They‘re here! They’re here! DJ and Rebecca have been on the island a whole month now and I encouraged them to share their experiences so far. Transitioning from home owners to renters in a household that consists of two married couples has not been without challenges, but it is also such a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ here to learn and grow and do life with us. Here is their side of the story…
I can’t believe it has been four weeks since we moved to Kauai! So much has happened sometimes we feel like we have been here longer because every day is so filled with adventures and new experiences.
First off, since we came here to do mission work some of you understandably are hoping to hear all kinds of incredible stories right away. We didn’t come to Kauai with an organization so for us it is about being intentional everywhere we go. Examples of this are we purposely are out and about on hikes or to the beach every day if we aren’t working which allows us to interact with others and offer them help. Sometimes just asking if they want their picture taken can be a great source of starting conversation. The other day we did a hike and our dog Sunny was with us and sparked conversation with a group of tourists from none other than our home state of Michigan. This allowed us the opportunity to offer to be free tour guides and show God’s love any way we can. We have also become involved with the church Simon and Lindsey have been attending and have become involved in a small group through the church that involves young adults that are part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission). It is wonderful to see other young adults that are here to serve on Kauai as well and that have so much knowledge of the Bible and wanting to serve him in any way possible.
Since we came here to live we arrived on Kauai and were so blessed to already have a place to live with Simon and Lindsey. When they first got here they had to fend for themselves with everything and had a place to live but it was basically an open room with no windows or screens on top of a garage. They were also great with transporting us to different places until we found a car. Fortunately we were able to find a car within the first week of moving which also led to DJ getting his job working for a place that makes custom wood products (cabinets, doors, windows,furniture). The guy that we purchased our vehicle from has a lot of influence at DJ’s place of employment and DJ has been able to really get to know him and he seems to be searching for something more. Prayers that DJ will be what this man needs to see Christ and not only live for himself and this world.
For me, I applied for a dental hygiene job on Craigslist before I got to Kauai. I received a phone call and basically had a phone interview and was then asked to come in in person for an interview just four days after we arrived on Kauai. God truly is amazing at what he places in our lives for opportunities if we trust him. The office I am working at has been great. Everyone is so kind and helpful and they have a passion for getting out in the community which is what we want to be able to do.
After living here for a month it is evident there is so much need here and opportunities to help others. Since the cost of living is higher many people are barely making it and are being forced to live with family members and in cramped spaces. There are plenty of beautiful homes here, especially on certain areas of the island, but there are also many poor areas that most tourists just tend to look over and ignore because they are so enthralled by the beauty of the island. Education isn’t good on the island and many local people aren’t able to afford to go back to the mainland to further their education. Also, unlike California where the cost of living is high and your wages reflect that, that is not the case for the most part here. While if you are willing to work it is relatively easy to find a job, most of the jobs only pay as much as they would back in Michigan. Which when a house that would cost $50,000 in Michigan would cost $250,000 here makes life a struggle for the locals.
As for me and DJ, we still have more than enough but are learning how to be as efficient as possible. Leftovers are always eaten, we dry our clothes on the line outside, make sure we always leave lights off, we turn the water off while we brush our teeth, we don’t purchase every modern convenience, and we try to live with only what we need to function. Some of these changes may seem silly and before we probably would have thought that it wasn’t a big deal to use a dryer, or throw away a few leftovers, or purchase things to make life a little easier, but living on less income so we can spend more time investing in people means cutting costs wherever possible. I can’t imagine what people in third world countries have to deal with barely getting by from day to day and living with next to nothing. DJ and I watched a documentary “Living on One Dollar” on Netflix awhile ago and it really is eye opening. I have always been concerned with having the cutest new clothing item or makeup and it just makes you see how silly all of that really is especially if we are trying to live how Jesus did. Instead of purchasing things solely for our own enjoyment now we try to base our purchases off of how they will help us better serve others. Not saying that you should never buy anything for yourself, but that as Americans, including myself, we tend to buy in excess and have way more than we need.
As I close our first blog entry I would just ask for continued prayers with everything we do and that God would place opportunities in our path. Also for continued guidance to do what God wants us to do in every aspect of our lives and to always show God’s love wherever we are.