Fiji, Yasawa-i-Ra

Location Yasawa-i-Ra

MISSION STATEMENT (OCT 2014 FOR 2015 TRIP)

  1. Short Statement for UMVIM website

Yasawa-i-Ra, Fiji 2015 – Fibre Boat

With the blessing of the General Secretary of the Methodist Church of Fiji, a group of Fiji- and US-born Methodists in California is raising funds to help purchase a 23 ft boat for the transportation needs of the Division of the Fijian church that covers four islands in the Yasawa archipelago.  This mission, scheduled for July 2 – 12, is intended to coincide with delivery of the boat, join in celebrations and lay the ground work for future mission trips to the area. It is intended to be a mission of acquaintance, education, fellowship and fact-finding, to determine the needs of these island communities, and to formulate a plan for return visits based on needs as may best be defined.  It is modeled on the origins of the Fiji Navuniyaro UMVIM mission, which started in a similar exploratory vein and for several years now has provided basic medical services, bible school and construction assistance to that village and surroundings in the mountains of Viti Levu.  Some of these elements may be incorporated even into this first Yasawa visit if deemed feasible.

Our core group of five would welcome three to perhaps six additional persons with any interests or skills that seem appropriate.  Anyone of good faith can and should apply (you need not be a Methodist), realizing that the goals of this first mission are relatively unstructured and open to ideas and initiative. Patience and comfort with a certain lack of structure will be needed.   It will be wonderful to have the participation of any interested teachers and medical professionals.  (Actually providing medical services in Fiji requires planning and paperwork to obtain government permission.)  Accommodations on Yasawa will be very simple, usually in people’s homes.  Expect little to no electricity or indoor plumbing.


Background:

The Yasawa Group is an archipelago of about 20 small islands at the far northwest end of the greater archipelago that constitutes the nation of Fiji.  It is also the seat of the Yasawa-i-Ra Division of the Methodist Church of Fiji, comprising four sub-divisions each headed by a Talatala (Pastor), who with nine Vakatawas (Stewards) together serve about 1900 church members in 13 villages.  The distances between these villages are as great as 20 miles (by boat), and it is 50 miles to the closest sizable population center, Lautoka on the northwest coast of the large island of Viti Levu.  Transportation within the Division is therefore difficult, and can become impossible at times of emergency, because the Division has no boat of its own.  Everyone must depend on boats of the tourist trade (there are about a dozen small resorts) and other private owners.  Travel on these craft is expensive and subject to pre-set schedules and availability.  A new boat for the Division (purchased in Lautoka) will cost about US$15,000 and such a boat could ferry Talatalas and Vakatawas between villages, children to boarding schools, sick and injured citizens to the health center (on one of the islands), fish and vegetables to sell in Lautoka, supplies from Lautoka, and congregants to special church events, trainings and other gatherings.

Year 2014 is the Jubilee of the independence of the Methodist Church of Fiji, and the first two weeks of October will see celebrations of this event in local Divisions followed by a three day gathering at Davuilevu Theological College, the Seminary of the Church, located in Nausori which is a short distance from Suva, the capital, at the southeastern end of Viti Levu.  This gathering will most certainly include prayer, services, meals and fabulous singing.

Goal

Yasawa-i-Ra 2014 is intended to be first-of-all a mission of acquaintance, education, fellowship and fact-finding, to determine how best to assist the Division with its dream of owning a boat, to help formulate a longer-range plan for achieving this goal, to explore how Division leaders and congregants might seek matching funds from local sources, to determine the other needs of these communities, and to formulate a plan for return visits.  It is modeled in large part on the origins of the Fiji Navuniyaro UMVIM mission, which started in a similar exploratory vein and for several years now has provided medical services, bible school and construction assistance to that village and surroundings in the mountains of Viti Levu.  Longer-term goals for Yasawa-i-Ra are indeed to assist with getting the boat, to help with bible studies, to provide medical services, and to assist with other needs as may best be defined.  Some of these elements may be incorporated even into this first visit if deemed feasible.

Who can/should come

Anyone of good faith can and should apply, realizing that the goals of this first mission are relatively unstructured and open to ideas and initiative. Patience and comfort with a certain lack of structure will be a virtue.  We already have a core group of 4 (two of whom are Fijians who currently live in California) and would welcome three to perhaps six additional persons with any interests and skills that seem appropriate.  It will be wonderful to have the participation of any interested teachers and medical professionals.  (Actually providing medical services in Fiji requires some planning and government permission; i.e. paperwork.)

Fiji Yasawa-i-Ra Final Narrative Report


 

Trips
Dates Trip

Additional Details

People Served 1900 Church members in 13 villages