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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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Author: admin
• Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

posted May 24th 2017

reprint of a recent news article from the Good News Blog, featuring our work in Fiji in late 2016….

April 24, 2017

Posted by gnb team

By Peter and Susan, Fiji

During the last months of 2016, we made trips to three of Fiji’s most cyclone-damaged islands, Koro, Vanua Balavu, and Taveuni, in order to donate books to all their schools.


In March 2016, more than 40 people died when Cyclone Winston, the most powerful storm to make landfall in the southern hemisphere, smashed their schools, houses, churches, roads, and crops. A huge tidal surge, up to four meters high, compounded the losses for many villagers. (See before-and-after photos here.)


being escorted by friendly local police!

As is the case with any such project, the actual giving of 72 boxes of books was the tip of the iceberg; the story actually began several months earlier when we asked the Ministry of Education of Fiji for a list of top-priority schools after the devastation brought about by Cyclone Winston. We also owe a debt of gratitude to friends in Australia who went around collecting the books on our behalf, and also to Chris Park in Melbourne who organized the sending of the boxes of books to Fiji.

 

The target community of the project was primarily the thousands of children whose schools had been severely damaged by the category-five cyclone. Every school we visited had lost its entire library of books, along with shelves and roofs.

students help transport the boxes by wheelbarrow

 

The main difficulties to overcome were logistical ones. For example, we encountered problems in finding trucks available to transport the books, because there are very few vehicles on these islands and most of them are already reserved in advance or need repairs. We also needed a boat to visit two outer islands, Avea and Cikobia, but there weren’t any available on the day we preferred, and then on the following days boats were available but the sea was too rough to go anywhere. But the Lord provided a solution. We left boxes of books for two schools with the closest available school and they will transport them on the next available boat.

high school students with new books

 

The goals of the project were reached, and in addition it resulted in some very positive news articles in Fiji’s main newspapers, as well as on Fiji One TV news.

Donating to these village schools also provided a big psychological boost to the whole community, giving them the sense that they’re slowly returning to their normal lives again. We received many messages of thanks along these lines.

Fiji Times news article on our work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Category: Weekly Blog  | Comments off
Author: admin
• Saturday, February 25th, 2017

posted Feb 25th 2017

Towards the end of last year, things were so busy that we hardly had time to brush our teeth!!! Here are 2 stories from the last part of the year that we didn’t find time to put on our website…..

Sanjiv musical event!

Our good friend Sanjiv has continued ‘fighting the good fight’ despite his being in a wheelchair & also stuck in a long, drawn out compensation case that’s taken 7 years so far….In order to help pay for his weekly medical needs, Sanjiv took the bold initiative of organizing a musical event, with local big names Noa Junior & Umlesh Polo in fierce competition to be the best bhajan band in the Pacific!

Susan in action selling lottery tickets!

What with paying for the bands, renting the hall, printing the tickets & all the other costs, the profit margin was extremely thin, & so hopes were pinned on a lottery to bring in some extra funds. Susan volunteered to go around & sell the lottery tickets & astounded all present by getting just about everyone in the audience of mostly Hindi-speaking Indians to buy a good amount! Everyone agreed she was totally amazing & this helped greatly to make the evening a success.

 

 

 

Visit to Yanuca Island Primary School

While hitch hiking into town one day, I was picked up by Mere, who told me that she was closely connected with a needy school on Yanuca Island. She said that if we were able to give books to the school, then she’d be able to bring us in her car to the boat jetty in Pacific Harbour & organize the boat travel there & back.

Glenys, Joy, Peter on our way to Yanuca Island!

A few months later, Australian Joy (who’s been a tremendous help in sending many of our boxes of books from Melbourne over to Fiji), was visiting us, along with her 71-year old aunt, Glenys. We decided it was a good time to make a trip to Yanuca Island to help their school.

 

After a one hour trip to the boat departure point & the 45 minute boat ride, we were warmly welcomed by the head teacher who took us on a tour of the school. We were pleased to see that he strongly encourages reading by opening the library early every morning & that children are already gathered there waiting.


The book presentation was really a joyous occasion as we were treated like VIPs. The school children showed us their traditional songs & dances, and afterwards we were treated to a fantastic Fijian lunch with all kinds of sea food — what a great day!

reaching the school...

Category: Weekly Blog  | Comments off
Author: admin
• Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Posted December 11th

arriving in Vanua Balavu

After Koro, Vanua Balavu was the second most severely damaged outer island after Cyclone Winston. It’s part of the Lau group & is serviced by a weekly ferry, plus it has a grass airstrip, like Koro, with weekly flights.

 

 

 

A big ‘thank you’ to George Goundar, of Goundar Shipping that donated transport of the 21 boxes of books on the Lomaiviti Princess ferry. This time, we took the Fiji Airways small propeller plane & waited for the shipment of books to arrive 2 days later.

Giving the boxes of books to the 8 village schools was an unforgettable experience: children that have gone through such a lot, in badly-damaged schools that are still in the middle of reconstruction, yet remain so cheerful & thankful for any help that comes their way.

donating 5 boxes to Adi Maopa Secondary School

 

The logistics of going to the different corners of Vanua Balavu was challenging, but head teachers were very helpful in arranging boats, trucks & wheelbarrows. We even carried out one day’s school distributions in the island’s only police car!

Getting back to Suva was also an adventure as planes can only operate when the grass airstrip is dry…..& on the day of our departure, there was light rain! We went to the tiny airport & checked in, but were then notified 2 hours later that the plane had been cancelled & to wait for the next one in 1 or 2 weeks!! Luckily, after lots of phone calls, another plane came to the rescue after 3 days & we made it safely back home to Suva!

To finish off with, here’s a 2-minute news clip from the Fiji One TV news that gives a summary of our trips to both Koro & Vanua Balavu:

Fiji One TV news clip

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