This August during the Lent of Panagia our brother and sisters of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity – Thessaloniki came to Fiji, bringing us much joy and service in love of Christ.
Dr Katerina, Kyrios Prodromos and Kyria Angeliki travelled together to volunteer their services to our Apostolic Ministry in Fiji sharing their talents and showing us through their patience and commitment, how to serve those in need. Carrying a suitcase full of eye glasses, Dr Katerina was eager to get started with the help of Kyria Angeliki and the support of their guide and interpreter Kyrios Prodromos (who is well known to the children at St Tabitha orphanage from his previous trips). They soon began the great task of eye testing, diagnostics, recording of results and supplying those that needed, free eyeglasses. Starting with the children at our beloved St Tabitha Orphanage, they continued the first week conducting eye tests on other children in the mission and the surrounding neighbourhood.
The word started to spread far and wide that the Orthodox church had an eye Doctor that was working free of charge.
Every day more and more people would arrive, often sitting outside waiting for our Ophthalmologist and her assistant to arrive at the church hall.
Once Lautoka district was finished they branched out to Sabeto, our Mission headquarters, where once again many people heard the news and came.
The final week instead of taking a rest, they boarded a small plane and flew to Labasa, a remote poverty-stricken town, almost 4,000 km away. A warm welcome greeted them as our community of Orthodox faithful excitedly lined up for their eye tests and new glasses. It was a long labour intense day but the sheer joy they expressed when they returned demonstrated how emotionally and spiritually blessed, they felt, despite the physical fatigue.
Dr Katerina, always with a smile and a warm welcome for everyone, did not let the language barrier stop her from caring for each one of her patients. Kyria Angeliki, by her side, helping to record every patient’s details and their diagnosis, demonstrating meticulous record keeping.
Everyone was touched by their humble presence and dedication to those in need. The children at the orphanage also enjoyed special time with Kyrios Prodromos and they loved seeing videos of themselves when they were young that he had taken on previous visits. Kyria Angeliki stated after the liturgy that it was indeed a blessing to have shared this opportunity to worship with such faithful people, “I am truly humbled by your love and commitment to the Orthodox Faith” she stated.
As we prepared to bid our friends goodbye it was with sadness all around and a tear or two that with heartfelt gratitude, Dr. Katerina expressed, “This has been an extraordinary experience for me, something I never imagined I would gain so much joy from being with you all”.
The work of the Church in Fiji continues to flourish by the Grace of God.
With deep gratitude for your love, support and prayers, we send a Vinaka Vakalevu (Thank you very much) to all of you who participated in this journey of Faith, Hope and selfless Love for your neighbours.