Sunday, August 25, 2013

TRUCK!!!!!!! And other things...

ATTENTION, WORLD: I now have my very own trucky truck!

It took driving all over the island and visiting a couple sketchy places/people before I could find my beautiful yellow submarine, but I finally found it. He is my Walker Texas Ranger, Jr. (or Junior for short), a 2001 Ford Ranger with a pretty legit sound system. I'm so blessed to finally have transportation- it was a bit of a challenge always asking for rides from people.

Repping the USC colors. Isn't he pretty???

Now I also have a way to start scoping out potential new housing locations. My potential roommate fell through but I have a couple other possibilities so please pray God would make my whole housing situation fall into place and that He would provide an awesome home for us to open up to students, etc. 

Spent most of this week preparing for this upcoming week- the first week of classes, and our first week of CRU events. Every day we will be on campus tabling, and every night we will have an event to meet students. Please be praying for God's hand to be in everything- there are still so many details to be worked out! 

I also went surfing a few times, and ate hula pie, a coco puff, and a guava for the first time. Starting tomorrow- no more sweets. Everything is just so good here!!!

Duke's OceanFest 2013

Hula Pie. OMG. 

I am so excited for everything God has in store for this week, but also a bit nervous. We are praying for a freshman class of 80 students, and that God would grow our movement to 300!!! Please pray with us!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

In the Islands...

"Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands." ~ Isaiah 42:12 

When I first saw this verse at a little church in Hilo, Hawaii, I knew it would have a major significance on me and on these islands. At the time, I had no idea that it would become my theme verse for my time in Hawaii, or carry with me as I begin my time as a Cru staff member on Oahu. But this is our goal and hope of this year- that truly every person in these islands would feel the presence of God, experience the saving power of Jesus Christ and proclaim his praise in the islands. 

Last week my staff team and I spent 4 days of 9 to 5 intense planning for the school year. We established roles, we mapped out a schedule, and we began planning events such as our freshman welcome week and fall retreat. It was also the most time we'd ever spent with each other, so it was great to bond and get to know each other on a deeper level. I'm really looking forward to this year- every person is fully committed to the ministry and seeing God's plans become a reality, and every person is fully committed to the team and each other. We all agreed that unity, harmony, communication and healthy working relationships were imperative for our success as a ministry this year. I believe that we are all unified in our vision for the ministry, and I truly love my staff team already. 

This next week is going to be a busy time of preparation for the freshmen welcome week- we have an event every night of the week, but I'm really excited to jump back into ministry. I'm also excited to see how the Lord will grow the ministry this year- it was really sweet to hear Jamie talk about our present reality as a ministry and the goals last year's staff team dreamed of for this year. We are praying for big things- for example, we are praying that God would grow our ministry from 80 students to 250 students this year. We are also praying that our movement would be centered around prayer and discipleship, and that the Lord would raise up student leaders so our movement would become student-led instead of staff-led. Please be praying with us for our students, for the new freshmen class, and for our movement! 

Some pictures from last week: 
Sunset from our Staff Planning location

Some of my favorite moments from last week were simply standing on the balcony enjoying the beauty of God's creation 

The boys worn out from a long day of planning

Hawaii monk seal momma and her baby at a beach near our Staff Planning location

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hoooo Brah.

After a very long day of traveling starting at 4:30 am Texas time and almost missing my flight in LA, I finally arrived Wednesday afternoon at Honolulu International Airport. 

One of the interns and part of my new staff team, Steven, picked me up and we got thai food, my first meal in Hawaii. My long time friend and Cru big brother, Gen, joined us. It was great to hang with them again- but for the first time, not as a visitor to Oahu, but a new resident. After we ate, Steven drove me to Aunty Kamilla's and Uncle Steve's house, my new home (for now until I find my own place). It's nestled between the mountains of Pololo Valley, and from their lanai I can see the sunset over the ocean. It's wonderful. I've got a room and bathroom annex on the bottom floor, spacious and comfy. They have two wonderful dogs, Hui and Hana, who have taken a liking to me. And Aunty and Uncle are some of the most hospitable people I've ever met. It's been the perfect place to adjust to Hawaii. They know everyone and are more than willing to help me with whatever I need. It couldn't be better. My first night after getting organized, Steven and Gen picked me up and we went to Bubbie's, the best ice cream and mochi on the island. There I reunited with some of the Cru students and met Andy, another one of the new interns. 

Thursday I met a potential roommate over crepes, then Gen and I went to lunch/Starbucks to get work done and start looking on Craigslist for a truck and an apartment. Later that night we all went out again to Shokudo, a place famous for their honey toast. Oh I've missed honey toast. I'll have to be careful to not go there too often. Friday I spent most of the day on the lanai hanging out and getting work done, then Andy, Steven and I drove to Spitting Cave and watched the sunset and got dinner. Spitting Cave is by far my favorite place on the island for now. It's possible I'll find somewhere I like even more, but for now this is it. Saturday I woke up at 5 am to go surfing with Uncle Steve, who has gone surfing with the same gang for decades. Even though the waves were small, I was really proud of myself- it's the first time I've been since I blew out my knee over a year ago, and I was able to stand up and ride out every wave except the first two. Even Uncle said he was surprised how good I was, so that was exciting. Afterward we all went and ate breakfast at Rainbow Drive-In, a super famous local place, where I met the rest of the gang and the owners of Rainbow. After that, Uncle and I went to look at a couple trucks (no luck), then I had a mini-USC reunion with Gen and our mutual friend Justin and his wife over some acai bowls at Jewel or Juice- my first acai bowl ever. After that, Gen and I went to Walls in Waikiki for a Cru BBQ and I reunited with several of the UH students I'd met in April and met some new ones. After that, Uncle Steve picked me up and we went to Uncle Hubert's house, who owns the surf rental/lessons shop by Canoes in Waikiki. Basically spent the rest of the night getting to know Uncle's surfer gang and eating amazing amazing pupus, poke, sashimi, salmon, and everything else under the sun, not including the 5 or 6 desserts they had. 

Even though it hasn't even been a week, I feel like I've already experienced more of true Hawaii than most people do in months or even years. It's been a really great week so far, and made me excited to explore more of the island and meet more people. It's almost easy to think I've lived here for awhile already, but I've already been told by several people I need to work on my Hawaiian pidgin, so that's been humbling. No matter how much I think I've learned, Steven will probably always make fun of the way I say "hooo brah." Oh well. One step at a time. 

Tomorrow we start 4 days of staff planning for the new year. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm super stoked to get started, and to just have some good bonding time with my new staff team. 

Dear Lord, give us wisdom, creativity, joy, patience, and love during this week of planning, and may your will be done here in these islands and the world! 

Here are some pictures from the past week- enjoy!

My new room 

Sunset from my new house

My first breakfast of delicious crepes

Sunset over Diamond Head

First acai bowl- delicious!

Cru BBQ on the beach

Some of the deliciousness from dinner at Uncle Hubert's 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hawaii Here I Come

For the past four years, this blog has been devoted to experiences in Japan as I've participated in Summer Projects and interned with Cru.

That changes in less than a week. Six days, actually. In six days, I move to Honolulu, Hawaii to be a missionary there with Cru.

When I decided to become a full-time staff member with Cru, the goal was to ideally be back in Japan as soon as possible; however, as anyone knows who has read my blog, or read about Japan in general, the country is an extremely difficult ministry location. People call it a "missionary graveyard." While my goal is to change that, I know that I am not yet fully equipped to do such a thing. I need training and experience as a new staff person before I just jump into ministry in a "hard soil" location. Cru asked me to consider spending my first two years on staff in the States first to prepare me for Japan ministry. And where better to equip me for Japanese ministry than the place with the highest Japanese population in the States? Hawaii.

Now I'm sure you are thinking, "Wow you're really going to be suffering for the Gospel in Hawaii." Or you're just confused and are wondering "Why would you go to Hawaii to do missions in the first place?"

First of all, Hawaii actually is only about 10-15% Christian, even though it's a part of America. It is still very much it's own culture and identity. And while it's known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, sometimes the places that look the most like paradise on the outside are in reality the darkest on the inside. Hawaii is saturated with drugs, alcohol, prostitution and suicide. Hawaii is in desperate need of the Gospel and the love of Christ.

While it may not be the most obvious place for missions, Hawaii is an extremely strategic ministry location. It is such a conglomeration of different people groups and ethnicities- almost 80% of the Hawaiian population is Asian or Asian-American. That is why we call Hawaii the Gateway to the Pacific, because we believe that if we can reach Hawaii, we can reach the rest of the Pacific and Asia.  

I will be helping lead the CRU movement at the University of Hawaii, a campus of over 20,000 students. The CRU movement in Hawaii has tripled from 30 students to 90 just this past year, and so they desperately need more staff to meet the needs of the ministry. CRU's founder, Dr. Bill Bright, had a saying- "Win the campus today, win the world tomorrow." I believe if we can reach the University of Hawaii, we can truly reach the rest of the Pacific Islands and all of Asia. At the University of Hawaii, I will not only be sharing the Gospel with students, but training and equipping them to share their faith with their friends, communities, and the rest of the world. 

Now i know that when we think living missionally, we usually think helping people in poorer places.  But while doing humanitarian aid in third world countries definitely shows people God's love, we also need to be teaching this generation where that love comes from.  In an age where drugs, alcohol, sex and everything else under the sun is a daily part of life, we need to be sharing with students the one thing that truly satisfies- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And after we've shared it with them, we need to teach them how to share it with others. Because the Gospel is not meant to be kept for ourselves. 

Jesus commands us to GO and make disciples of all nations - and I know that God is going to use Hawaii to do just that. 

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