Nomads on a mission!
by Nakeke Alumeci
Material wealth means little to this couple, who put their faith in the Lord to provide as they travel the world preaching the gospel
Imagine living out of a suitcase decade after decade, with no place to call home. Peter Kingston, an Englishman, & his wife Susan who comes from France, are two such people. For the past 30 years, they have relied on the mercy of others & their faith in God as they have served as missionaries in India, Nepal, Africa, Bosnia, Fiji & other Pacific islands.
But when they first started out on this path, their relatives disagreed with their decision. ‘Our families admire us because of what we are doing, but they also think we’re a little bit crazy. Nevertheless they have accepted it over the years & have come to respect it’, said Mr Kingston. ‘At the same time, they think that living by faith is a crazy way to live because you don’t know where you are going to stay & don’t know where you are going to go, & for them that is something to worry about. They can’t relate to that but for us, with our faith in the Lord, it is a challenge but not a problem.’
They have 2 children who are 18 & 16. They accompanied them to Fiji twice, but when the children became teenagers they decided to stay in France & continue with their studies, so they are presently staying with relatives. ‘They are happy to be in France & we are happy to be in Fiji, but when we go to France in April, we will spend a few months with them to catch up’, said Mr Kingston.
The Kingstons do not belong to a particular church, but describe themselves as missionaries who are interdenominational. ‘I am a professional missionary, I gave my life to the Lord at 18 & before the Lord called me, I did a teacher’s training course & studied science. I finished my diploma & passed to go to university & do a degree in physics & electronics, but I had to make a choice so I chose to follow the Lord’, he said confidently.
‘And I do not regret that, because the Lord has made us travel all over the world & we have been to so many interesting places & met wonderful people; we have the satisfaction of helping them in their lives— and for me, that is the best profession.’
Mr Kingston believes the Lord called them to go into all the world & preach the gospel to every creature & at the same time to look for projects to help people, like bringing them books, medicines or other needed items. The couple have also met difficulties along the way because sometimes there is sickness, or complications at airports, but the most difficult thing is not having a house or a home anywhere. ‘We do not have a house in England or France, so we live out of suitcases & that can be tiring. We came to Fiji on invitation & stayed with a headmaster in an Indian primary school’, Mr Kingston said. ‘We made more friends & then had places to stay for one or two weeks at a time.’ Last year, after preaching in a church, the Kingstons were invited by someone to stay in their house for as long as they liked & so they stayed with a lecturer who is now spending time in NZ with his family, ‘so right now we have the house to ourselves—rent free.’
The couple said food was not a problem because MH donated $300 vouchers for 6 months & this year it had increased to $500. ‘Vodafone puts $25 airtime on our phone every 2 weeks, Coral Sun gives us free transport between Suva & Nadi whenever we want, and Fintel & Skynet give us internet time’, Mr Kingston said gratefully. He said a number of restaurants also helped them with free meals at times. ‘What we do when in a new country is that we go to some of the restaurants & explain to them that we will be in the country for 2 months or 3 months on a voluntary basis, & request that they help us once a week with a meal—but some of them discontinue helping after some time’, Mr Kingston said. ‘However others have remained faithful & they have been giving us food for maybe 4 or 5 years now & we have become friends & have gone to their house; they’ve also come to visit us, & so these people have developed from contacts into regular friends now.’
The couple organizes programs in schools, colleges, hospitals, prisons, orphanages & handicapped centres. One of the programs is titled, ‘How to make money & spend it God’s way’, which is about being motivated, having goals, working hard & knowing what to achieve. ‘Once people earn money, you find that many just waste it. They don’t look for the bargains; they just buy whatever’s on the shelves, along with junk food & other soft drinks that are supposed to be juice but are not juice. They play computer games & in general don’t use their money wisely’, he said. ‘They buy bottles of water when free water comes out of the tap. Sometimes people do not seem to know that you can get better deals from the supermarkets on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays.’
After the programs, we challenge students to come up with 10 to 15 ways of making their money last longer & this can really transform their lifestyle. Because it is a different approach, people really like it, especially in institutions. They also have health programs on the danger of smoking & drugs, as well as a DVD about Bible prophesy & how it is coming true in the world today, called ‘Countdown to Armageddon.’ We also have a Christian magazine called Activated that promotes good health & relationships & gives advice about how to have a happy life. We do not belong to any particular church but we work with any church that believes in the Bible.’
The Kingstons also have book distribution projects with the Rotary Club in the Pacific Harbour—Deuba–Navua area, as well as at Suva Grammar School. Altogether more than a 100 educational institutions in Fiji were visited & just a few months ago they became a charitable trust called Pacific Outreach Fiji. They’ve conducted similar projects in Vanuatu & have just received 27 boxes of brand new Christian/educational books from the US, along with colouring books for children, CDs & DVDs; also six boxes of educational books from the Rotary Club. ‘We have already done distributions at the Homes like Dilkhusha, Happy Home, Boys’ Centre, Prisoners Children, the hospital, the women’s prison & Nukui village school’, Mr Kingston said.
The couple lives in Fiji for six months & the other months they travel to other Pacific island countries or visit their children back in France. ‘Each year we get a round-the-world ticket as this is the cheapest & most economical way to travel. We usually get the cheapest ticket in the cheapest season’, Mr Kingston said. ‘With this ticket, whether we visit one place or 12 places, it is the same price. Last year we spent four months in Vanuatu, at other times we’ve visited Tonga, so it is a very good deal & only costs F$3500 to go to all those places in one year.’
This Christmas they have also been presenting Christmas gifts to Homes & underprivileged children & say they are continuing to carry on with the work God has assigned them.