Last Saturday was the annual meeting of the Gospel Trust. Many of our faithful supporters from New Zealand made the trip here--- some for several days, and others for a couple of weeks. Ruth Harland (back row left) is the daughter of Vivienne Harland, founder of the deaf ministry here. She and her son Rowan arrived with a suitcase filled with educational games, art supplies and teaching materials, along with gifts for the student her family sponsors. While here, Ruth led devotions in the junior boys hostel, and delighted the main hostel children with a wonderfully creative craft of sewing and painting their own cloth bags. Her son Rowan (tall handsome guy with the red hair) is a computer wiz, and helped us with a web site. He patiently attempted to teach us ‘non-techies’ how to use it. He even taught Jim a few things he didn’t know about his iPhone!
Next to Rowan in the photo are Sue and Russell Neate, who also sponsor students here. Sue brought over some new recipes and did some cooking with the hostel staff, while Russell, our ‘fix it man’ checked out the school and hostels. His focus this time was on fire alarm systems. Russell usually has a long list of projects awaiting him when he comes to Fiji! This year, he and Sue decided it was time to replace the old refrigerator, and they did just that, to the delight of all the hostel staff! Russell also keeps track of our student sponsorships, keeping communication lines open, reporting on progress, and updating photos for sponsors---- not an easy job, with a growing student body and frequent changes. Russell is also a gifted speaker, and gave a wonderful message on Naaman at the chapel on Sunday. Next to Russell is Phillip Gilchrist, a creative architect, who presented some ideas to the trustees for building a new hostel. His father John (back right) made the trip with Phillip and his family. Phillip is married to Fiji Indian Sarita (front center), and they have two children (front right), who enjoyed spending time with the children in the hostel. Sarita shared her amazing story with me over the weekend, about how God worked out the family’s visit to Fiji--- all above and beyond expectations! (That story needs it’s own blog!)
Sylvia Sales, next to Sarita in the photo, is Ruth Harland’s cousin. She lives in France, but is formerly from England. Sylvia did some individual reading with some of our older students who came to us late. They enjoyed their special time with her, and have already shown improvement in reading. And finally (left front) are John and Cheryl Wood, also sponsors for two of our students. Cheryl too, brought over many games and supplies for the school and hostels. She also led devotions in the senior girls hostel while here, and helped with Ruth’s craft activity. John wears many hats in the Fiji Deaf Ministry. He is the Harland Trust Secretary. He also handles overseas donations, and helps with sponsorship and newsletters. John has helped too, with planning for a new hostel. He also speaks in churches in New Zealand, giving updates on the Fiji Deaf Ministry. All of these folks lead busy lives, yet faithfully continue to donate their time, talents, and support to the ministry here. We are grateful for all that they do, and for the encouragement they have been to us throughout the years.
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