Students at GSD are blessed with many international visitors. One special visitor, Matthew Adedeji (center in photo), came with two friends from England to run our annual Easter Camp. Matthew, originally from Nigeria, was one of the original founders of GSD, along with Vivienne Harland, back in 1999. He headed the school for three years, before moving to England, where he founded Evangelical Mission To The Deaf. This was his third visit to Fiji.
Tina and Bryan (pictured with Matthew), also work with EMTTD. Tina served as song leader, and Bryan was the MC at camp. All three are deaf. Matthew, a humble and gentle man, lost his hearing at age 7. From a Muslim family in Nigeria, Matthew became a Christian at age 16, through Andrew Foster, who founded 35 schools for the deaf in Africa. Andrew was the first black deaf man to graduate from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. He was a mentor to Matthew, and also baptized him. Matthew is passionate about his faith. He was the key speaker at the camp, and drew a large crowd of over 70 deaf students and adults. Matthew has a heart for God, and for helping the deaf. At camp, the deaf attended seminars, participated in discussion groups, and enjoyed playing rugby and volleyball. The theme of the camp was ‘The Power of the Cross’, based on Matthew 27. Below is a photo of the campers, after attending Easter Sunday services.
In addition to our visitors from England, we also had Russell and Sue Neate, John and Cheryl Wood, and Ruth Harland Marshall with son Peter, all from New Zealand, along with Ruth’s cousin Sylvia Sayles from France. They all led in some Bible teaching at the hostels, along with some crafts. Children in the main hostel made a beautiful ocean wall hanging. All of the girls in both hostels were given new summer dresses, sewn by friends and supporters in New Zealand. A few of the girls are pictured here, wearing their new dresses.
The New Zealanders were all here to attend the Annual General Meeting, held at Coral Coast Christian Center, at beautiful Pacific Harbor in Deuba. Joining them this year was Dr. Rick Clarkson, from Rhode Island, USA. Rick worked for 29 years at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in America, with Jim and Marilyn, and later became Headmaster of West Bay Christian Academy for 12 years. He is perhaps best known by students for his magic tricks, which were a big hit at GSD, both in the school and in the hostels. He kept everyone spellbound! Rick was voted in as trustee at the annual meeting, along with Hostel Director, Tema Toaisi.
Russell showed plans for a new hostel to all the staff, in both school and hostels, and everyone had opportunity to give their ideas for the new building. At the annual meeting, trustees also had their input. The three days of meetings were productive, and it was a good time of fellowship as well.
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