I have had the shocking privilege to go to the Fiji Islands four times! I had never considered myself a huge world traveler at all. There were enough things to be afraid of here in the United States, why would I take a crazy risk like that? But, given the opportunity to accompany our college age students as part of a team of leaders, I did it. We were going to the distant islands of Fiji to pray for people and bring them what we could. Did I mention that my ten day trip was completely paid? Very big incentive to grab what I thought would be a 'once in a lifetime' chance.
The first photo is our group hiking (I'm in green skirt) to a primitive and isolated Fiji village that did not see a lot of white people. That would explain why we are wearing long skirts and even our arms are covered. The church on the big island that invited us over was very old school and did not want our girls in jeans or pants. The best part..... the boys had to wear zulus, which are basically a skirt! Our guys looked funny in them, but the Fijian men looked downright fierce in a zulu! (sulu/zulu? can't recall.)
On the Leadership Team were people who were strong in certain areas. One was a great musical worshiper, another was gifted at healing and another friend had no qualms about praying with the demon possessed. I wondered why I was there and decided it was to be a "mom" and an encourager for the students that I knew so well.
Well, the very first night the Director of our team asked me, ME, to speak to the students before we headed out to our assignments! What? You guys have the stuff, why are you asking me to share? I will not forget what he said,
"They are all really scared and jumpy in this unknown place. You have conquered fear in so many ways, I am sure you can help them overcome the fear they are facing tonight."
So, the third photo is me in front of our group. The reason I am looking down is that I was reading to them straight out of my journal. The pages I had written while on the 15 hour flight on my way onto this brand new scary place. I was able to lift their spirits by showing them how I dealt with the same feelings. There was laughter, tears and a whole crowd of happy excited people by the time I was done!!
And in case you ever thought that exotic traveling was glamorous in any way, take a look at the close up someone took of me! Ugh! The intense heat and humidity was actually one of the toughest things I fought while there. No make-up could survive, no hairspray could stand up to the wet air. Walking out of our rooms was exactly like walking into a gym shower area. The Fijians carry white dishtowels strapped into their waste bands to constantly wipe their faces. (Not really very white after a bit!)