Jim and I left Fiji in April this year, just before the end of first term. Our only daughter Erin was married to Garth Altringer in May, over the Memorial Day weekend. It was a beautiful family celebration at Castle Hill in Newport, Rhode Island, with perfect weather. Brothers Brendan and Ryan, Ryan’s wife Mary, and their daughter Annaliese made up the wedding party, along with Erin’s close friend Rachel from college days. Peter Blackwell, Erin’s uncle and elder at Bethany Gospel Chapel in Swansea, MA, performed the ceremony. Erin and Garth now live in Berkeley, CA.
Just before we left Fiji in April, the annual general meeting (AGM) was held at the Coral Coast Christian Center, with three days of planning and meetings. Board members Russell Neate and John Wood came from New Zealand, joining local board members, faculty and staff, and deaf adult fellowship leaders.
Decisions were also made on renovations to the present main hostel, adding a much needed bathroom, water tank, and laundry room. Russell Neate works hard on every visit, seeing that repairs are done to the hostel and all is working properly, and up to safety standards. Russell also added a new fan to the main hostel living room, making it much more comfortable for the 25 plus children often gathered there in the Fiji heat and humidity. Russell’s wife Sue also made all new curtains for the hostel on her recent visit. We are so grateful for all the support given by so many who volunteer their time and talents!
The AGM ended with a Sunday worship service, where Russell based his message on a plaque he saw on the wall of the main hostel: Look back, and thank God; look forward, and trust God; look around, and serve God. A simple, yet powerful message---- and great way to live.
When you think of us, please pray:
---for educational and spiritual growth of our students and staff
---for unschooled deaf in the villages, that they would be reached
---for the building of the new hostel
---for the right person to take over as director of the deaf ministry
We also want to add a praise for Robin Hartley, from Bethany Gospel Chapel in Swansea, MA. Robin, a faithful supporter of the Fiji Deaf Ministry, has been to Fiji several times, teaching art in both the school and hostels. Her husband Charlie has also done ‘after school’ art projects with students, and provided training for maintenance staff on caring for vehicles. Robin and Charlie recently ran a fundraiser at their chapel, which raised all the funds necessary for new playground equipment for the school. Many thanks, Robin and Charlie!! The new playground is presently under construction, being built by Mesake--- the first deaf student found by Mrs. Harland at the start of the ministry.
Jim and I plan to return to Fiji in July for a few weeks, and then again in October. 3