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February.

Dear Friends and Family,

 

Super Cyclone Winston.
As many of you have heard, the largest Tropical Cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere tore through the Fijian Islands on the weekend of February 20th, 2016.

The Storm was incredibly unexpected. It literally passed Fiji and was out of sight, then somehow it flipped around like a drone missile and changed coarse, swerving back towards the target. There was almost no warning for many of the locals, except for looking out the window and seeing the clouds. Many natives had a number of hours to board up windows, hunker down, and prepare their families for the storm.

Because of Visa limitations, when the storm hit I actually wasn't on the island, but my friend and ministry partner Dawson was.

My visa to stay in Fiji expired Feb 18th. I had to leave Fiji and return to the States on a Thursday night because it is immigration policy that I had to leave the country in order to renew my visa. I was also scheduled to come home and attend our quarterly Mission Fiji Board Meetings.

However, Dawson still had one week left on his Visa. His flight was scheduled for a week after me. With knowledge that the storm system had already passed Fiji, and was traveling out to sea, Dawson and I decided it would be fruitful for him finish his last week spending time with the families we had been serving, rather than changing his ticket and leaving with me.

So my day came, Thursday the 18th, and I boarded the plane in route to the U.S. and Dawson stayed for one more week.

Then, like a bad dream, I reached Los Angeles California and heard the major Storm System that had passed Fiji, mysteriously flipped 180 degrees and was now on course to devastate the Fiji Islands on February 20th.

I called Dawson as soon as I heard the news. He was on the bus heading back to the village and had already heard some information about the Severe Weather Warning. 

There was no where for Dawson to go. The airlines had been shut down and he was on the bus to the village. He decided the best option was to take shelter in a Pastor's cement house that was tucked into a small valley half way up the side of this mountain near our village. It was protected from flooding and had protection from wind. Dawson remained there all night with a few families where they prayed, worshiped God, and actually had a very special time. It turned out the major force of the storm seemed to miss our side of the island.

However, on the other side of the island winds up to 200 mph raged through the northern part of Viti Levu as Cyclone Winston wrapped from East to West around the Fijian chain of islands, then headed south into the open sea, but not without leaving behind a wake of obliterated villages.

Our Village.
I am relieved to report that Nabila village was on the edge of the primary storm zone; on the SouthWest side of the island, sustaining very little damage. It was somewhat protected from the highest winds of the storm and very few homes were damaged and no one was injured. Crops were destroyed and power will be out for what could be weeks, but in comparison to other areas, Nabila Village was very fortunate.

A large portion of the Northside of the island and other small remote islands in the channel between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu were not as fortunate. In Fact, Government Officials have reported that over 40 percent of Fiji's entire population has been critically effected by the storm.

Entire villages were scraped clean leaving over 60,000 people in evacuation centers (that are very limited). Hundreds of villages are now without homes, clean water, electricity, and at high risk for disease and malnutrition due to the destruction of crops.

(Statistics from Australian Online News Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyclone-fiji-idUSKCN0W20C0?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews)


 

Local Villages Taking Action.


Many people in my village have families that were in critically damaged areas. In response they have begun to gather food, clothes, supplies, medicine, and whatever they can give to bring to other villages. I was so proud to hear the sacrifice and love that has been pouring out of my village.

 

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

2 Corinthians 1:4

Local Church in Momi Village.


Our Action.


During this difficult time, Mission Fiji will do our best to strategically organize our resources and network to find the best ways to help  the Fijian Communities that we have been serving for over the past two years.

I am very excited to help resource our village and families to be a source of blessing to their native communities. They are in a great position to help.

I know its not a coincidence that we are based where we are.

I believe God is going to shine brightly in the midst of this suffering (a common theme in scripture), and I am grateful to be able to be a part of an organization that will find ways to serve and help the people I love. Thank you to everyone who is a part of our Ministry during this critical time.


Feel free to email me any questions or ideas if you feel inspired to help. 

Sincerely,

        Seth and the Mission Fiji Family

Tropical Cyclone Winston

Nabila Village Location


On the map (above)


There are two big yellow islands on the map. The bottom big island is Viti Levu, which is the island I am on. 

If you look on the west coast you will see a red dot which marks the city Lautoka. Now follow the coastline south and the next town is called Sigatoka, which is pretty much on the edge of the red impact zone of the storm.

My Village is on the coast, near to Sigatoka. This storm diagram isn't 100% accurate but it is close, my village was just on the edge of the Storms impact zone.


Momi Village (next to Nabila Village) 
- Fortunate to be in good condition.
 


Koro Island. 

Small island in the channel that received the full force of Cyclone Winston.
Pastor Dan, who is one of our local Ministry leaders is from Koro island. His family and friends have very likely lost everything. Communication is broken between these remote villages so we are waiting to officially hear how they are doing.

We are praying for his family and hope to make a visit this year to help begin the process of rehabilitation.  
North Side of Viti Levu.

Back in the U.S.A. 

I am back for a visit the States and hope to accomplish a few things before returning to Fiji.
 
General Agenda before returning to Fiji:


Mission Fiji Board Meeting.
 
  • Make a plan in how to respond to the Storm damage.
  • Cast vision for a discipleship/pastoral training school. 
  • Plan and fund raise for our "Fiji Moms" effort to serve single mothers with kids.

Spend time with our Sending Church:
  • Lifeline Community Church in Salt lake City, Utah

Visit Ecola Bible School in Oregon. 
  •  Gain some guidance and mentorship in how to organize our discipleship/Pastoral training school.
Live Normal for a minute.
  • Hopefully Bus some tables on the weekends and generate some money for when I return to Fiji.
  • Rest and Recoop. 
  • Enjoy sleeping in a bed with clean sheets:)

Vision For this Year.

 

Duavata:

School of Discipleship and Pastoral Training

Create a community on the hill
where we can train local leaders to live out and teach the Bible with integrity, and discern false teaching that has led to damaging religious oppression.

Serving single mothers who lack
resources to provide for their children.

Prayer.

 

"And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety." 

 

2 Corinthians 1:11


 

1. Fijian Relief Effort.


- Pray for God to pour out his love and compassion to fill the hearts of the leaders who are organizing relief efforts.

- Wisdom, knowledge, team-work, and unity would characterize the service efforts.

- Remote villages will be reached with communication and relief.

- The government and other relief organizations will be resourced to meet the needs of the people. 

 



2. Mission Fiji's role in the relief.


- Wisdom in decision making.
We need God's guidance so that we can serve in a way that will be healthy long-term for the communities.  

- Pray that we can help the villages tap into their own resources that are sustainable to help create thriving communities.

(examples: help rehab farms, create jobs, create benefitting relationships between local services and local churches.)
 



3. Discipleship.


- Through all these efforts, new relationships would be formed where people learn how to LIVE IN the Kingdom of God, through a daily relationship with Jesus.

- The Word of God will be taught with passion and integrity. 
 



4. Pray for the Missionaries.


- Pray that God will keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil as we spend time in the States. (Matthew 6:13, 2 Timothy 5:11-12)

- Anoint our lips to preach and teach the Word of God and the Good News of the Gospel. (Acts 1:8)

- We would take on more of the mind of Christ and His character. (Philippians 2:5) 

- God will grow us in our prayer life and reliance upon him. 

 

Ultimately,


 "That a movement of Discipleship and love for Jesus would ignite in the World." 


 

Donate.

Help Support the Mission

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. "


1 John 3:16
 

www.missionfiji.org


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