parents found out and he got hurt some more!

Did you guess the lyrics of yesterday's song?  "Yu strong blo mi taim mi wik" means, "You are my strength when I am weak."

(Tomorrow's blog should contain a surprise!  Hold onto your hats!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fiji Day 19: PNG report!




Amazing grace...that awesome gift of God doing something special and profound when you feel broken and totally inadequate.

As we showed powerpoint photos & music and the staff spoke of change lives they’d witnessed as a result of students hearing the Good News, the steps of faith taken by disciples...and themselves;  As they told of George Puipui and how much they’d learned from him and miss him; everyone could see that God had not abandoned his children in Papua New Guinea, even if He did take George home.


Amazing night, amazing grace.

Dan and I even joined the team in singing in Tok Pisin, which is similar to Solomon Island pijin.  Can you work out what this line of the song means?

 “Yu strong blo mi taim mi wik.”     (Sound it out phonetically and listen to what it sounds like!)  Answer will appear tomorrow!





Of course when we got home, the whole 8 person gang of us walked to McDonald’s for celebratory ice cream sundaes!

Fiji Day 18: Planning!


Greg (in green) and Jasmine lead worship

 

After a morning and afternoon of meetings, the evenings are reserved for country reports...what we’ve seen God do in the last year.  Fiji was Monday, and PNG is Tues.


After seeing a wonderful presentation of all God has done in Fiji, we...who are the biggest and most complex country, have a big challenge.  We got home after our day of meetings and tried to put together a flow of a program.  I think we’ll cover the last two years, since it’s been that long since we’ve had a staff conference, and last year was filled with so much sorrow because of losing our friend and director, George Puipui.  And yet, God is still big, and powerful, and faithful, and full of compassion...He has been so good to us this year as well.

Part of our plans call for singing a song in Tok Pisin.  Dan and I are learning it on the fly, so we’ll see how it goes! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fiji Day 17: Meetings!

Matthew's in Fiji!  He arrived with Jessica for  the National Directors Conference today, the 3 days of staff conference meetings here, and then for our 3 staff conference days at the resort.  It's great to have them here...though we miss Tammy and Josh.

But I gotta say...I don't get excited about meetings.  The business details of ministry are not very exciting.  (Things like filling in calendars for the next year.  Needed, yes.  Exciting, no.)  We did, however have a good (and needed) time of prayer.
 
 I think the kids got the better deal.  Jessica, Gail, and a few others swam, went out to lunch, and saw a movie.  After our meeting I saw Koli's two boys in the pool.  By the picture, guess where our meeting took place, Mills kids.  Do you remember?
 

We have 3 more days of business meetings before going to the resort for 3 days of fun and inspiration.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fiji Day 16: Day Off!

A whole day off!  It started with a beautiful sunrise...



 
We went into town on the bus for some shopping and treats...






And had a nice treat at Gloria Jeans:  a "cocoa loco" which was like an iced mocha.  Very nice!  (We'd tried having one a few days ago, but they had been out of ice.  Yahoo, the iceman must have cometh!)






Dan had loaded a free kindle onto his computer and we downloaded a $4 book, so our entertainment for the evening with me reading it to him...until my voice and eyes gave out!  More story to come!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fiji Day 15: "Igor!"

This was D-Day!  The day we give our 20 minute talks, timed talks, hitting all the marks of what those talks should contain.

I awoke with a stiff neck.  I couldn't turn my head to the right.  I got up and got dressed, took some Nurafen, etc...then laid back down because I didn't feel so good.  When it was time to move, I couldn't get up, because to get up you need your neck muscles to lift your head.  I started giggling, then laughing, then laughing so hard I was crying.  While I was presently like a turtle on its back, I was imagining walking up to give my talk.  What if my knee locked as well?...I'd look like Igor:  One shoulder up, dragging my opposite leg!

When it was my turn, I was so nervous that I couldn't remember how to begin.  Then I looked at my notes and saw that the beginning was a story.  What a relief, I knew the story, and that got me into the talk and took me to the end.  I was done!  19 minutes, 55 seconds!

We were so tired, we just came home...without our celebritory milkshakes.  (But tomorrow's a new day that needs ice cream!)

Our small group with Cole, our TA
Whole Bib. Comm. class

Tired students
Sleepless nights to finish assignments





Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fiji Day 14: Sweaty Palms!

Today we stood up and delivered our "Launch" in front of our small group.  (The Launch in just another word for introduction of our 20 minute talk we're to give tomorrow.) It was suppose to be memorized, 3 minutes, and hook our listeners to want to hear more. 



The TA assigned the first person to go up and speak. Then, when done, the speaker gets to choose who speaks next.  This is one of those situations where you truly don't mind getting picked last...which I was.  However, by the time I went up I had been sitting there being nervous for a long time.  My palms were sweaty...but I got through all right, sat down, and received good feedback and suggestions for improvement, to the accompaniment to my quivering body!


An unexpected classmate!
 


Fiji Day 13: The Wonder of an IceCream Cone!

During our strategic stroll before dinner, we were looking for ATM.  We needed more PNG currency for rent and taxis.  The girl who cooks our dinners told us where to go...a small shop not far up the street.  When we got there, the ATM was not working, but we decided to spend the last of our PNG currency on two bottles of water and a small package of batteries for Dan's computer mouse.  We headed to another group of shops where we knew of another ATM.  When we got there, we discovered it didn't work, either!  We walked to yet another ATM, wondering if we'd be able to pay for taxis for our group to get to class the next day, but, wonder of wonders...this ATM worked!

Since we needed smaller change for the taxis, and we were passing MacDonald's anyway...Never has an ice cream cone tasted so good!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fiji Day 12: Dinnertime!

After a hard day in class, brain-weary and a little confused about the next assignment, it's nice to gather with other confused, but spirited classmates for a shared meal.
The house where we're staying provides breakfast and dinner, and we have morning tea and lunch where we have our classes.  The ladies that make lunch know about Dan's abhorance of garlic, and make him a special lunch plate that's garlic-free.  (Koli told them about Dan.)  However, no one mentioned it to the nice lady who prepares our dinner!  (Dan didn't want to make a fuss.)  We usually eat at 7:00, and right about 6:00 the fumes from the garlic begin to rise up to our top-floor room.  The last 2 evenings we've strategically took a walk about that time.  (The first time, we walked to MacD's so Dan could eat a pre-dinner cheeseburger!)

Dan heroically declares he should lose some desired weight by the end of our time here...but I've seen what he eats at morning tea and lunch, and I think he'll be lucky if he just doesn't gain weight (like I probably will!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fiji Day 11: Gestures!

We started our new class today of Biblical Communication.  We had a workshop to practice hand gestures.  Ten of us took turns describing a room or special place or event.  Our goal was to speak for 1 minute.  The first 10 seconds we were to keep our hands at our side, then use them to describe our story...without using chicken arms (like dinosaur arms), but with big gestures.  Dan got the biggest laughs in the class!  (I'm so proud!)  He described how he was fixing our upstairs bathroom.  (Taking the shower out, drilling the floorboards down, etc.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fiji Day 10: A Sticky Day!

Most stores are closed in Suva from Saturday noon, through Sunday night.  Not much going on...and today is really heavy, sticky, hot weather!

"Bula" is a Fijian greeting
We've been trying to finish reading our textbook for our new class starting tomorrow, but we both kept falling asleep.(And sticky days seem to irritate all my mosquito bites.) But...within walking distance of this house, open even on Sunday is...(drum roll, please)...MacDonald's in all its air-conditioned splendour!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fiji Day 9: Going On An Adventure!

Koli organized Joe Fire to take our PNG team on a bus tour this afternoon.  It was great fun riding in a bus through different villages.

  We came to a river and exchanged our bus for two motorized boats.  Even though boat rides were scary to me in the Solomons (on the sea,) these river boats weren't far from shore and the water wasn't too deep...and I really enjoyed it.  (Greg stood up in their boat the whole time, like he does in PNG.)

 After a fun and refreshing journey down the river, we got out and walked down the road to meet our bus, which had driven around to pick us up.  As we walked towards it, we passed an old man sitting in front of his village house.  It turns out Joe had led him to the Lord years ago and we got to shake his hand  (and the hands of his grandkids.)



The bus took us to a beach where we had a photo frenzy for 15 minutes, then we returned home via the market where we bought some coconuts to drink. (A first!  I saw Elton crack open a few coconut open with his elbow!)





It was a very satisfying day off!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fiji Day 8: What I didn't know before!


Things have changed since I’ve last written an academic paper.

Things I didn’t know before:

 I didn’t know I could access a bible commentary on line by googling my verse.

 ...that I can change the length of my paper by the font I use.

...that I can’t write a paper any more without the help of a techy.  I can’t even remember how to access my previous worksheets, let alone set up my paper in outline form.  Just getting all my sentences to be the same colour has proven to be a challenge...not to mention margins, etc.

I am now not  motivated by a grade as much as gaining the knowledge...although I still want to beat Dan.

 I’m NOT motivated by technology. (OK, maybe I knew this one before.  TeeHee)


 However...My paper is turned in.  (Oops, I mean: emailed in an attachment.)
 

After class today the PNG staff went to the Ludwigs house for ice cream and a visit.  The Ludwigs are getting ready to move back to Guam in a few months, to start the ministry back up on the uni campus there.  (The girls are planning to get a puppy after they move.  Sound familiar?)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fiji Day 7: School!

I must admit, Dan has been getting better grades than me in our Biblical Interpretation class homework.  HOWEVER, today we both got the same grade!  Look out, Dan Mills, I'm comin' through!

I am loving how this class is presented.  (I think Nathan would love it, too!)  The class could choose from 2 biblical narratives, so Dan is studying Luke 5: 1-11, and I took the one from 2 Samuel 9.  Part of the analysis is to look at our story as if we had a camera on our shoulder.  Each time there's a change in time, or character, or action, we were to note it.  Then we looked for the setting, the rising tension, the climax, the resolution, and the following action...always looking at both what the passage has to say about the falleness of man, and God's redemptive solution.  My passage deals a lot with the kindness of God...which is a very refreshing thing to concentrate on!

Working on our papers
Our big papers are due Saturday morning.  Both Dan and I were assigned the best teacher aide for our study group, so we feel pretty confident with all the help he's given us.  (Although that confidence wavers from time to time.)

Everyone at our house is studying hard, and we all just shared a big tub of ice cream for a break...YUM!
 

Fiji Day 6: Answers!

OK, students.  Here are the answers to your island quizz:

a) Dish soap (Wet a sponge, dip it across the soap dish, and away you go.)

b) Coconut scraper (Sit, straddling the board and scrape out a coconut half into a bowl on the ground or floor.)

c) Breadfruit tree

d) cassava or tapioca

e) banana tree

f) coconut tree

g) paw paw or papaya

h) taro or dalo

Grade your papers and pass them to the front!  TeeHee

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fiji Day 6: Guessing Game!





c.
b.
I thought that since Dan and I have to identify things and answer questions in our Bible interpretation class, it's only fair that you get an opportunity to be tested as well...only we'll try some plant and object pictures on you.  Some of you island type people will have a distinct advantage as you try to identify these photos taken around our home-away-from-home!
a.
d.


You can check your answers tomorrow!


e.



f.

g.



h.












Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fiji Day 5: On the offense!

All right.  I'm tired of being a human banquet for some cheeky mosquito and all his friends and family!  I look like I have the chicken pox.

Do you remember how this device works, you Mills kids?

Tonight I'm pluggin' this baby in!

(The device plugs into the wall, a small metal plate heats up, and the pad on top emits a pest dissuader of some sort.)


Oh...and here's a picture of our bedroom/study where we do our homework.  (You'll have my renewed sympathy, Laurie, when your classwork begins!) I'm learning lots...and learning how much more I need to learn!  AND  I have a good-lookin' "study-buddy!"