Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marine Reach

Imagine seeing your grown children for the first time in many many years, or receiving glasses that made your previously blurry world, clear. Or, think about having severe tooth pain for months, unable to go to the dentist. What joy you would experience if a dentist arrived at your village by ship to relieve your pain for free. Marine Reach is a branch of YWAM that makes things like these happen. They use ships to reach remote islands, and 4 - wheel drive "mercy trucks" to reach remote inland villages with mobile medical and dental clinics. Marine Reach strives to meet people's medical, physical, and spiritual needs. While people wait all day to see the doctor, members of Marine reach listen to them, pray with them, and perform evangelistic or health-related skits. Dental chairs have been set up under mango trees, eye testing and glasses fittings under coconut trees. Members of teams have repaired outboard motors for local fishermen to be able to continue their livelihoods, other teams repair people's homes, unload medical supplies sent in containers from other countries, or build medical clinics, playgrounds, and install water tanks.

The thing that draws Brian and me to this organization is its hands-on, practical approach to loving people. From 2002 to 2008, 30,121 people were treated in the islands of Fiji. This includes dentistry, ophthalmology surgeries, optometry (people given glasses), health education for entire villages, Bibles distributed, etc. Many other Pacific Islands as well as places in Asia, South America, and the Mediterranean received similar help. All services are provided for free.

We have been welcomed by the Marine Reach base here in Lautoka. It is a multi-ethnic group: Indians, Fijians, New Zealanders, a Korean and a Filipina make up the staff. This base will be hosting at least 12 short term (two weeks) land-based outreaches in 2010 with different medical focuses. One 5-month Discipleship Training School (this is the same school I attended in South Africa in 1999) is also planned. If you are a nurse, a dentist, a doctor, eye doctor, have other practical skills, or are just willing to help out, feel free to contact Marine Reach. They will put your skills to good use! If you are interested in attending either of their two Discipleship Training Schools next year, or becoming staff, contact them.

When I asked Richard, our main Marine Reach liaison here, what their needs/prayer requests were, he gave me the following list:
1. Doctors, nurses, surgeons and dentists are needed for short but preferably longer term basis. It's volunteer, and you pay for all of your expenses.
2. Financial support for the staff: Rakesh and Rachel, Richard and Thelma, Rena, Barry and Beryl, Ben and Kaba, and Lusi. They do not have paying jobs but they work hard leading groups, taking care of needy kids, starting a church, training volunteers, etc.
3. Ben and Kaba have four children of their own and are housing Kaba's sister and her six kids. They will be receiving 3 more small orphaned children in December. They need a larger house! We saw their shack and it is about as roomy as Nomad is.
4. The Marine Reach base in Fiji is looking to buy a property that would be set up to train 40- 50 students at a time, as well as be the headquarters for organizing the many outreaches. One million Fijian dollars would do the trick.
5. They have donated their current ship, M/V Pacific Link to the Marine Reach in Australia and are looking for a larger ship that could house two separate surgeries at a time (Pacific Link could only do one at a time).

Web Site: www.marinereachministries.com

Email: info-fj@marinereach.

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