Landfall

Recently I saw an ad for an Australian clothing company, R.M. Williams.  This name is as familiar here, particularly with men’s clothing, as Stetson or maybe Brookstone Brothers is in the States. (I don’t really know because we hardly ever buy name brands).

Anyway, it’s just a man walking.  All you can see are his boots. The narration goes like this:

“The average person will take 216,262,500 steps in his lifetime.  That’s 110 thousand kilometers, or 4.4 laps around the earth.  However, it’s not the number of steps that matters, it’s where they take you.”

And then the camera pans up to the well-known and adored face of Hugh Jackman, complete with his “Greatest Showman” smile.

But already the information has taken hold by then, “It’s not the number of steps, but where they take you.”

Our steps have already taken us to a heap of pleasant places. This last Monday we left the Fijian churches in the capitol city of Suva and bucked and galloped our way in a tin boat across a shark filled strait over to a deserted (almost) tropical island just off the coast of the mainland. The ‘crossing’ of 45 minutes was so rough that even though my feet never moved from where they were twisted around a pole, my phone app recorded that I had traveled a little over 4 kilometers and climbed 4 flights of stairs.  I guess you get points for tensed muscles, screaming and holding on for dear life!

Where it ended up was as idyllic as the pictures we’d seen and we were able to settle in and begin sloughing off layers of tension. There is no TV on this island, and it’s graced only with a modicum (pun intended) of internet, next to the office, at certain unpredictable times in the day. The electricity stayed on the whole time, but water was sporadic; hot water even more so. And the daily meals are announced with a drum. If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. It was one of the best weeks we’ve had in ages. You know what I mean? Those times when the biggest concern the whole day is whether or not I’ll get the soap out of my hair before the water goes off.

This morning I sat for almost an hour and just thought about the goodness of God. And in this reflection, I realized that it’s become so apparent that God brought us here to this marvelous island country of Fiji.  I can’t reiterate enough how much I’ve been impressed by these people’s relatively unfettered lifestyle and love for God. I hope to return home tomorrow rested and rejuvenated.

It might be a good thing because this next couple of weeks we both face a battery of exams from specialist doctors. We’re not sure what’s going on with either of us; we both feel fine, but some of our numbers are skewed, so further investigations are necessary.  Also the school board that Tony’s been enjoying so much is now, well, not so much fun, thanks to a few well-meaning but totally uninformed critics who have made it their mission to bring the school down. They won’t, but I expect there will be plenty of stresses waiting for us when we get back.

I had to chuckle at this morning’s Bible reading, from 2 Timothy 3:6-7.

For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

I guess some of these problems have existed since the dawn of time!  I’d just like to say that we’ve been glad to be mostly been out of internet reach.

But now the reality is back.  Thank you for your prayers as we travel home tomorrow.  If you will, please pray specifically for (1) a peaceful resolution down at the school, (2) some good news from Tony’s specialist, and (3) a handle on what’s causing my own lab numbers to keep bouncing around.

We love you all, and appreciate so much that we can know you’re praying for us, even as we remember you in our own prayers!

Love ya,

Marsha

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