Gina’s test of faith – Fijian stuck with grief in a foreign land

Gina and her late husband Terry Maino, pictured, were living happily together in Papua New Guinea until tragedy struck which left her stranded with her two children in a foreign land. Picture: SUPPLIED

Gina Maino’s experience of being a widow in a foreign land in the midst of COVID-19 closed borders was like facing a wall with no hope of tomorrow.

Born and raised in Savusavu, Gina married her Papua New Guinean husband Doctor Terry Maino in 2017 and has two children.

In June last year he died after a short illness and her world crumbled as she longed for the presence of her loved ones and families home in Fiji.

“It wasn’t easy and for me living in a foreign land where my family members were a long way away from home made it even tougher for me. I was so broken and I was lost. I cried every day while living in Port Moresby after losing my husband and I checked every hour for repatriation flights back home, but couldn’t find anything.

“In going through that situation I thanked God for my upbringing with my parents because they taught me that no matter what, God will never ever leave you or forsake you,” she said.

That teaching was her strength and she hung on to it as she faced the obstacles of life as a widow.

Despite the distance, her parents pastors Petero and Emele Ramatau of the Assembly of God in Savusavu, contacted her every day to encourage her.

“If it wasn’t for God in my life and my close relationship with him, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I thought of all things to do in the six months I lived alone in PNG with my two babies, but God’s love kept me from doing things you’d never expect a mother to do.

“The encouragement from my parents and family members played a major role in my life as I focused on returning to Fiji in December,” Gina said.

When her flights were confirmed for their return home, she knelt and broke down as she cried her heart out knowing her God’s faithfulness saw her through the tough six months.

“Sometimes, I’d cry and my big daughter would come around, wipe the tears away and whisper, ‘mummy it’s OK’.”

“As a mother, that experience has made me stronger because my younger brother went through the same things I went through when he lost his wife, but he was here at home.”

Her younger brother Sonny Ramatau, lost his wife Adalyn in Savusavu earlier this year whose plight was published in this newspaper as family members blamed the hospital staff for not attending to her when she arrived at ER.

For these siblings, life may not be as rosy but their faith in God has kept them strong knowing that one day they would meet their loved ones again.

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