Fiji: Pilot

"This is us... and all the way around here... Fiji. You can't get any further away before you start coming back." For a long time, everything I knew about Fiji I knew from Jim Carrey's simple and sublime description in one of my favorite movies, The Truman Show. I didn't know a lot, except that if earth was the golf ball Truman holds up, Fiji would occupy a tiny dimple far, far away on the opposite side of the ball. There was something else too: that to Truman, Fiji represented opportunity and adventure and a change of pace from the complacent comfort of his lifestyle and community. I'm happy to share that I have been given an incredible opportunity to change pace a bit and serve as a student missionary representing Walla Walla University and the Seventh-day Adventist Church at a small school on Mana Island in Fiji. I'd like to share some basic information about the island I'll be living on and the work I'll be doing. I'll make it quick. What I know so far:
  • I'll be leaving August 15, 2018 and returning March 20, 2019 (about seven months)
  • I'll be working at the Mana Island Seventh-day Adventist School, the only school on Mana. Since it is primarily a resort island, many of the families work at the resorts and their children attend the school.
  • Mana Island is one of 20 small land masses making up the Mamanuca Islands, a volcanic archipelago about 20 miles west of the main island of Fiji. Mana is a little less than two miles lengthwise, and under half a mile across.
  • The school is operated by several local employees with help from visiting student missionaries. Last year, Pacific Union College had two student missionaries on site consistently and Walla Walla University had one. I think this year will be the same way.
  • As I understand it, my work may include building chicken coops, gardening, working on an incomplete house (potentially the one I'll be living in), and performing other maintenance and upkeep tasks, as well as teaching a class or two.
  • I'll be living by myself in a small house on the school property. The house has no electricity, but it does have a toilet and shower (although I've been told that the shower water is salty and showering under the runoff from the roof during a downpour is a significantly better experience).
  • I'll be drinking rainwater.
What I don't know:
  • exactly how to build chicken coops for the chickens of Mana Island, Fiji
  • what the chickens of Mana Island, Fiji will be like
  • what kind of plants and vegetables I'll be growing
  • what (if?) I'll be teaching
  • how many classes or students I'll be teaching
  • how often I'll be able to post, message, or call
  • how exactly I'll keep in contact with friends and family, but we'll figure it out when I get there
  • what my mailing address will be
  • who the student missionaries I'll be working with are
  • how often I'll write and share blog posts—hopefully a couple times a month
Where the heck is Fiji?
  • all the way over here
  • or, about 1,900 miles east of Australia (Queensland)
  • about 1,300 miles northeast of New Zealand (North Island)
  • about 3,000 miles southwest of Hawaii
  • Fiji is part of Melanesia, a region of Oceania neighbored by Micronesia to the north, Polynesia to the east, and Australasia to the south
Cool things of note:
  • Robert Zemeckis's Oscar-nominated 2000 masterclass of filmmaking Cast Away starring Tom Hanks (one of my favorite films) was filmed on Monuriki, a nearby island and part of the Mamanuca archipelago (although the unnamed island in the film is supposedly located 600 miles south of the Cook Islands).
  • The long-running reality TV show Survivor has returned to film challenge course and tribal council segments on Mana for the past few years.
I hope you come back soon to hear more about my time in Fiji. My goal is to update this blog regularly, and it would mean a lot to me if you gave it a read every once in a while. Thanks. Logan

19 thoughts on “Fiji: Pilot”

  1. Sounds like you have great aupport Logan! We think you are wise to choose this exceptional experience. Living in other cultures expands your life-long appreciation of people and their differences. I especially liked learning that there is more than o e way to do something right.

    Best of everything to you Logan as you serve!

    Reply
  2. Logan,
    I love your blog. I am so happy that you are getting this experience. It is good for us to have such in our lives, such as drinking rain water, but I am not sure about salty showers. Ha
    So many today in the western world have no idea how it is to live without electricity, except for short blackouts during storms.

    Stay safe, learn good, teach good, build good and friend good and you will be a “goodier’ person for it.
    Enjoy the differences in daily life.
    Love ya, G’Pa

    Reply
  3. Proud of you Log! Way to get out of your comfort zone, I know you’ll grow and learn a lot this year! Can’t wait to see you when you get back and hear all your stories. Love you brother 🙏🏼

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  4. Logan,
    I’m so excited for your student missionary adventure in Fiji. The only thing that will make me as excited about you going in one week is your return in about seven months.

    This is an opportunity that you seem perfect for in a location that appears to be the exact fit for you. I know God not only has His hand in this, but also His hands surrounding you and the other missionaries you will be serving with.

    We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see and hear about the daily life you will be living on the island, and some adventures off, as well.

    Love you good, Mom

    Reply
  5. Hey Logan,
    I also was a missionary in Fiji and my cousin served on Mana Island a few years ago. You don’t need to worry about a thing. God has his eyes on Fiji and the people are incredibly welcoming. The first thing you need to learn how to say in Fijian is how to say you are full and would like to be excused from the table.

    It’s gonna be great!

    Reply
    • Hi Savannah,
      Nice to meet you and thanks for the encouraging words. It’s good to hear that from someone who has done it before. Feel free to check back later, you might see some familiar locations and people. And I’ll try to learn that phrase as quickly as possible.
      Logan

      Reply
  6. I’m so excited for you, Logan. What an adventure. Will be looking forward to each blog you post. Grandpa and will have you uppermost in our prayers every day. We love you real good. Grandma 👵🏻

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  7. Logan,

    This is going to be such a rewarding experience for you and I can’t wait to read all about your adventures. I know you will make a huge impact during your time in Fiji and will bring light to everything you do.

    Remember to stay safe, drink LOTS of water and most importantly, lean on God.

    PS. Here’s one of my favorite Office quotes that could serve as guidance during your time:
    “Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, “Would an idiot do that?” And if they would, I do not do that thing. – Dwight

    Reply
    • Haha, I love the quote. I will definitely have to apply that one. Thanks for your kind words Camille, I appreciate them and your continued support.

      Reply

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