For many years, we have been praying, and trying to acquire land to build a new hostel for our students. Renting three homes over the years has been costly!
One of our rentals, located on Belo Street, is owned by the Gospel Trust. It borders the campus of Gospel High School, and is adjacent to the athletic fields. (A perfect location!) The house is old, small, and needs work. We presently house 5 Junior boys, an adult couple, and 2 staff members there.
It was a dream of Vivienne Harland (ministry founder), about 14 years ago, to purchase this property and build a new hostel. The Belo Street house has been used by the Gospel Trust for a variety of ministry needs over the years. When it became empty a few years ago, we acquired permission to rent it for a hostel. Meanwhile, we have been looking to purchase land, to build a new, larger hostel. But nothing seemed to be working out. Another option we considered was renovating and enlarging the Main Hostel, but that lot, being small, had more limited building options.
Our Board Chairman, Howard Politini, and Secretary Taitusi, along with “The New Zealand Three” (Ruth Harland, John Wood, and Russell Neate), also Board Members, worked hard to move things along, to get permission for us to build on the Belo Street property.
This past weekend, all the Gospel churches in Fiji came together for a meeting. Jim was asked by Vivian Nainoca, Council Secretary, and also member of the Harland Trust Board, to give a presentation on the Deaf Ministry at the meeting. The Council unanimously agreed to allow the land to be used for a new hostel building, and the go ahead was given.
The new building will provide housing for all the young children and Senior girls, and the Main Hostel will house the Junior and Senior boys----and we will be rent free.
We praise God for this wonderful answer to prayer!
We finally made it! The 32 hour journey from Rhode Island to Fiji became 36 hours, when we learned that our flight from Nadi Airport to Suva had departed the day before we arrived. Yes, we missed it! All other flights were full, so we had to take the 4 hour bus trip instead. When purchasing tickets, we had forgotten to account for the day lost when crossing the international dateline. Oops!!
Then, instead of the usual Fiji sunshine, we came back to what has been a long season of rain and drizzle--- but we didn’t mind all that much, since it made for cooler temperatures and lower humidity; comfortably pleasant for us, while the Fijians donned their winter caps and jackets!
We also arrived to an immaculately clean and neat house, thanks to the hard work of Assistant Head Teacher Donald Reece and the Junior boys in his care, who had been living there in our absence.
She told how her mom (also a teacher at GSD) had read to her daily, and gave her a love for books and learning; unusual, in that Fiji is not a reading culture, and deaf are still often considered not worth educating. She joked that her gifts as a child were never toys, sometimes clothes, and ALWAYS books---- which she now treasures in her own library.
Lots of stories---- each life precious in God’s eyes.
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