Just when we thought we had seen all there was to see in Fiji…we went to prison. Literally.
Last week the Stanford’s asked if anyone was interested in helping them with a welfare handover ceremony at the prison on Saturday morning. We volunteered. And so early Saturday morning found us trying to find one of the prisons here in Fiji. It only took a couple of wrong turns and asking for help a couple of times and we found it.
The Church welfare was donating hygiene items to the prison. Usually the put the items are put together in kits, but the prison wanted the items separately so that is what they did. We delivered a truck load of toilet paper, bars of soap, coconut oil and other supplies. And of course no handover is complete without treats.
We went inside to the mess hall and set up the goodies on a table. This is a prison for first offenders and while we set up they all sat quietly at the tables. And all of a sudden they started to sing…hymns. Wow, their voices were wonderful.
This was an interdenominational group handover so a Baptist minister spoke, then the stake president for that area spoke, and then Elder Johansson, our new Area Seventy spoke. And he hit it out of the ball park, so to speak.
He told them they sounded like angels and asked if they had noticed that every time the Lord spoke with men the angels sang. Wow. And then he told them that this was a place where men go to repent for things they do wrong in the community, but to repent of their sins they go to Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful, short, hit it on the head message.
After the ceremony pictures were taken and then they made short work of refreshments. It’s funny, as they stood up for pictures I told Sia, who was sitting next to me that they looked like they should be coming in to get a PEF loan to go to school! Maybe someday!
This was a rare experience, one that not too many foreigners get and I am glad we took the opportunity.