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Spring 2014 SOUTHEAST ASIA Page 3 Soundings from Fiji By Alan Brooks O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together (Psalm 34:3). The year 2013 had its challenges, but it also was an exciting year of great miracles. Most of this past year was consumed with the Fiji Bible Project. God supernaturally supplied the funds to distribute 221,000 Bibles or New Testaments to the country of Fiji. The first five months of 2013 consisted of travelling and raising the needed funds. We had the Scriptures printed, and we spent many hours in planning. Many people worked hard to get the “Plan of Salvation” for the front of the Bibles ready. Arriving in Fiji in May 2013, Brother Meyer and I met with multiple officials to work on the logistics—over 75 phone calls and hours of meetings in preparation. Why do they always seem to put the office that we needed on the third floor? This began a chain of events that has been totally awesome in scope and magnitude. We then met the first of three containers that would arrive from Belarus. The Bibles were boxed and shrink wrapped for protection. Each had to be opened, unwrapped, stamped with the local missionary's information, and then re-boxed for distribution. The next three months we were busy preaching and distributing Bibles to all of the secondary schools in Fiji. We also hosted several groups from the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia who traveled to assist in the distribution. This project humanly could not have been done without all the help. I was able to return to the United States for most of the month of August, as school was out for a break. During this time my mother-in-law passed away. God allowed me to preach her funeral before I needed to return. I then returned to Fiji to begin doing the primary schools. There are 735 schools and by God's grace, strength and help we have been able to do all but 135 of the schools. Each day was occupied usually with five different schools. At one time we had five teams of people traveling to multiple schools. God allowed me to meet and work with some of His choice servants: missionaries, national pastors, and local church laymen. This incredible group God gathered together to accomplish a monumental job. We had over 28 Americans come to help, 10 Canadians, 1 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand, and 1 from Papua New Guinea. We have had nine different American missionaries living in Fiji helping and 11 national preachers. Truly God worked to accomplish this humanly impossible project. By the time you receive this, we will be finishing the last of the primary schools. I have said this many times but it still holds true, “Only eternity will reveal the impact that these Bibles will make on this country and all of the island nations surrounding.” Thank you for your prayers, help, and support. Recently I was reading a book written by a dear supporter, pastor, and friend on the book of Proverbs. In the chapter concerning Faithfulness, Dr. Rod Mattoon shared the following illustration. “One of the most memorable Olympic Athletes of the 1968 Mexico City Games was a marathon runner from Tanzania. His name was John Stephen Akhwari. He doesn't get a mention in the record books at all, but that's not the point. In fact, it's fair to say more people remember John Akhwari than the guy who won gold medal of the marathon race, even though John Akhwari came in last! Halfway through the race, around the thirteen mile mark, Akhwari fell, badly cutting his knee and dislocating the joint in his leg. He was in terrible pain. Most runners at this point would give up the race and call it quits. But after a few minutes, number 36, John Akhwari picked himself up, strapped up his leg with white bandages, and kept on running, even though he had about 13 miles to go. A little more than an hour after the winner had finished the marathon, with just a few thousand spectators left in the stands of the Olympic stadium, whistles, motorcycle sounds, and flashing red and green lights gave a ghastly, gruesome effect to the cold, dark Mexico City evening. The word was passed to the press box and filtered to the few thousand faithful spectators who remained in the stadium that the last runner was approaching. Into the stadium came John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania. His leg was bloody and bandaged. Wincing with pain at every step, he pressed on and the thousands, a few minutes before in silence, began a slow, steady clapping. Akhwari, in his green and gold uniform, made his painful way around the track and the cheering grew louder. The trek around the track seemed unending, but finally he hobbled across the finish and the crowd roared as if he had been the winner. He finished last among the 74 competitors. Why did he not quit since he was injured, in intense pain, and had no chance of winning? After the race, Akhwari answered this question. Akhwari appeared perplexed at the question. Then he simply said, ‘I don't think you understand. My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish the race.' Beloved, God has called us to do the same thing in our race for Christ. God wants us to finish what He has started in us.” Just as this story illustrates, God wants us to finish what He has asked us to do. May we each be faithful to the tasks that God has asked us to do and to finish strong.