Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back again.

It's been a year since I have been on here. I don't know where time has gone, begun, or brought me back to where I am. It's weird. I feel like the last year has been a dream. I don't know why I feel like I should be blogging again. I found this old blog and I read the last two entries. My stomache started turning and I couldn't believe I was reading over the words that I wrote a YEAR ago. 1 year ago!!!! That is 300 and sixty five full days. My life was so different then. So now, instead of blogging about being across the world. I blog about being here.

I still miss Fiji every. single. day. I felt so in my element there. I read a post that said we had gotten back from a weekend trip and I was "home." Home- was Fiji for five months. It changed who I was. I don't think my future husband will quite understand me unless I bring him there. I sometimes feel alone in this crazy world. I know I am not. I just think God likes to test me a lot. Or maybe I will just travel the world and help people for awhile after school. Wherever life brings me I am gonna say Jeremiah 29:11 has completely described my life the last year. I have been trusting God to figure out my life plans. Truly I don't know what else to do. I don't know where I will be tomorrow. Let alone a week. I am happy. I really am. I am blessed 10 fold. I trust that everything works out EXACTLY how it is supposed to when it should. In it's own way.

It's weird how 7 hours or thousands of miles I can still miss my family. Here I let work and school get in the way. There it was distance of course...and well, the ocean. It seems no matter where we are in life we put things off..thinking there will always be a tomorrow. We settle. Humans constantly settle for less then they deserve. I am not sure why. It could be our human lonliness. Our desire for a soulmate. Thinking we deserve less. Can't find better. Won't do better. Can't go somewhere. It "can't happen." Let me tell you people. Never EVER settle for less then you deserve and you deserve a lot.

Happiness isn't defined by a person, place, or things. Everyday you wake up and you make a choice to make it a good day or not. I say you choose to be happy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

James 4:8

The sun is up. The birds are chirping. Life is so sweet. Life is so good. God is amazing.

I haven't written on here in awhile. With lack of computer it's been hard. But let me take you on my last journey. Man I am so blessed to be here in Fiji and I am really starting to appreciate and understand how fragile our lives really are.

The last weekend I took a plane to the other main island of Fiji. It was a beautiful flight. I could see islands and coral and blue water like I have never seen before. It was so great. Upon arrival our cab driver named Vikki was our escort for the weekend. Before I go on I must mention that being the only white people on a plane was pretty eye opening. I was reminded that America is not the only place out there and that no offence culture is so much sweeter and rich here. We were visiting our Indian friend Poonam and the whole purpose of the trip was to experience the Indian culture. In Fiji 40 percent of the population is made up of Indians who migrated here as indentured servants. Those here now are about 4th generation immigrants. So we arrived at her house. There was many others there who were getting ready for the weekend festivites cooking etc. At about 8pm the ladies changed into their dresses and begin singing with a drum. Others sat and watched the posters of their gods on the walls. I got to wear formal Indian attire and it was all very exciting. They kept singing and all of a sudden I heard a clarinet type instrument apparently it was their "gods" arriving. I looked over on the side of their house to a candle lit path and about 100 people marching in to drums and this clarinet. There was boys with their shirts off who were the ones firewalking on sunday morning. They marched in and 3 men carried these 70 pound brass things on their heads decorated with flowers. Everyone clappend and swayed to the drums. After about 30 minutes of singing and clapping they sat down to have Indian sweets that her family prepared. All of this took place outside at her house under a shelter they had built.

After the session at her house we went to their temple. We walked around 3 times with everyone clapping. I felt like I was in dream. I saw the fire the boys would be walking across. It was huge and hot! Anyways, We stayed at the temple for about 3 hours. I really had no idea what was going on besides they sat and watched and then music played again and this curtain opened to a shrine type thing I think they called their god. It was at this time I felt very sad. I got super sad and confused at why GOD had me here. I was looking at a little girl who may never know our wonderful savior. I was questioning all night and said a quick prayer wondering why I was here. I went to bed and woke up the next day.

Saturday included a taxi tour of the city. It is a small city that depends on sugar cane. He took us to some temples one that is called the snake god. Hindi's swear by it this rock is growing inside each year in the shape of a snake. We saw a mountain called "three sisters" there was some legend with it from the time of cannabalism. Yes, that occured in Fiji before Christianity was here. Crazy. At about 7 our taxi driver invited us to a Hindi wedding! The weddings last about 3 days and this was the grooms side of it. It was basically music, kava drinking, and chilling. Here God gave me a pretty clear sign I was in the right place and he had me here for a reason. I met a girl who was Fijan and she was in bible school. She was 21 and started talking about her testiomony, faith, God, and being a Christian. It was so amazing. We talked for about 20 min and I was so excited. She said a verse I will never forget. It was James 4:8 and it said "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you...." In the midst of a hindi wedding we were talking about God. It was so amazing. God continues to amaze and surprise me. Also here I got to see for the first time INdians and Fijians interacting TOGETHER by choice. At my school we have 12 countries so lots of races and it is very segregated. So this was a time where I got see everyone laughing together. My new Fijian friend told me that slowly Indians are discovering God. Gave me hope and made my heart smile.

Sunday morning we woke at 4am to see the firewalking. Even small boys walked across. It was interesting and scary at the same time. I am such a worrier so I was worried for the small boys. Everything went ok though. At least I think! They walked across 3 times but before they were whipped and took a bath in the river a few blocks away. They came back with red and yellow powder on them. Most of the time I just watched I didn't always understand or know what was going on. Then we took a plane back home to Suva and It was nice to be home.

This weekend I am going to a Fijian village, caves, and the ocean for a school field trip for 5 days. I am praying I don't get so sick like I did last time I stayed in a village. LOTS of bottled water. etc. I come home in 3 weeks so I am making the best of every moment. I love my life so much. I am so blessed in every way. God is so amazing. I want to start a bible study with Alyssa when I get back in school in the fall. I currently am jobless so we will see what happens when I get home.
I am learning so much about myself, God, and who I am. I learned not to EVER take my family for granted and spend more time with them. I can't wait to hold my baby sisters and give them a hug and kisses. I miss my mom and dad, and cheyenne too. I miss my friends but man this experience has been a whirlwind. Where did 4 months go? I can't believe I am coming home in a few weeks. Only 3!!! It's all so bittersweet.

One last thing. I shared my testimony the night before I went on the Indian trip. It was amazing. I had no idea what I was going to say until I got up there. In front of maybe 60 people I shared about my faith, trusting God, and that he has a plan for all of us. I shared a verse from Jeremiah 29:11 at the end that said this

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

...and thats exactly what I am clinging too...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rainy days in Fiji

It's been a long time since I feel I have updated. Maybe I am taking this all for granted way to much and it makes me kinda sad that I haven't been on or writing in my journal to document everything about my travels as of lately. It's been rainy for about the past week in Fiji and I am ready for some sunshine. I finally feel as if after being here for three months I miss home.

Today we went to our Fijian's friend Seta's house. It was nice to be around family but, I couldn't help but think of my mom on mother's day. Today I was also suppossed to be in a wedding and it made me miss home a lot. I am missing 2 of my sisters being a bridesmaid and a flower girl in a wedding, Mother's Day and seeing my cousin married off. I think it's the rain.

I have been attending this thing on campus called "student life" which is a branch off campus crusade. I was invited 2 weeks ago and found it really comforting. This thursday I am giving my testimony which I am excited for. I am looking forward to coming home but at the same time it is all so bittersweet. I love it here but, am so far from home. I feel like I am missing my sisters grow up and it feels about that time to head home. I know I should be living in the moment and most days I do. The last two weekends we have stayed in Suva. The city where we study. This up coming weekend I will be taking a plane to the other main island of Fiji to a city called Labasa. My Indian friend here is taking me to her ceremony. I don't know what to expect other then it will be super different then anything I have experienced. Today we had a lovo which is a meal cooked in the Earth for those of you who don't know. I got to hold a 3 week old baby for a very long time and for those of you who know me know I am in love with babies so that was probably the highlight of my week. Just sitting there holding this tiny baby. Man I love kids. Good thing I am going for teaching.

I feel so disconnected from everyone back home. I don't want this message to be complaining but, at times I just feel like I have no idea whats going on with anyone. Friends and family. Obviously I know that I am in a different country. I don't know I guess everyone is busy back home. I love Fiji but for the first time in 3 months I have wanted to see my family and give everyone a hug. It's hard being the minority. It's hard also not being able to share some of the most amazing experiences with those I love. God has a plan for me and I must not forget he hasn't forgotten about me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"I need you.. now and forever to stay right here with me... don't ever leave"

I am in love with David Barnes. So I am dedicating this blog to how much I love his music. His music is so inspiring it's amazing. I sat one day at the coffee shop thinking about my life and God and didn't move for 2 hours. I just sat there letting his music and God's love pour down on me. I wouldn't consider him a Christian author but he has 2 Christian songs I think. Right now I am listening to "Until you" I think it's about someone else but I am interpreting it also from a Christian view. Anyways I am so in love with this guy's voice. I think God has given him an amazing talent and he is using it to reach out to other people. I love that he incorporated his faith.
Check out this song on youtube. He is still up and coming! It's so inspiring to watch him sing it reminds me we should all use our talents to better ourself and honor God!

Here is the youtube video :

"love was kept from me like secret" and I am finally discovering completely his never ending love and compassion for me each and everyday!

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Life's a ride...Enjoy it!"

Running.The act of running; traveling on foot at a fast pace; "he broke into a run"

Today I went for a run the first time in a long long time. It was challenging but, afterward I felt so great. During the run of course I questioned why I even like running and then what it is about it I like so I tried to put it into thoughts...

I like running because it's a time thats just mine. It's a time for me to push myself while challenging my body physically and mentally. I can reflect about my day or an issue but, also if I want to just forget about something I can turn my music up loud and just let my legs carry me. I can talk to God where no one can stop me and interrupt that time. It's just mine and his. Sometimes I think that my body is much physically stronger then mentally but I have been working at getting them in sync together. Then I went up this HUGE hill and I hate doing hills. I kept telling myself not to walk and just get up but, the hill never ended it felt so long. All of a sudden I felt like such a "sissy." I was thinking SERIOUSLY I can't run 40 min and not feel tired and people like Tom can do an ironman. I reminded myself to stop thinking negatively and just do the best I can at that moment. My mom always told me "Meyer's NEVER give up" and for some reason that saying has stuck with me my entire life. I just repeated that once to myself and then I went on my merry way.

Today I was running and thinking about God and just how amazing his love is for us. Running in Fiji is like EONS different from running at home. It's like creep feast 2009! Not many people here run for fun unless your a tourist. So I really stand out. Actually I feel like so many more people at home workout but, maybe here it's just in different ways. The women of the villages work so hard at every other task I don't see how they would even have time or energy to work out. So anyways I got gawked at and was beginning to feel a bit like a item you purchase. I tried staring at the ground to make it go away but, I still felt all the people staring guys and girls. It was so weird. Then I passed 3 bus fulls of middle schoolers. SWEET right? I could hear all them yelling at me even through my headphones and I wanted to scream "READ YOUR BIBLE JESUS LOVES YOU!!!" but I didn't I held it together despite my many almost breakdown moments at the Fijian gawker.

And to end the post. Today I saw on a car (which I must say I have never heard of many of the brands of cars here) Around the license plate it said "Life's a ride. Enjoy it" So that is exactly what I am doing.

"So what's next?"

"We should all be working constantly at using our talents to better the world. We are but a sea of one defined not as Pacific Islanders but by the space that surrounds us."

This quote came from a memorial ceremony I attended tonight at the USP campus where I attend school. I was not prepared for it but, was so compelled and moved by this experience tonight. I got an email saying the ceremony tonight should be attended in lieu of my cultural class that is held each Monday. I didn't know what to expect other then there would be performers. I was PLEASANTLY surprised to say the least. It was the most emotional and touching experience on campus so far. Makes my top five so far in Fiji. I got there to find out that the person who started the center of the arts here on campus passed away earlier this year and it was a dedication/memorial to him. I still didn't know what to expect but, sat back observing. Soon though my whole body was involved. I was listening so intently and I felt "in" the moment. I can't describe it to anyone except what this man was saying was so beautiful.

It started with an opening prayer (which I LOVE that they pray here for everything) the pastor talked about how the sea units us all no matter what land we are from and that each country is tied together with the Earth and global issues. He said we are "one" and no matter if our blood line is Pacific we are all the same. He went on to briefly discuss this amazing mans life and then stated that we are to use our gifts to reach out to others. I was so moved and hanging on this mans every word. I can't imagine how it was when Christ was alive himself and talked. God was really working through this man... I wish I could remember his every word it was so beautiful. Then about 4 girls and 3 boys entered the stage and danced a memorial dance. AND actually the song they were singing to was the man singing who had passed away. IT was so beautiful he was singing only as I can relate to you all as Hawaiian/Pacific islander music with the windpipes in the background. The people danced and cried at the same time. Their arms and legs moved in unison and flowed like a petal in the wind almost. It was amazing. I was so drawn to their emotions/ movements.

Next 6 people recited poets. I am not much of a poetry fan but, it was nice to hear what these people wrote.

After this was a man who had invented this instrument called the "bampipes" I think.. it is 7 things of bamboo and he hits it with a metal thing that looks like sole of a shoe. He played this music with other wooden instruments and a few more people and it was beautiful. They sold their CD and some of us bought it after. I am so excited it's so "islander."

More dancing followed by this dance group and I couldn't stop watching them. They did a warrior dance and then a final dance. We were all so intrigued I almost forgot where I was... OH YEAH FREAKING FIJI!!!!! I must mention also that during the instruments I whipped out my bible and read Corinthians in the middle of it. I felt so compelled and motivated. haha so me though huh? It was so relaxing.

The last song the musicians played was called "the first" because how he explained it the last of something is always the beginning of something new... it's the first. Lastly, his wife came up and I will leave you with a quote she said...

"Just because a drop from the body of water is gone doesn't mean the body can't keep living thriving, breathing, prospering." or something to this extent... I related this to Christianity as in just because Christ isn't here doesn't mean we can't stop seeking, spreading, and searching for the Lord.

I am in such a thoughtful... mood. I can't think of the right words to use at this time.

(something I learned at a Fijian Church)

SO I ask you today "What's next in your life?" What will you make of today?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Taveuni Spring Break 09'

One of the best spring breaks (or mid semester break as they call it here) that I could have EVER asked for. I wanted to blog about it before I forget all the AMAZING things I experienced and saw on this trip. First going to Savu Savu it was like my own little piece of paradise. We took about a 12 hour boat ride that turned into a 14 hour boat ride from a wharf in Suva to a place called SavuSavu. The boat was called the "Sofi" and it has a story of it's own. When you first board these massive boats you are excited to be at sea. A few hours later your curled up in the fetal position wishing you were safe of land. The boat which is the most rocky out of the 2 boats that leave the wharf in Suva was a journey I never want to experience again. I do not get motion sick or sea sick but this put me over the edge. I ordered dinner and couldn't even eat it because I couldn't walk to the food and then when I got to the table I literally could not sit up and eat it because my little body was getting thrown around! I tried walking back to my room and I hit a few walls and railings. A few other side notes to mention. The water on the boat is brown don't know why it was gross though. Along with no soap to wash your hands for almost a full day! YUMMY! The boat smelled of sanity wipes and animals because I must say that we had live pigs on the boats (no freezers in economy class to keep the meat fresh! SO they had to keep them alive ...also YUMMY!)

Upon arrival in SavuSavu we were wiped out from no sleep basically and checked out the quaint little port town on the ocean. The island was very green and volcanic only a small preview of Taveuni that was yet to come. Walked along the shore to find our lodging. A small cute little "house/bed breakfast" in the village. Of course the nice normal looking hotel was not ours but our cute little one would do. It was quaint and quiet...or so we thought! Until the rooster wouldn't stop crowing and the pack of dogs outside wouldn't quit fighting. I must say I had the most delicious meal in fiji so far consisting of lobster tail in butter with Kokonda which is raw fish in coconut milk with chopped cucumbers and tomato with a hint of cilantro. I actually loved it and I hate raw things especially sushi. Went to bed for a few hours and woke up at 4am to catch the rest of the gang headed to Taveuni.

Boarded another boat called the "sullivan" which we find out has stabilizers and is much safer. SWEET. I was a little sad that the rest of the group didn't have to experience the 30 foot waves but, then really I wasn't cause that was the worst! The Sullivan was a relaxing 6 more hour boat ride to Tavueni. MY FAVORITE place in Fiji so far. It's a volcanic island also known as the garden island of Fiji. it was fabulous to say the least. Words and pictures really don't describe the beauty of this place. The people were amazing and kind, beautiful as always. Such big hearts.
Upon boarding the ship we saw Kyle and his sister Katie, Katie's Fijian husband Timote' and their two mixed kids Zion who is 2 1/2 and Eden who is 1. We loved playing with the kids all weekend. Zion has the curliest black and blond highlighted hair you have ever seen he looks like a baby model and is all boy. Eden is a precious little girl who made all of us want to steal them and take them home. Kyle and Katie are our coordinators. It was so nice to see them! We actually found out that Kyle (who has a wife, baby and another on the way) is only 25!!! Only a couple years older then some of our group. I hope my mom isn't reading this haha he is like our age. We love having young coordinators they are so much fun.

Upon arrival I was so excited. I have never seen so many palm trees in my life! They have plantations of them. Taveuni used to be a Copra export. Which is the meat of the coconut they ship to mills and make coconut oil! Now things have changed but Taveuni is a wealthy place. We dressed in swimming suits and found a "mini bus" to drive us all. A mini bus is like basically a handicap van back home...little bigger then a normal van. It fit all 14 of us in. Don't ask me how cause I don't have a clue but I have a video of it. Our drivers name was Seio and he was a cool chap. PLayed loud music and had no idea what he was getting himself into with all of us. We pulled up to a grassy area and hiked for about 10 min. Got to what looked like Rapids and kyle told us we were sliding down them. I was like oh man this doesn't look safe!!! But the rocks are smooth and the rapids throw you down them!!! It's what they call a rock slide. So you have to cross the rapids first and then you climb up river more then you get in. The current is super strong crossing and you don't want to get thrown down the river cause some areas weren't safe!! But Katie a girl in our group was crossing and Seio wasn't ready to help her yet and she fell down the rapids. The current just swooped her up in it. We were all laughing till we looked at Kyle who was like "oh shit shit shit" (excuse the language) and she flew by Josh who was futher down and Josh tried to grab her but she was to slippery. We were worried she would hit her head on the raging rock rapids but she grabbed on a rock and Seio ran down to save her. The Fijians are fast and have Fijian feet that are rough and can run over rocks and water without hurting themselves. It's kinda like dog pads cause they never wear shoes. Shoes are rare here! Which I love! So anyways he rescued Katie and she was alright. What a champ walked over to us smiling and we were all so worried about her. So once we all crossed the raging rapids safe we went down the rocks that are meant to be slid down on. This was super fun and scary all at once. I magaged 0 bruises! GO ME!

So after the rock slid we went to our huts. Little Fijian huts on the coast is where we Stayed. I think called tavu tavu in a place called Matai. It was nice and we had the rest of the afternoon to relax, shower, and nap. For dinner we went to a pizza place and it was amazin!

The next day woke up early and made breakfast. We headed off to Bouma National Park for waterfalls, fun pictures, and a hike up a mountain. It was amazing and beautiful, adventoruous, exhilerating, all in one. Before we went snorkeling which I must admit was the most AMAZING snorkeling I have seen my entire life. Beautiful reef and fish. I loved it and soaked it all in. The water was a bit rough so I took a break and collected tons of shells on the beach. I played it safe and thought my mom would be proud of me for not drowning myself! We had lunch and I met a girl from the Peace Corp. She had started a school down in taveuni and I was envious of her living the dream. She also lived right next to a perfect!

That night we had kava and lovo for dinner (meal cooked in ground) It was delicious. We sat around and talked and I was almost embarressed to go to bed at 8:30 fighting sleep! IT was nice company and I was loving my time here. We enjoyed Zion and Eden and I realized how much I adore kids and want some of my own but also was reminded how much of a handful children were and that I would enjoy my life and if God wants me to have my own children and husband someday he will provide. Seeing how Kyle talks about his wife and Katie&Timote together made me realize how amazing God is and how he brings people together for a reason. I really love how amazing God is to us! It's so great.

In the morning we woke up and headed to the International dateline. This was super cool. I was in 2 days at the same time!!! MY Right side was Friday and my left side of my body in Saturday. It was surreal... as everything here is. Took pictures of it too! We then went to an old church where the first Fijian missionaries had set up a cathedral. I think it was Catholic because of the holy water but they didn't have signs. Kyle told us that the first missionaries were killed and eaten because Fiji had Cannibalism. It was weird to think about. Poor guys just trying to share God's love. Fiji has a super knarly dark past of cannibalism and chiefs but, Thank the good lord he has been found in Fiji.

One thing I wanted to mention. something I love about being here. (There are lots but this is one cool thing) That many Fijians here have shirts with verses on them that they are allowed to wear in school. I remember in high school we weren't allowed to wear stuff like that. For the most part there are many strong Christians here but it's a different kind of faith. I am not sure how to explain it. It's like they are MUCH closer spiritually to God then any American I know. They really feel the lord's presence. But they also feel the devil here too. It's because like in the States we are attacked by the devil by materialism, money, jobs, TV, etc. and in Fiji they don't have any of that. So they devil kind of reaches them in different more moving real ways. I think of it like in Fiji they are closer to the equator then in the US and in a spiritual way they really feel both God and the devils presence. It's super hard to explain and I don't know how to get my point across but if you saw what I see here you would know exactly what I am trying to say. It's a really good thing they know God because our Lord is so good and with him the devil can't reach us if you have accepted God into your life. I continue to pray that Fiji continues to feel the lord's presence.

SO anyways after the cathedral we boarded the boat once again. I was so sad to leave but, I hope to go back some day soon. I loved that place.
The ride back was much smoother on the Sullivan in case you were wondering :)

So now I am back in Suva and I have so much to do but I can't think right now. My mind is a million other places then my math homework which makes me realize how much I still hate math. I feel really disconnected from my home life of reality but I know soon I will be wishing I was here again. Fiji is like food for the soul, mind, and body. It's seriously healing. If I ever get sick with Cancer and treatment isn't working I want to die here. It's SO peaceful. Your soul feels free and alive. It's like Fiji is healing medicine. You don't think about problems in your head or in the world it's just you exist in God's paradise. I can't even begin to think what heaven will be like! I exist here and all I have to worry about is myself and living. I wish my parents could come here. I think they would love it. Someday I will pay for their plane tickets. Although my dad would hate the heat. I would live here if it wasn't so far away. Maybe though I will have to see where God takes me. I really love life and I love God I love myself and I know what I want and where I am going. It's like looking into a crystal ball and not caring what the future holds. I feel like for the first time I trust God COMPLETELY and fully and I love it. I don't have to or need to worry about who what when where or how. I will just live and love and Fiji brings that out in me. I am changing so much and God is using Fiji to mold me into a better person for myself and for others.

It's food for the soul and I am loving every minute of it.