Author: admin
• Friday, July 05th, 2019

posted July 5th 2019

Goundar shipping Lomaiviti Princess ferry arrival

Next step was to consult with the Ministry of Education to get their input: we were thinking to start with schools that had no library books at all, but the chief education officer in charge of Kadavu had other ideas: he told us that every school had been advised to construct bookshelves but that not all schools had followed this directive. He went on to say that if we gave to schools without bookshelves, our books wouldn’t be treated well and would only have a short life. Better to give to schools that at least have a small, basic library! Good advice. He drew up a list of 15 suitable schools scattered around the large island, further dividing them into 2 categories: those that could be reached by 4×4 truck and those that had no access road whatsoever and therefore could only be reached by speedboat…

distribution by pickup

As soon as the ship arrived, it was a non-stop adventure taking the books over rough terrain to the schools, sometimes involving some additional hiking through the jungle or braving rough seas in the speedboat! Both children and teachers were extremely grateful for the donated books and their happy smiles made it worth it all. Altogether we gave to 3 secondary schools, 15 primary schools and 7 preschools, along with plenty of donated toothpaste, clothes and shoes.

Nabukelevuira Primary School

 

Nabukelevu Primary School

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Author: admin
• Saturday, June 29th, 2019

posted June 28th, 2019

The following 3-part account follows our adventures & accomplishments in Fiji during the first half of 2019. The account is a more complete version of our last newsletter, #58, with completely different photos & additional info.

 

Part 1

Major renovations!

As a small charity, we have always based out of our house in the suburbs of Suva, Fiji’s capital. Our home thus serves as our office, storage depot, visitor centre & guest accommodation all at the same time, thereby saving a lot of money on rented facilities.

 

Despite repairing & upgrading the house over the years, including numerous roof patch-up jobs, over time the roof finally reached its expiry date, requiring us to change it entirely, along with much of the supporting timber. In order to get an engineer’s certificate, (very important here in Fiji), there were also numerous structural improvements to make, which stretched out the work to several months.

Sue painting the driveway wall

At times we had as many as 10 workers on the roof, all hammering & sawing & drilling! In addition to the roof, we also had to put up a security fence around the property, which became another whole saga. Then, there was an exhaustive list of internal repairs to take care of as well…..

 

 

 

 

By the time we got it all done, the school term was just finishing, but at least we could start making plans for taking boxes of books to village schools as soon as the schools reopened. In fact, one of the main challenges was to find an island where we wouldn’t get marooned — many of Fiji’s over 300 islands have only an unreliable monthly boat, whereas others have a weekly or biweekly service. The bigger ones also have airstrips for small propeller planes, but as many of these are made of grass, there’s a big risk of cancellations if there is heavy rain! In fact it’s already happened to us several times in various Pacific islands that we have been completely stranded, due to just such occurrences.

map showing Kadavu island in relation to Suva

 

Finally, we selected Kadavu as the most suitable choice, having several transport options, as well as a tarmac runway. (In fact the 800 metre strip is the only tarmac on the whole island, as everywhere else is dirt roads.) Kadavu is Fiji’s 4th largest island with an area of 411 sq kms (159 sq miles), & a population of about 10,000. To complete the picture, it’s a mountainous, volcanic island with lots of virgin rain forest & beautiful beaches, but very little development. Most people there survive from their small family vegetable & root crop plantations, along with some fishing.

The map on the left shows Kadavu island — to put things in geographical perspective, it’s about 50 kms long & is located 100 kms away from Suva.

 

To be continued….

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Author: admin
• Sunday, July 01st, 2018

 

posted July 1st 2018

originally posted by Good News Blog team, June 25, 2018


Susan working hard on her monthly mail ministry

Up until recently, Susan and I were basing our outreach on round-the-world tickets that we were getting each year. We would start off by doing drug awareness programs in the Caribbean, followed by donations of educational materials to village schools in Fiji, followed by motivational programs in schools and orphanages around Malaysia.

 

As we approached local businesses for help in most of these places, we ended up collecting business cards from all over the world. If we add to this all the people that we continue to meet while hitchhiking or going about our daily duties, it’s easy to see how we ended up with large stacks of business cards! The Lord gave Susan the excellent idea to send out monthly devotional PowerPoints (PPS) to every email address. Many, many thanks to Brian and Martha at Tommy’s Window who made the majority of them and inspired us by their wonderful example!

Showing Activated to an interested Fijian couple

 

Along with the PowerPoints, we also send our newsletters and Activated magazine links. We calculate that over a nine-year period, Susan sent out roughly 1,000 PowerPoints each month, 900 in English and 100 in French, making a total of 108,000 emails! They were sent to over 30 different countries, including many unusual islands that we visited:

Showing Activated magazines on Fiji national TV news

Fiji, French Polynesia, Western and American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Borneo, Bermuda, Antigua, St. Kitts, Montserrat, St. Barts, Anguilla, Dominica, the Dutch Antilles, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas! Here are some of the many reactions we’ve received over the years:

 


Hi Peter and Susan, great to see your email appeared in my mailbox again. After reading your news about Fiji, I was touched to feel we should be helping those people in need; we should live more to help each other. I’m starting to realize that getting involved with charity will give me a better feeling than aiming for a luxury lifestyle. I can say that your email is a powerful alarm to trigger in me the thought, “What can I do for those people in need?” I hope your news will always appear in my mailbox. Keep in touch, looking forward to hearing that you’re back in Malaysia. Best regards.—Enzo, a businessman that we met while hitchhiking


Many thanks, Susan, for the PowerPoint; it is so true and applicable for now. Hope this finds you well. Thanks so much for remembering us both in prayers and through your emails. We enjoy very much the PPS you send and also your website news. We look forward to seeing you again in Fiji.—Joy, UNICEF Director, Fiji

Peter and Susan in traditional Fijian costumes

 


I have been reading your emails and the PPS and those nice words that speak to us and further strengthen our faith when we are tested. My husband will soon be going back to Iraq. Thank you for sending me this email as it encourages me to reach out to others, too, that are facing the same struggles. I want to tell them to keep trusting the Lord. No matter how big and how hopeless the situation may be, God is still very much in action. God is real, and you just need to trust that His words are real and keep hanging on to His promises. It works, and my family has been a living testimony of this over many years!—Atelina, bank manager, Fiji


Thank you, Susan and Peter, for the PowerPoints and the e-mags. I’m sharing them with friends. Thank you again for the wonderful work you and Pastor Peter are doing for our country. You are a blessing! Do stay blessed.—Jokapeci, Ministry of Education, Fiji


Visiting a hospital with Activated member Marlene

I have recently come to Fiji, along with my family, and one thing that I eagerly look forward to every month is your PPS. I have observed that the messages contained in your PPS are highly meaningful and inspiring. Thanks, and do continue the good work.—Venu, insurance company director, Fiji

 


I have had a bit of a difficult year, but I know that with God’s strength and prayers from special people like you, I will make it through these tough times. It is great to hear from you, and I hope you guys are doing well. You are special people who have touched many lives, and I am thankful that one of them was mine. Keep in touch!—Sonja, restaurant owner, Antigua, Caribbean


When you were staying with me during your visit to Singapore, I was wondering about the charity that you told us about. Now that I have read your newsletters, visited the website, and seen all the photos, I have finally understood. Not only that, but I think that you are amazing, as you have changed people’s lives! I will pray that your charity will get better and better and that more people will support it.—Caishi, a student we met while couch surfing, Singapore


You’re doing a great job with your mission work.—Marica, Mayor of Suva, the capital of Fiji


Thank you for your message. I like the information you shared. I only wish there were more Susans and Peters in this world so that the spirit of sharing and caring can become a globalization issue.—A government minister, Fiji


I really would say that both of you are walking angels; you’re bringing so much love and hope to whoever needs it. We would definitely help in whatever way we can.—Lavina, Caribbean


Many thanks for the PPS, they truly refresh the soul and renew the spirit. I have already encouraged some friends and colleagues to browse through your website. Some of them have been amazed at seeing all the exploits you have done for the Lord in different parts of the world.—Dr. Soji, university professor, Fiji


Wow!!!!!! Really I must mention that all your emails are so interesting that I feel like I’m travelling with you wherever you go! Opening and reading through your emails gives me peace and takes away a bit of the stress I feel from day to day. I would really love to meet you both again on your next visit!—Lavina, a university lecturer, Fiji

Category: Weekly Blog  | Comments off
Author: admin
• Friday, May 04th, 2018

posted May 4th 2018

When taking breaks from our full-time charity work in Fiji & other places, Susan & I usually travel in cheaper countries, such as those in SE Asia. However recently we visited Greece, Cyprus & Israel that are all 1st world countries & basically beyond our budget. Israel is probably one of the most expensive places we have ever been to, however the Lord helped us to stay 6 weeks there with no accommodation costs whatsoever!

at the Dome on the Rock, Jerusalem

The story actually starts a few months before when we we were hitch hiking in northern Greece. We noticed we were getting picked up by a lot of Israelis on holiday, all of whom were very friendly & helpful. It turned out that one family that stopped for us was staying at the same guest house as us, & after telling them that we would be visiting Israel in Jan/Feb 2018, they kindly invited us to come & stay for 3 weeks in their kibbutz (commune), in the hills just outside Jerusalem — a wonderful experience!

 

 

Greek orthodox church with olive trees & Sea of Galilee behind

However, we also needed places to stay in other parts of the country, from the Golan Heights in the far north to the Negev desert down in the south, as well as the West Bank, & are happy to say that we were able to stay, usually for 3 nights each time, with 10 different hosts from www.couchsurfing.com — an amazing organization that encourages international friendship & cultural exchange all over the world! We ended up staying with a wide spectrum of people, ranging from orthodox Jewish families to Palestinian Arabs.

 

sharing a meal with our couch surfing hosts in the West Bank

Other strategies that kept our expenses down to a minimum were: avoiding eating in restaurants, (why spend a fortune when you can have a great picnic, often with a spectacular view point?!) Also, hitch hiking — we had thought that this might be difficult, given the political tensions in the area, but in fact the opposite was true & hitch hiking was probably the best we have ever experienced. We have great memories of getting picked up by just about every type of person you can imagine: orthodox rabbis with long beards & dressed entirely in black, military reserve personnel with machine guns & even hippies that offered to share their joints (marijuana) with us! Some days we traveled 200 kms or more, with as many as 8 different lifts, eg when hitch hiking from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea & back, or down to the Red Sea at Eilat.

hiking with our kibbutz friends in the Negev desert

 

All in all, it was a very memorable trip & we wouldn’t have missed it for anything!

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Author: admin
• Thursday, May 03rd, 2018

By Peter and Susan Kingston

published in Good News Blog, Oct 27th 2017

 

We have been visiting Susan’s extended family of nine brothers and sisters in France, which represents lots of looooooong meals where they eat and drink and talk for as long as six hours!!! From there we went to Romania, where we’re spending three weeks. We’re partly staying with Homes and partly using couch surfing and Airbnb. As usual, we’re trying to travel as cheaply as possible—hitchhiking and nearly always eating supermarket foods instead of eating in restaurants, and generally keeping costs as low as possible.

British missionary couple Mike and Theresa invited us to be guest speakers at a school in the Philippines. The students were very respectful and attentive.

Normally, we stay in Fiji for three years if we’re on a residence visa, and six months if we’re on a visitor’s visa. This time, as our six months were nearly finished, we were planning to make a trip to nearby Tonga and then come back again for another six months. However, things worked out differently!

We met a young Chinese-looking girl on our street that had apparently been robbed a week earlier and had no money or passport. A nearby home had taken her in temporarily, but she urgently needed accommodation. After checking her story with the police, we took her in and tried to help her. However, due to her limited English, helping her also involved taking her to the airline office and various Fijian government offices in order to speed up the process of her getting a new passport and plane ticket to go back to her country of origin.

This dragged on for several weeks with very little progress, and in the meantime, some of the government offices took our well-meant suggestions as unwanted advice and started getting upset with us. In the end, they came to our house and took the girl into custody, telling us to end our involvement in the case.

We thought that would be the end of the story, but early the next morning, the girl escaped from custody and came back to our house, seriously jeopardizing our position, which was already a bit fragile. We gave her breakfast and sent her back in a taxi, after which (sure enough!) the authorities came back to our house looking for her. We told them what had happened, and since it was a company taxi that we had called by phone, they were able to validate our explanation. However, the Asian girl had no intention of going back into custody & instead disappeared!

Showing a film of our work in Fiji at a Bible study in Taiwan. We were invited by Marc from Canada (3rd from left), who I last worked with in India 32 years ago!

 

By this time, we were seriously praying if it wouldn’t be better to cancel the planned visa trip to Tonga and instead stay out of the country for a longer time in order for this storm to blow over. On the very day that we were wondering and praying about this, we hitchhiked into town, as we often do, and the foreign lady that picked us up told us she was in the area just looking to see if there was a house to rent. (During the 16 years we’ve hitchhiked in Fiji, this had never happened before.)

To make a long story short, she brought her family round, they liked the house, and decided to move in after a few weeks! The only problem was that they needed all four bedrooms, whereas we only had three available, with the other one set aside to store our belongings. However, even this worked together for good as we quickly went into emergency mode and had several big garage sales to sell a lot of unneeded stuff that we’ve accumulated over the years. To store the rest, we constructed a small attic. Everyone worked overtime, but by our departure date, the house was completely ready and this very nice foreign family moved in.

Since that time, we’ve been “on the road,” traveling and doing programs where there are open doors. The examples in the photos are from Taiwan, Philippines, and Romania, where we’ve stayed with missionary friends.

Showing a video about Fiji to a children’s home in Romania.

 

After visiting our families in Europe, the plan is to slowly make our way back to our secondary mission base in Malaysia, and then eventually to Fiji in order to carry on our charity and missionary work there.

All our work is done on a voluntary basis, so any donations would be very much appreciated! A big thank you to all who have helped over the years, both financially and in other ways. God bless you!

After the above program, we had a fun dance session!

 

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