2009-05-24


Today was very relaxing and much needed. The rumors are true about
Sunday’s in Fiji, at least in the village.

We had a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bread, peanut butter, butter,
and very weak coffee. They are very big on breads. There is a long
sub sandwich type roll at the coffee and utensil table and then two
loaves of bread on each eating table.

Church service followed from 10 – 12 pm. Here are my notes from the
service.

On the chalk board was written four Sere (Hymns). The hymn book was
called “Vola Ni Sere”. The service opened with a hymn while the
pastor and elder’s walked in. The formal dress for the older men was
a dark sulu (men’s skirt) with coat and tie. The students at the
technical school where wearing sulus with a button down shirt and
tie. After the song was complete, the elder read a passage from the
bible and then prayed about a 5 minute prayer. We then sang a song.
One of the students kindly gave Kelly and I a hymnal to sing from and
it was very helpful for pronunciation practice. However, I didn’t
know what we where saying except Jisu (Jesus).

A student read a passage after the song. Next, another elder read
John 1:35 in English. Following this was reading from a book, non-
bible, by a different elder. The offering plate was passed after the
second song but they did not pass it among the volunteers, except the
first row. After another reading one of the students greeted us in
English by reading Psalm 133 and thanking us for being there. He was
very polite and the oldest of the students. Bob, the oldest volunteer
at the service, then gave a short speech thanking the Fijians for
having us. He did a great job.

After this the youngest man, at least in appearances, in a coat and
tie delivered the sermon. It turns out he was the minister. He gave
us a brief outline of his message from John 1:35-42 in English. His
message was titled, “Who am I”, and presented three pictures of Peter,
and us.

The first was how Peter saw himself: only the good parts. The second
was how others saw Peter: only the bad parts. Others typically
remember our bad deeds rather than good, while we remember the
opposite. And thirdly, is Jesus’ view of Peter. He saw not the good
or bad but what could be. He saw this and changed his name to the
“Rock”. Peter went on to become the foundation of the church.

He then proceeded with the same message but longer and in Fijian. He
was very dynamic using pauses, humor, and fluid speech. I was
impressed at the student’s attention as well.

The pastor described the service liturgy as that established by
William Cross and David Cargill, the first missionaries to Fiji who
established a written language. He was also very grateful to the
lineage of our forefathers for saving Fiji from the darkness of
cannibalism.

The day ended with light thundershowers and constant rain, a much
welcome break to the stifling mugginess. My expectations where for
more wind but that has not materialized. Hopefully our training
village will have a nice breeze.

We are off to packing and preparing for our departure tomorrow.

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