Saturday, 30 June 2012

Paving the Way with Coconuts and Prayer

Here in Kona, we've been really busy preparing for the arrival of our students. I have the privilege of working alongside Adam and Chieko Little, who are my adopted Kiwi cousins,  Samuel Brokenshire, my Aussie brother, and our new family member Caroline Wood.  We've been hacking away at our extensive, pre-school to-do list, working on everything from writing and formatting our DTS syllabus to hearing God on outreach locations.

We also learned to husk coconuts in a base-wide effort to provide every one of the 200 students arriving on Thursday with a fresh coconut as a picture of communion and unity.  Husking coconuts involves whacking them really hard with proper technique on a pointy stick and eventually shredding off the "husk." What you end up with is the round hairy shell that we find in grocery stores. The best part of husking, in my opinion, is the part when you accidentally puncture the shell instead of just the husk and have to drink the coconut milk before it all comes out. It's a perilous task with great rewards. As you can probably imagine, 200 coconuts is a lot! We've been harvesting and husking at all kinds of hours, and finally come close to the mark. Of the 200 students arriving, 16 (or so - some are still applying) are going to be on the school that I am staffing. And I simply cannot wait.

Yesterday, we had a 12 hour "burn"(12 hours of collective, unbroken prayer) and I asked God to give me His heart for our students. He has such love and such great plans for each one of them, and I am so honoured to be a part of releasing them into those plans. Some, I have already met because they are Mission Builders here on the base. Some, I will only meet on Thursday, the official kick-off day of the school. I can only imagine what is in store for the next five months, but whatever there is, I am getting excited.

Please pray that Adam, Chieko, Sam, Caroline and I receive continued energy from the Lord. Pray that we get everything done in time so that we start off our school on the right foot. Pray that we align our heart with God's, and are able to disciple our students by loving example. Finally, pray that each of us recieve a renewing of support. It's super important to have a solid support network behind us if we are going to pour into the student's lives as we intend to. I definitely can't do this without the words of encouragement, the prayers and the general support of all of you back home and in various part of the world.  I love and appreciate all of you.

P.s. We HAVE been praying about outreach locations, and we know roughly where we will be sending teams. Only a few are privy to the details, but I'll be letting you know as soon as I have the okay!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Welcome to Hawai'i

Aloha Friends and Family,

After the longest 40 hours of my life, I arrived here in beautiful Kona, Hawai'i late on Wednesday evening. Getting here was difficult after getting held up in customs - I've never been in one of those stark white interrogation rooms before, so I guess you could call it an adventure... After missing my original flight, I then got rescheduled three different times, all of them not working out for various reasons. I ended up staying Tuesday night in oh-so-friendly Newark, New Jersey. Then, at 3:30 am on Wednesday, I set back off for the airport for a six o'clock flight to san francisco. I then connected through honolulu, and finally arrived on the Big Island to the waiting and much-needed hugs of Adam, Chieko and Sam, who were there for me with leis in hand. There was also a little mishap with my bag, so that didn't actually arrive with my flight, but at that point nothing was phasing me anymore, so we went for dinner and my bag showed up late that night. I am officially 100% here.

I now live with six beautiful women, who are from all kinds of places. Each one is very different from the other, and I love that. Living with them is already so much fun, and such a blessing, and for someone who, a year ago, was uncertain about sharing a room with THREE girls, being excited about living with SIX is a pretty big deal.

Here at the Kona University of the Nations campus, Voice for the Voiceless is a small division of all the media-focused departments along with PhotogenX, film studies, and Grassroots News. The idea behind all of these is to tell the stories of God's people, to bring attention to important matters in an accessible, up-to-date way. We've spent the last two days praying into our school as a team and hearing God on His vision and His dreams for us and our students. We are getting really excited, but are realizing that we are going to need a lot of strength and a lot of guidance. We have been meeting with all kinds of people, trying to get an idea of how to work the media aspect of our school - the students will be trained in media throughout the lecture phase so that once they are on outreach, they will be capable of producing full-on stories and short documentaries in an effort to advocate effectively for the Voiceless. We are still not sure about outreach locations, but we will be praying about that on Monday.

As for me, I am doing quite well. I'm slowly getting over the time difference, though I still wake up really early, and start falling asleep at about 8pm. I'm loving Hawai'i, with it's colourful gardens and beautiful scenery. I'm finding it difficult to catch us with some of the logistical stuff for our school since the others have been here for a while and have already been working hard towards setting things up. Please, Please, PLEASE pray for energy for me as well as for Adam, Chieko, and Sam (who is fighting a cold) and also for financial breakthough. I am happy to report that, thanks to the generous support a few individuals, I have enough money raised for my first few months of rent here, praise God. I'll know more about how much I need to raise for outreach in a few weeks.

Finally, I wanted to express my appreciation for those of you who have encouraged, prayed for, supported, been there for, listened to, (put up with), offered me a hand or a hug in the last few months. Preparing for this was both exciting and hard, since it is both exciting to pursue God's plans for my life but still hard to leave my family and friend in montreal once again. I couldn't have gotten here without each of you. Mahalo!

All my love, and  blessings to all of you.