If you haven’t seen our update video, you may have noticed the title of this blog has changed a little…it is now officially the story of FOUR adventurers! We are so excited to be able to share what we have known for quite some time that DJ and Rebecca will be joining us for all the amazing things God has in store for us in Hawaii. As time goes on we are hoping for this space to be a documentary of all our experiences, great and small, so if you’re wondering what’s happening across the Pacific this will be the place to check.
I’ve been thinking a lot of about what this blog is about and I have a confession to make: aloha doesn’t really mean hello and goodbye. I know you’re probably laughing or puzzled as to why I would decide to name a blog that if it’s not true, but I can explain. Aloha can be used as a greeting or salutation, so in that sense the name is correct, but that’s not actually what it means. Aloha signifies goodwill, hopefulness, peace, and happiness. The aloha spirit is what Hawaiians are known for. It’s like a lifestyle of blessing to the world around you. So that’s why I chose that title for our blog. We will be saying goodbye to all we know here and wishing you all the blessings God has for you and we will be saying hello to a whole new life ahead of us that we hope to embrace with open arms.
The reason I’ve been thinking about all this is because I think that sometimes people have different ideas of what mission work looks like. Most of the time people think about building actual church buildings or working at orphanages or doing things that “matter.” If you stay tuned to this blog you probably won’t see a lot of that, at least not right away. That’s because being a missionary can take on a LOT of different forms depending on the culture and the needs of the people, and what we hope to accomplish is going to take time. Hawaii is not the mainland so the four of us are going to have our work cut out for us our first year there just getting to know the culture and immersing ourselves in that aloha spirit. Our mission work won’t look like what you might expect, but it is essential to gaining the people’s trust and knowing exactly how we can best serve them.
So what will that look like? Honestly, it might mean hitting up the beach every day. I know that sounds like a cheap answer, but what better way to meet people on a tropical island? Every time we step foot on the sand there will be other people to connect with, because everyone really is like family there, and every connection is an opportunity to share the Gospel. Maybe we’ll start with just causal conversation and we’ll find out they’re affiliated with another religion (since there are a lot of options there) or that they’re in a financial crisis and that will open the door for us to build a relationship with them and be Christ to them where they are.
Another example of what our mission work might look like is taking a hiking trip. There is a beautiful 12 miles hike along the famous Na Pali Coast that leads to a gorgeous beach. That particular beach is known for its homeless population…some people have lived there for twenty years! Going on that hike is a way to reach those people that literally cannot be reached otherwise (although they do live there by choice) with the message of Jesus. They can help us understand what it means to be homeless there and if there is anything we can do for them to meet their physical needs. It also is a great way to meet other hikers who frequent the trial and start friendships with them that could lead to them coming to Christ and us gathering more information about the people we are reaching out to.
So if you’re reading this over the next few months and you’re wondering why there are so many snorkeling pictures or why you’re not hearing about all the lives we’re saving it’s because we are out being Jesus to the people around us and that starts with getting to know them. We want to learn everything we can and become a part of their world before we introduce them to ours. We have a lot to learn but we are so excited that God has given us this opportunity to be used by Him. It will be hard not to want to jump in with our preconceived notions and our opinions but it’s what we need to do to be effective in reaching the lost and being a light. So while our mission may not be what some people might expect, it will be done in the aloha spirit of the people we are so excited to meet.
*I can’t take credit for the photo yet, it’s from a Google Image search under the Na Pali Coast…you should check it out!