Archive for the Category ◊ Weekly Blog ◊

Author: admin
• Sunday, March 01st, 2020

Attaching a recent ‘Good News Blog’ article about our recent adventures:

posted March 1st 2020

 

The miracle smart phone!

By Peter and Susan Kingston (normally in Fiji)

For a long, long time, Susan and I resisted the omnipresent, surrounding pressure to buy a smart phone. Even though we saw everyone else using one, we didn’t want to end up walking along the street texting instead of looking where we’re going, or glued to our phones at times when we would normally converse. Besides, we reasoned, the screen area is so small that it would require searching for glasses each time we would like to use it!

I don’t know if we ever put our thoughts into words, but our inward prayer was to the effect of, “Lord, we don’t like smart phones and we certainly don’t want to go out and buy one, but if You think it’s a good idea for us to have one, then You arrange it! Amen.”

Some months later, our Fiji visa ran out and so we made a faith trip to the Bahamas to get out our remaining stock of CDs and DVDs that a friend had kept in storage for us for several years. We had intended to come back the following year to distribute them, but life has many twists and turns, and due to some serious medical crises, it actually turned into five years that we had all these boxes in storage.

When we took stock of the actual number of products we had, we were shocked to see that the total was close to 600—much more than we had previously thought! The person storing them in their house was now planning to move and suggested we throw them away, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to do that, and so prayed that we could make a final road trip to the Caribbean to get them all out.

As we prayerfully looked at the map, the Lord led us to take 300 CDs and DVDs to the Bahamas, where we’ve made two previous visits and have done a lot of drug awareness programs in schools. The remaining CDs and DVDs we would then try to distribute in the Bay Islands, off the coast of Honduras, and also in Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America.

The morning after we arrived in the Bahamas, we began hitchhiking into the capital to save the expensive taxi fare. Within one minute a car stopped, and pretty soon we started talking about our mission. The driver and his friend were fascinated that not only were we missionaries that knew the Bahamas very well from our previous trips, but that we were stepping out totally by faith and expecting to find hotels that would donate free accommodations. They asked us if we had a smart phone to contact the various hotels. We said, “No, we’re basically just walking around, going from one to another to another.” They consulted among themselves and said, “OK, we want to get you a phone, as that could really help you!” They abruptly changed directions and took us to a mall, where they proceeded to buy us a smart phone and to charge it with enough gigabytes to last our whole stay. Imagine: they spent US$150 on total strangers in order to help our missionary work. God bless them!

Thanks to these kind souls, we quickly found out that having a smart phone is actually a real help, especially with GPS. Now, it’s so much easier to find the location of places we’re going to. And if we need to find a restaurant to provision lunch, our GPS gives us a whole selection of places to go. Plus, we’re able to instantly connect to Wi-Fi networks without having to set up our laptop.

To finish off the Bahamas part of our account, we’re happy to say that after a few days of hotels providing one or two nights, we were given a donated apartment for one month, right in the centre of town, which was ideal for reaching the whole capital of Nassau. And although it wasn’t very easy, we succeeded in getting out all of the 300 CD cards and DVDs.

It was a similar story in Honduras and Belize, with the other products, except that these places are not so affluent as the Bahamas, and even though we dropped the asking price from $20 to $10, it was still a big request for some businesses.

We found that one major obstacle in all the countries we visited was that, compared with our previous trips to the region five years back, a lot of people told us that now they no longer used CDs or that they no longer had a DVD player. Instead, they just download everything they need from YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, and other sources, and consequently, they now view CDs or DVDs as antiquated.

We discovered a good solution to this was to find a kindergarten that still has a DVD player and then suggest that people donate a DVD or CD to them, which we can either take to the institution or they can deliver it personally. This worked quite well, and so in the end, we managed to get out every last CD and DVD!

At the end of it all, we had to face the facts that the world has changed and the DVD era has almost come to an end. However, the Lord is not limited, and instead, He has other new and exciting ways of supplying our needs. In addition, we need to be up to speed with ever-changing technology, so as to better relate to the people we’re trying to reach.—And that includes having a smart phone!

 

 



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Author: admin
• Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

posted Nov 26th 2019

 

map of central America, with arrow highlighting Belize

Since leaving Fiji earlier in the year, Susan & I have been fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit central America, & are presently in Belize! Besides visiting ancient Mayan ruins deep in the jungle & some of the amazing islands off the coast, we’re also offering free drug prevention programs in the primary & secondary schools.

 

 

 

 

Belize is a really special country: it’s the only English-speaking country in the region & used to be called ‘British Honduras’ before becoming independant in 1981. It has the smallest population of all the countries in central America, with only 408,000 inhabitants.

map of Belize

The population are a mixture of African, English & Hispanic peoples, with additional newer arrivals from China, India & other parts. We’ve also visited large Mennonite communities, who trace their roots to Dutch & German immigrants & some of whom still move around in horse-drawn carts!

As stated earlier, our main purpose in coming to Belize is to do drug prevention programs in the primary & secondary schools. Drugs are a major scourge throughout the Caribbean & Central America & if, through our audio-visual programs, we can help some young people to avoid this trap, then we feel that this is something really worthwhile to dedicate ourselves to.

Here below is a radio/TV interview that we did on Nov 25th in San Ignacio in western Belize…..

https://www.facebook.com/maximumhighlights/videos/2383829158501352/?t=0


 


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Author: admin
• Monday, August 05th, 2019

posted August 5th 2019

To finish off with, we want to include a Fiji Times newspaper article about our book distribution in Kadavu schools.

Here is the the text, along with some more photos:

Early this month, Pacific Outreach was in Kadavu giving out library books to fifteen schools on the island. The fifteen schools are: Vunisea Secondary School, Richmond High School, Kadavu Provincial Secondary School, Ratu Nacagilevu Primary School, Nabukelevu District School, Nabukelevu I-Ra Primary School, Richmond Primary School, Tavuki District School, Yawe District School, Eliki Memorial School, Drue District School, Navikadi Primary School, Yale District School, Namalata Central District School, and a box was sent to the island of Galoa.

the lovely Fijian family I stayed with

Director Peter Kingston said the organization brought boxes of library books from Australia to be donated to schools in the interior & the outer islands of Fiji. He said these books are collected from schools around Australia.

 

 

“So we collect these library books & find a ship to send them for free because this is a charity project”, he added.

pushing our boat out of shallow waters

Mr Kingston said their priorities are cyclone-affected schools, burned down schools, & new schools that are opening. “Every year we collect books & find needy schools to donate them to. We are happy with the response from the people. They are very appreciative & thankful for the project. I think it is a great way of lifting Fiji through education”, said Mr Kingston.

 

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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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