Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission
July 2009 - December 2010

Nasinu 1st Ward

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Report of Mission

Fiji Suva Mission Report
Dave and Becky Seare
Sunday, January 9th 2011

We were so happy to see Luke Stoddard and his wife,  Chase Nay with Fiance and Parents and Irene Reeves!
 We were called to the Fiji Suva Mission and served in the Mission office in Suva.  Fiji is made up of over 300 Islands.  Viti Levu is the largest and Suva is the Largest city.  Our Mission also included New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Our time in Fiji was one of the most life changing experiences of our life.  We are grateful for the opportunity we had to serve for the past 18 months.

As I think back on our mission two words come to mind.   “Gratitude” and “Blessings”.

I am personally grateful for the events that lead us to Fiji.  Two years ago this month we were in the South Pacific on a Vacation.  Our final stop off was Fiji where we spent 2 days before our departure for home.  While there we learned of a need for a Missionary Couple to serve in the Fiji Suva Mission.    I will never forget the experience of those two days.  With very little discussion between us about the matter we both came to the same conclusion and followed the same promptings that we needed to serve a mission at that time in our lives and that we should serve in Fiji.   We both felt the same about it at the same time.   As soon as we returned home we immediately started the process.  In July of that year we were on our way.
There was never any doubt in our minds that we were doing what our Father in Heaven wanted us to do at that time in our lives.  We never regretted our decision nor did we ever look back.

We will be eternally grateful for the opportunity the Lord gave us to serve Him in Fiji. 

We are grateful for this experience and for the things we learned.  We were blessed beyond measure as we served.    We learned things we could not have learned in any other way.  We loved serving together. 

Fiji is a very 3rd World Country and we were humbled as we met members of the church there and as we sat in their Humble homes but felt of the great spirit they radiated.   They had very little in worldly wealth but had far more than us in Spiritual wealth.  We were always in awe of how little the things of the world meant to them and how much the things of the spirit meant to them.  Their families were strong and they learned to rely heavily on each other. 

We are grateful to have been able to serve the missionaries in our Mission.  As we arrived in Fiji and met with President and Sister Ostler we were asked to take care of the missionaries by meeting their Temporal needs.  We worked as a team in this responsibility.  Becky was to attend to the Medical needs of the missionaries and Dave attended to the other needs of their day in and day our living.  We made a concerted effort to improve the living conditions of the missionaries thus improving their physical and spiritual health.  Dave also took care of all of the mission vehicles and phones.    We were on call 24/7 attending to these needs but we were greatly blessed.  We were able to get to know the missionaries on a 1 on 1 basis.  Although we grew weary at times with all the crazy phone calls we got from them, we grew to know them and love them in ways we would never have had.    We still laugh about some of the calls we received.  They varied from “Sister Seare I cut my finger” to Elder Seare I just rolled our truck down the mountain”!

I would like to share a couple of stories of blessings that came to some of our missionaries because of their willing service.

Elder Taburuea was an Elder from Kiribati,  A very small island in the South Pacific.  When he arrived in Fiji he did not know English nor Fijiian.  He had to learn both of these languages and was blessed as he “pressed forward with a steadfastness in Christ”.   Not long after he arrived in Fiji he became very Ill.  The nurse prior to me got him medical help and it was found that he had a congenital Kidney problem.  Had he not gone on a mission he would have become very ill and because of the lack of medical help in his little Island he would have died.  As it was,  while on his mission he was able to have the problem diagnosed and resolved.    He knew that he owed his LIFE to the service of our Heavenly Father.  As he bore his final testimony the day before he was to go home he testified with tears in his eyes that his life was spared because he served a mission.

Another Elder was a native Fijian, Elder Kalougata.  He was a loveable tall Fijian but was always complaining of aches and pains.  I took him to the clinic so that I could put his mind as ease that nothing was wrong.  Dr. Lavenia examined him and had x-rays taken.  She called me in to relay the findings,  She found nothing on the x-rays that would explain the aches and pains but that she was a little worried about his vision problem.  I was shocked,  I didn’t even know he had a vision problem nor did he.  We took him to the eye specialist and found that he had a cataract and that his vision out of that eye was almost gone.   He remembered back at a time when he was 14 that he got hit in that eye with debris while using a weed wacker.    That was the cause of the cataract.  Through approval of the mission he had surgery to repair the cataract and restore his vision 100%.  He also knew in a very humble way that had he not served a mission he would have gone blind in that eye.

My final story is that of Sister Pariyar.  She was from Katmandu in India.  What a beautiful young sister she was.  She served her mission in Vanuatu.  About 6 months into her mission she began complaining of foot pain.  She was taken to a couple of doctors in Vanuatu but nothing was found to be wrong.  Medical help there was very minimal. She was told she needed to wear different shoes.   For the last year of her mission she got up every day and went on with her work.  Some days her feet hurt so bad she could barely walk but never used it as excuse to not do her missionary work.  She was probably the single most effective missionary in our mission.  She was responsible for over 53 baptisms.  The President had to tell her that it was not required that she have a baptism every week.

At the end of her mission she came through Suva before going home.  Sister Ostler asked if we would take her to the Doctor I used a Suva Private Hospital which I did.  As she was examined, x-rays taken and blood work done it was found that she had 7 of 10 criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis.  It was devastating to look at the x-rays of her feet.  All of the toes of both feet had serious irreparable deterioration.  We were able to extend her visa and get her started on the necessary medication to begin  necessary treatment.  None of the doctors in the Hospital in Suva had ever seen anything like it.  Through Contacts, including the Arnolds we were able to find a Doctor in Katmandu that could carry on with the treatment.    We talked a lot about the seriousness of her illness wondered what her future would be.  With tears in our eyes we talked about what her illness meant but also shared testimony that the Lord would not forget all the days she got out of bed and carried on with her work even when her feet were too painful to walk.  We know beyond doubt that she will be blessed.

Missionaries are blessed and are taken care of.  Our family was blessed and taken care of in our absence and we heard story after story of families of missionaries being blessed.

Another experience we had that we will be forever grateful for is the opportunity we had to meet our dear sister, Neelam.  Neelam is a 38 year old Hindu woman with 4 children and a husband who is muslum.  She has believed in Jesus Christ her entire life and has waited for 20 years to gain permission from her husband to become Christian.   We were blessed to have been one of her links to becoming a member of the church.  We met her and she was interested in what we believed.  She told us that she had looked into many other churches but didn’t feel right about any of them.  She wanted to know what we were all about.  We contacted the missionaries in her area which happened to be in our ward, and had her taught.  We joined them in the teaching and felt her spirit as she absorbed what we had to tell her.  He husband granted her permission to go to church with us and eventually consented to her Baptism.  What a wonderful day that was as Dave had the opportunity to Baptize and Confirm her in the presence of her husband and 2 daughters.  We spent the final 9 months of our mission spending as much time as we could with this wonderful family.   We did not see any of the other members of her family go to church or be baptized but we saw their lives change.  Neelam had the faith that if she could wait 20 years to go to church she could wait another 20 years to have her family joint her.    She believed strongly that “nothing is impossible in god’s eyes.”   As we became close to her  we had many heartwarming discussions with her about her faith and testimony of Jesus Christ.  Her favorite hymn in the hymn book was “Count your Blessings.”

This has become one of our favorites as well:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one.
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? 
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessing every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold. 
Count your many blessing; money can not buy,
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessing; name them one by one. 
Count your many blessings; See what God had done.
Count your blessings; name them one by one. 
Count your many blessings; See what God had done.

She is a special spirit in our Heavenly Father’s eyes and we are so grateful to have become a part of her life and to be accepted as part of her family.  We love her very much.

We would like to express gratitude to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ for the love we feel from Them and for the blessings that he has poured out upon us and our Family.  We have been blessed beyond measure.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with.  Our mission changed our lives and our relationship with each other forever.  We will forever be indebted to our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ for this. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Mission

Our Mission

As we stared out the window
The tears still in our eyes.
We saw the faces of those we love
We just said our last Goodbyes.

The ride was long and tiresome,
As two questions played our minds.
Do we want the life that’s up ahead,
Or the one we're leaving behind?

18 months is such a long, long time,
For going so far away.
And our reflection, we thought to ourselves,
There must be another way.

We dragged ourselves down off the plane,
And the world was within our reach. 
When President turned us the other way,
 "The Temporal Affairs of Elders we must meet"

Is it, reflecting once again,
As this day is our last.
Please Lord, it isn’t fair.
The time is gone by way too fast.

And we stare out the window,
The tears again in our eyes.
We see the Elders, Families, and Friends we love.
And we just said our last good-byes.

The ride home is long and tiresome,
As two questions play our mind,
Do we want the life that’s up ahead,
Or the one we left behind?

(paraphrased from a poem of one of our Elders)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nasinu 1st Ward Goodbyes

We gave our going home talks in church today.  It was tough as we looked out over the members of the ward we called our Home Ward for the past 16 months.  We have grown to love these people and they will always be a part of our lives.

Our talks went well.  We were both filled with emotion and expressed gratitude for all the blessings that have come to us and the things we will miss here and the things we will take home with us.  This ward will always be a part of us.

Following the closing prayer, to our surprise,  the entire congregation stood and sand "God Be With You Til We Meet Again".  Wow, what a "tear jerker".  We had no idea it would be so difficult to say Good-bye.  Watching Milika Taito and her girls, were crying so hard they couldn't even sing.  Milika has been our Bestest Fijian Friend Forever.

Nasinu 1st Ward

Pillai Family

The Singh Family

Tevita and Lomani Kacibalavu

Mereisi Talemaitoga - Best Gospel Doctrine Teacher Ever!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Night out with Kastelers in Fiji - Til we meet again in Utah!

We went to a movie with the Kastelers tonight then they took us to Dinner at our Favorite Chinese Restaurant.  Although we knew of them before our mission, we have grown close over the past 17 months while here in Fiji.  We have been so glad to have them here with us.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Fun Pictures

Lunch with the Missionaries
Flooring Department at Courts!
Making Cakes and Celebrating Missionary Birthdays!
Just Hanging Out at Denarau

Everyone loves watching the Island Dancers at Denarau

So Cute!

Dave makes friends everywhere he goes

Teaching Neelam about the Finer things of Life

For Neelam's Birthday we gave her a book about Our Story! She was overwhelmed and said it was the most wonderful, unique gift she has ever received.  She Loved It!

31 Days to Go!

Everywhere we go we run into Missionaries!

Celebrating Neelam's Birthday at Denarau
We are down to our last month here in Fiji.  Time is going quickly and we both agree that this is a fun time of our mission for us.  We have been able to think back on all of the things that we have experienced.  We laugh a lot about all the crazy phone calls we have gotten from sick missionaries and missionaries who try to explain how they wrecked their vehicles.  Of course it was never their fault!  We both agree that we will be glad to not have to deal with some of the headaches that have come with our jobs here but we also agree that we will remember this experience with fondness forever.

Last weekend we were in Nadi for Church.  At Sacrament meeting we met 2 couples traveling here from California.  We visited with them for quite a while after Church and began sharing stories from our mission.  Later that evening they looked us up at the hotel we were staying at and invited us to go to dinner with them.  We continued to share experiences with them and told them stories about our mission.  Yesterday, they came to the Temple here in Suva and we went downtown with them afterwards for lunch and to show them the city we have grown to call "HOME".  As we shared with them we realized how much this experience has become our life for the past year and a half.  All of the difficult times took a back seat in our minds and we remembered and shared many wonderful experiences.  We have realized more than ever how grateful we are for this experience.  Was it "hard"?  Yes, very hard but has it been "worth it"  most definitely.  We have learned through our lives that the things that really make us happy and that make a difference in our lives have not been "EASY".  This is one of those experiences.

We had the chance this past weekend to celebrate Neelam's Birthday with her in Nadi.  She is now working at the Jack's in Denarau.  She has been there month and is already earned the "Employee of the Month"  award.  She is a very special person.  She is waiting for her family to join her the first of December.  This journey for her has not been easy but we continue to reassure her that her Heavenly Father will guide her through her journey.  The thing we have learned through our experience of meeting her and her conversion is that things like this experience don't just happen by chance.  Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us as individuals and he gives us opportunities that we would never dream of.  We both believe strongly that Neelam is one of the reasons we came to Fiji.  There are many reasons we feel that we were guided here but we can't help but feel especially blessed to have been her link to joining the church.   As we hear of many experiences of conversion it builds upon this belief we are guided into the lives of others when we would least expect it.  It all happens with a purpose.  Our job is to recognize the opportunities and to take advantage of the opportunities as they arise.  What a blessing our experience with her has been in our lives.  It will be very difficult to say goodbye to her and her family.

As we approach this point in our mission we have become very reflective of all the things we have done, the experiences we have shared and  people we have met.  Although we are so excited to return home to our family we are also feeling very nostalgic. As we look back over the past 17 months the one word that would sum up our experience is "Gratitude."  How grateful we are for this opportunity in our lives.  We have been blessed in so many ways.  We have grown close to and have learned from people we would never have had the opportunity to know.  We have seen things we would never have had and we have had many life changing experiences. The blessings that have come to us and our family are unbelievable.

We have felt the love, support and prayers from family and friends.    We look forward to being back home with great anticipation.  (31 days to go!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mission Tour, Elder Hamula and Diwali Weekend

The Sunderlage's
Breakfast with Ronald McDonald

Today is Diwali here in Fiji.  Diwali is the biggest Holiday of the year in the Indian Culture. It is some type of an Indian Religious Holiday which we don't really understand.  All we know is that President and Sister Ostler gave us the day off and closed down the office!

Everyone dresses in the traditional Indian Saree or Kameese.  Houses are decorated with lights like we do and Christmas, only Fijian Style.

The evening skies light up with fireworks.

Yesterday was our big Mission Tour Day with Elder Hamula, from our area Presidency.  All the missionaries in Fiji came to Suva for the conference.  We were richly fed by the words of Elder Hamula and President and Sister Ostler.

Following the Main Conference we met as senior missionaries with Elder Hamula.  What an opportunity for us to meet with him and feel his spirit.  He let us know in no uncertain terms how much we are appreciated and how much our families will be blessed for our service.  Something we have already experienced.

We also fed all 80 missionaries.  Since Dave and I were it for the catering of the lunch,  we got a little help from our friend and Guava.  We had them make chicken salad sandwiches and served them with chips, bananas and ice cream bars.  It was simple, delicious and almost no work.

We have 2 new mission couples here in Fiji who attended the Conference.  The Sunderlages are serving in Taveuni and came here for the weekend and the Tait's are the new ITEP missionaries at the college.  They live right next to us.  We have had a lot of fun visiting, eating together and just getting to know each other. We have a great group of senior missionaries right now.

They have not yet found our replacement yet.  We are wondering who will carry our load when we leave.  I guess that is in the Lord's hands.

Elder Cegaudrau
Elder Cegaudrau,  the missionary who hurt his knee has had quite the struggle with his recovery.  It is going to be a long slow recovery because of the extensive damage done to his knee.  He was told by the Physiotherapist that he will never be able to play Rugby.  This is huge for a Fijian who see's Rugby as his life.  He is struggling to keep his spirits up.  We remind him that the Lord takes care of his faithful servants and that if he does his part as a missionary the Lord will bless him.  I take him to therapy 2 times a week.  It is draining on me to see him struggle to take even a small step but our goal is to have him off crutches and able to get around better by the time we go home.  We have grown to love this young man and feel it a privilege to be able to help him through this difficult  process.

Needless to say we are keeping busy,  time is going quickly and we are satisfied and happy with the work we have done here.

We Love the Lord and are so grateful for the experiences we have had over the past 18 months.