APRIL 2015 STATENDAM VISITS FANNING ISLAND

the following is a testimony from a passenger who had a desire to let us know about her recent visit to Fanning on this cruise. PCM tries to keep the passengers informed about visiting and helping the island on this sailing, and future ones, thru the information shared on this website. Please let me know if you have experiences to share as well. RICH SMITH/PCM Director

Dear Mr. Rich Smith,

It was amazing!  

Yes Sir, we made it onto Fanning.  We almost didn’t, the oceans were rough, we arrived late, the ‘port authority’ was delayed in authorizing us to disembark (likely couldn’t find or wake one) and 2 out of 4 tenders broke down.  My husband and I were at the far back of the long and eager line of all those wanting to go and when I had conceded that I wasn’t going to make it onto the island…miracle of miracles, we were on the next tender over and spent several hours taking in all the amazing experiences and passing out our supply gifts.  The Captain delayed our departure as long as able, it turned out to be a Sunday on the island (though it was Saturday on the ship?).  With school being out that day, I started calling out for a teacher soon as we stepped off the hastily repaired dock.  I found and delivered my school supply packages to the teacher (praying he really was a teacher), then set out to explore.  We passed out things to the church groups singing, some mothers with babes on their hips and lots of the young children that were curiously checking us out.  All were very gracious, one mother that I gave some sewing tools to called her daughter over to show me the dress she had made for her on her sewing machine.  God is good!  Then we asked for the clinic/doctor/nurse/etc. and 3 small children nodded, so we followed.  When our guides trail began to go deeper into jungle-like territory we turned back.  But, our guides persisted and asked ‘doctor?’, pointing farther down the muddy paths through the trees.  So, we prayed and followed and prayed and ‘ta-da’, the Clinic appeared.  Once the nurse was located, we shared our supplies, she was very thankful and told us (in fairly good English) how she helped the ‘momma’s to take care of their babies and their sores’.  As we left another couple approached.  We thanked our little tour guides, tipped them generously and returned to the gathering area.  We swam, sweat, shopped their goods, listened to their songs, drank from their coconuts and took thousands of photos.  What an amazing experience, so hard to even put into words.  As we lined up to return to the ship I saw the fella holding tightly the school supply packages while sitting among the singers on the dock, he hadn’t moved or let go, so I prayed again they got where they were going.  At least he seemed to accept that his package had some purpose.  
As for the ship:  at our stops in the Hawaiian Islands, people were heard at Wal-Mart gathering items for Fanning as they were just now hearing what that port was about.  Kainoa, the ship’s port guide (who was very informative actually, and a native Polynesian/Hawaiian) added to the info you shared with me.  One thing he mentioned was that the islanders told him it often takes a while for the supplies left to be distributed, so the schools and residents welcomed visitors to walk right up and visit, join classes, spend time with them, etc.  Their was a table set up on board the ship for folks to drop off donations and many were accumulating.  Then, on Fanning, next to the post office (the lean-to shade covered table) just on shore from the dock, the ship folk had off loaded about a pallet size stack of well taped packaged liquor boxes full of ‘who knows what’ (perhaps you have an idea), that appeared to be for the islanders.  That is all I know about what the ship did.  Though I asked around, no one seemed to know of any ‘organized’ mission regarding Fanning Island.  Though, perhaps for the best.  It made it real, spontaneous, heartfelt, and sincere, one person to another.    
Then, after we set sail, back on board, the Captain made a special public announcement.  He said that he received a letter from the school on Fanning Island, that he has never before received a letter from them, but that they said they are very thankful for the supplies they received today, and thankful for our visit to their Island today.  I took that as God confirming that everything was delivered to the appropriate place, that needs were addressed, that God was glorified, that worship to our Creator happened even though we all missed the church service that day.  
Thank you for sharing in our joy, kicking it up a notch by sharing your insights.  I hope to return some day, but if I don’t I have new places and people to pray for.  And, I have told the cruise line, in several manners, what a tremendous experience Fanning Island was for us, and to please refrain from altering it, ie. trying to make it a ‘tourist trap’, that it is a precious gem just the way it is.   
I hope that answers you questions at the least, and lets you know how fine a day it was, at the most.  I will say that I do not mind if you share any of this information to future inquirers.  Thanks again for enlightening our paths.  
God bless you