Friday, June 22, 2012

ByeBye Big Island

the last two weeks of May were a frenzy of saying last goodbyes to students, and doing everything on the Big Island we wanted to do before leaving. 

i had my last discipleship appointments with Jessica and Melody, which were really great. i gave them both the book Breaking Free by Beth Moore, and challenged them to think and pray about how they wanted God to change them this summer. while it was a challenge to disciple girls knowing that i'd only have a few months to do it, it was encouraging to see how God grew them in just those few months. 

i also got to hang out with many of my students one last time. i got to have dinner with 3 of my Japanese friends, who are now all back in Japan (and hopefully i can hang out with them this summer). i got to see my friend Risa one last time and have coffee with her. we talked about her views on spiritual things/God, and i was able to pray for her. i also got to have lunch one last time with my friends Taku and Allena. Taku is now back in Japan as well, but while he was in Hilo, we got to share the Gospel with him and he came to church with us sometimes. 

we had one last Cru event of the year- a beach day at Richardsons Beach, where we invited all our friends to hang out one last time. it was fun to see everyone and say goodbye, but also sad because it solidified the fact that we were actually leaving Hilo soon. 

our last week was full of exploring the island, unbirthday celebrations (we celebrated my birthday, nikki's, albert's and kylan's because our birthdays are all in the summer) and packing. we got to go to the top of Mauna Kea and get a tour through the observatories and see the NASA telescope. we build a fort of sheets and blankets in our living room and watched Megamind together. We went to Waipio Valley and hiked (well, i couldn't hike but i chilled at the lookout point and enjoyed the nature with Albert). we watched The Return of the King in the fort and ate chocolate fondue, and went out to dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant. we also went to the Matsui's house, where they cooked dinner for us and gave us goodbye presents. 

our last Saturday in Hilo we had a huge garage sale to sell all of our stuff that we'd had to buy. it was supposed to start at 6 am but by 5:30am people were already starting to come by. praise God, we were able to sell most of our things, but we definitely lost a lot of money. one of the unfortunate consequences of being in Hawaii for only 4-5 months. 

Sunday was a hectic day of cleaning the house and packing. i was able to go to a BBQ with some of the football guys in the evening which was a good, fun last thing to do in Hilo- i even got to share the Gospel with one of the guys i met there! when i got home, we finished cleaning the kitchen, then moved all of our stuff to Sarah/Katie's apartment to spend the night (since we'd sold our mattresses). 

and all the sudden it was official. our days in The Shire were over. it was so surreal...the next morning we'd be leaving for Maui for 10 days of vacation and debriefing, and then all of the sudden, our time in Hawaii would be over...

on a happier note, here are some pictures from our last weeks of May: 

Hilo Coffee Mill tour- in front of a cocoa tree

last beach hangout
last dinner at Ken's with some of the BCM guys + Colton & Patrick 
under the telescope at the observatory 
sunset over Mauna Kea
first (and last) time surfing at Hanalei  
dinner at Miyo's with my Japanese friends
hanging out in Waimea w/ Jeremy and his boys 
lunch with Taku 
(un)birthday desserts!
our fort 
Waipio Valley

Football Fail

on Sunday, May 13th, i went to a park to play football with some of my local guy friends.

started out fine, we had been playing for awhile, all was well, my team was winning...

then the other team started fighting back- they were about 3 yards from a touchdown that would tie the game. my team decided to blitz. i told the rest of the guys to do man-to-man coverage and block, and i would blitz. i successfully blitzed just before the ball left the QB's hand, but i suppose i came at him with too much speed because as i hit him, he twisted to get out of the way which caused me to twist and fall over. as i fell, i felt something snap in my right knee and i went down, grabbing my knee. i lay there for awhile trying not to cry as all the guys ran over and looked at me terrified that they'd hurt me (i was the only girl). couldn't walk on it, so spent the rest of the game on the sidelines.

monday i was supposed to go on a hike with the STINT team, jeremy, and his friends. obviously i couldn't, so i spent the afternoon at Starbucks finishing my staff application. honestly, i kind of thought that maybe i had gotten hurt because God wanted to force me to finish my application, and maybe it would be better the next day. it wasn't. went to the ER and they said i had torn my MCL, that i probably wouldn't need surgery but to go to the orthopedist in a week or so anyway if it wasn't better. went to the orthopedist the wednesday before we left for Maui. he said i definitely blew out my ACL and would need surgery. i felt myself tearing up as he was saying it- it was so frustrating and disappointing to hear, especially after the doctor at the ER said it wasn't my ACL. BUT he did say i would still be able to go to Japan for the summer but to be careful.  i was able to get an MRI that Friday, and left for Maui that Monday. i called the radiologist from Maui but they wouldn't give me the results over the phone so i had to wait til they had sent them to my mom a week later.

the results:
- torn ACL
- torn LCL
- complex meniscus tear
- bone contusions

football fail.

needless to say, that definitely solidifies the fact that i will not be doing much physical activity here in Japan. i packed tennis shoes just in case i'd be able to do some hiking or yknow, climb Mt. Fuji like i've been wanting to do for 4 years...guess that's not happening now.

i won't say it's not frustrating. especially because all my clubs in Japan (with the exception of English club) are physical activities. i was in 1 soccer club, 1 futsal club, and 2 dance groups. now i can't do any of those. i know God's trying to teach me patience and humility, and i'm sure many other things, but it's hard to have everything that i enjoy taken away. i can't bike to campus anymore, i can't take long peaceful walks, i can't jog to my favorite park, i can't hike, i can't dance, i can't play soccer or's frustrating. but it's more frustrating knowing that once i get back to the states, i'll have to have major surgery and it will take a year to fully recover. i've never had surgery before, and not gonna lie, i'm a bit scared. i'm scared that something might go wrong. scared that my knee might continue to give me problems the rest of my life. my ankles are already weak after tearing all those ligaments and tendons in high school, now my knee. why do i always get major injuries resulting from something stupid?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Back to (Pre) School

April 27th we held a service project helping out/cleaning a preschool in Hilo called Kaumana Baptist Keikiland. We helped with inventory, cleaned windows and fans, cleared moss off a tunnel to prepare it for painting, weeded the gardens and played with the kids. It was a fun way of getting our students involved in giving back to the community, and gave us a lot of time to hang out with the students. For Hillary, one of our friends, it was the first to come to a Cru event. 

one of my favorite moments of the day was when i heard some of the preschoolers saying "Auntie! Auntie!" i finally figured out they were talking to me! in Hawaii, anyone older than you is "auntie" or "uncle" but it was the first time i had been called "auntie" - i don't know why, but i loved it. 

here are some pictures from the service project: 
the kids fascinated by albert and amy 
kylan cleaning windows
the kids helping us weed
kelsey (one of our students) with the kids
cleaning fans
the girls weeding

nikki surrounded by children
group photo

Worldwide Day of Prayer

April 24th was Cru's Worldwide Day of Prayer, where literally thousands of people around the world prayed for each other, their ministries and their countries.

we decided to step back and let a couple of our students, Autumn and Devin take the reins on a Worldwide Day of Prayer outreach. they set up a couple tables in the Campus Center Plaza and had information about different countries to pray for, and also had prayer request sheets where people could come up and write down their prayer requests. It was a cool way to show UH Hilo that Cru cares about them and another way to get the name of Cru out there, and a great first outreach for our students to head up. 
students writing prayer requests
Devin handing out prayer request sheets

Island Hopping

after our emotional Ignite meeting, we couldn't stick around to be there for the students. we rushed home, grabbed our bags and headed to the airport to fly to Oahu for Hawaii Cru's first annual fundraiser dinner. we arrived around 9:45 pm, and immediately felt the difference- it was definitely much warmer and drier on Oahu. we were picked up by Shawn, the Cru campus director at UH Manoa (the main University of Hawaii). he had borrowed his church's 8 person van for us to use for the few days we were there- of course, there are 9 of us STINTers, so it was a bit squished, but we managed. we dropped him off at his house, then stopped at the grocery store for some groceries and essentials, then checked into our hostel in Waikiki. the boys had one room and all 7 of us girls had another. but it actually wasn't too bad- we had a kitchen, bathroom, small balcony and 4 sets of bunk beds. we unpacked and fell right to sleep.

thursday morning we went to UH Manoa and prayer walked around the campus. not gonna lie, as much as i love UH Hilo, Manoa's campus is SO much bigger. which is not necessarily good, but their cafeteria is a lot better...(but our lunch ladies at UH Hilo are way nicer). that afternoon was their weekly Cru meeting. as i walked toward the room, a familiar face yelled my name and ran over - Steven, a student i'd met in Tokyo last summer when he came on Tokyo Summer Project. we had a happy reunion- it was so fun seeing him again. then i had another happy reunion- with my friend Gen, one of the first people i ever met at USC Cru my freshman year, my summer project director in 2009 and is now on staff at UH Manoa. i also got to see Jamie, a staff who led last year's Tokyo project with Gen. at their Cru meeting, Sarah gave a message about missions, then Nikki shared about STINT and interning logistics, then Albert shared a couple stories from STINTing in Hawaii, then i shared about Japan. it was fun to share how God has changed my heart toward missions and how God's plans may be completely different than ours, but they are always better. after the meeting we all went and got dinner together- it was fun getting to meet some of the students and catch up with Gen and Jamie. we also met a couple students who wanted to take us surfing the next morning. so the next morning at 7 am, we headed to the beach to meet Matt and Jack. we practiced our pop-ups on the beach, then waded into the water with Albert, Matt and Jack helping us. i never realized how much of surfing is comprised of paddling. there were several times i felt that i was paddling so hard and not moving at all. it was still fun though, and i caught a few waves on my knee and actually stood up for about a second a couple times.

 after surfing we had a team meeting, then got ready for the Cru fundraiser dinner. the dinner was at a fancy country club, and several of the students were helping out. i had two more reunions with two other students i'd met in Japan, Dylan and Abi. then the supporters began to arrive. i think one of the most exciting things for me to see was Dylan, Abi and Steven sharing with supporters about how Summer Project changed them and gave them hearts for missions. we spent the first part of the evening talking with supporters as they went around to different tables that described what Cru does, then we went in to the dining room for dinner (steak, veggies, was AMAZING). during dinner, Gen, Kent and Shawn all talked about what Cru does and how they have been changed by Cru. then they showed a video of staff talking about how Cru specifically worked in their lives, and then 3 students came up and shared about how God using Cru has changed their lives. lastly they had a speaker, who was so powerful that i was like "wow i want to give to Cru!" and then was like "wait...i work for Cru...right."obviously other people were moved as well, because by the end of the night God had raised over $30,000 through the people who attended! it was so amazing to see God's provision so immediate!

the next day we spent sightseeing at Pearl Harbor. then that night we went to dinner as a team, and got ice cream afterward with a few of the UH Manoa students and Gen. Sunday was a great day- i went to the beach in the morning for a bit, then Gen picked me up and we went to a church called One Love. it was a great message and so refreshing after church-hopping in Hilo and not really finding a good church. after that we went to lunch at "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and caught up. it was so much fun- it almost felt like being in LA again. afterward we met up with Amy and Kylan and had coffee as a Tokyo Summer Project '09 reunion, then he took all of us to the airport to meet up with our team and head back home.

while i really enjoyed Oahu, after being on the Big Island for so long, i felt like Oahu was really touristy, and i appreciated being back on the Big Island surrounded by the more local kine.

pictures from Oahu:
the fundraiser dinner
Hilo STINT team & UH Manoa students after the dinner
The Trojan family in Hawaii
surfing for the first time at Waikiki!

April 11th

April 11th began like any normal day. I was a bit apprehensive, but only because for the first time, our campus director Kent would not be at our weekly meeting, leaving me and Nikki completely in charge. We had two new band members leading worship for the first time, and Albert would be doing slides because for the first time, I would be giving the message. I was sitting in the Campus Center Plaza about 1 pm working on the finishing touches to my message when I received a call from one of our students, Colton. He said, "One of my roommates was hit by a car this morning and died. Can I invite some of his friends and could we have a time of prayer for his family either before or after Ignite?" Shocked, I of course said yes and began making preparations right away. I sent a message to everyone explaining the situation, and revised the schedule so we would have time at the end of the meeting.

Colton arrived about 3 pm to help us set up. We asked him the name of his roommate. "Brody," he said. My heart stopped. We knew Brody. In fact, Brody was one of the first students I met. He was not a regular Ignite attender, but would come on occasion and also came to Bible study sometimes. I would see him on campus all the time and we'd talk for a bit. He was kind of quiet but friendly, mild-mannered but with a great sense of humor. I couldn't believe it was Brody.

People started trickling in a few minutes before 4 pm. Right before 4, one of our students, Justin, came in looking kind of down. I asked him what was wrong. "Rachel died this morning," he said. Rachel had been a friend of his from the cross country team who had been in a coma for the past week and a half after overdosing on drugs. My heart sank for the second time. "What is going on, God?" I shouted in my head. I quickly informed the rest of the STINTers and we included her in our prayer time at the end.

We honestly had no idea how the meeting would go. I was even unsure if I should give my message at all, but I decided to go ahead and do it. I was so nervous standing up there talking to all these hurting and mourning people, but I shared about surrendering to God and the Gospel of grace and love. then Nikki came up and explained the prayer time, inviting people to come down to the front to pray for both Brody and Rachel's family and friends. it was amazing- everyone came down, held hands with friends and strangers, and prayed. People who had never been to Cru before, people who had never been to church, praying and crying and mourning together. Colton opened the time of prayer, and person after person prayed. It was a powerful time. Afterward, we had a couple closing worship songs, including "Blessed Be Your Name," and i definitely lost it and cried all through worship.

Even though it was a really hard, emotionally-draining day, i'm so glad we were able to have Ignite and be there for Colton, Justin and their friends. unfortunately, right after Ignite, we had to rush to the airport to go to Oahu for the Hawaii Cru Fundraiser Dinner and couldn't stick around. April 11th definitely ended up feeling like 3 different days by the end. Day 1 was before i got the phone call, Day 2 was getting Colton's phone call and Ignite meeting, Day 3 was flying to and arriving in Oahu.

Brody is on the left, Colton center, their roommate Patrick right
here are links to the newspaper articles on Brody and Rachel if you are interested:

next: Oahu.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What Are You Betting Your Life On?

that was our Easter theme of this year. the week before Easter, we had 3 days of Easter outreaches on campus that correlated with this theme. for 3 days, we had a huge graffiti board in the Campus Center Plaza that said "What Are You Betting Your Life On?" and asked people to come up and write their thoughts. we also had hundreds of poker chips with "What are you betting your life on?" on the front and the date, time and place of our Cru meeting printed on the back as "invitations" to our special Easter Cru meeting that Wednesday. we got to meet many new students as we asked them to come up and write their answers, but we also walked around and gave out poker chips and got to meet students that way as well. it was really cool to see the graffiti board become more and more filled up each day, and we had many awesome spiritual conversations with students through it. for our special Ignite meeting, Nikki and i directed and choreographed a version of the "Everything" Lifehouse skit. for those who have not seen this skit, it is performed to the Lifehouse song "Everything" and tells the story of a girl who becomes immersed in sin. it starts with Jesus creating the girl and showing her the world, then she gets pulled away by first a guy, then money, then alcohol, drugs, beauty obsession and finally death before she fights to get back to Jesus and He triumphs over the sins. it's kind of awesome. we had rehearsals for a month before the performance, and it went so well- it even brought a few people to tears! it was so cool for Nikki and i to use our theatrical/dance skills in a ministry setting to create a powerful performance. and everyone else was amazing- we used one of our students, Colton, in the role of Jesus, and another one of our students, Melody, played "Money." after the skit, our campus director Kent came up and delivered a powerful message based on our theme, and challenged students to place their bets- on the world or on Jesus. we had almost 30 students come to our meeting and hear the message of the Gospel. God is awesome.

some pictures from the outreaches:
the finished board

students writing their thoughts
some of the thoughts
the beginning of the Everything skit
Albert stealing me away from Jesus
Colton! our Jesus in the skit- definitely had the perfect Jesus hair 
me and Albert
me and my temptations (from left): drugs, alcohol, beauty, death, boyfriend, money 
Colton throwing off my sins