Ups and Downs

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I never thought writing a blog would be so difficult. I love to write and I love to share what God is doing, but somehow keeping up with this has become a daunting task.  I think it’s because I’m never sure what to share. Maybe I’m afraid of oversharing, maybe I worry about preconceived notions coloring the truth, or maybe I just don’t know how to describe what I’m thinking or feeling about how things are going here. Whatever it is, I’m going to share a little bit of my heart today, so please be gentle with it.

Living here has been an ocean of ups and downs. Every day there are tremendous highs and tremendous lows and it seems hard to reconcile them at times. Without fail I wake up each morning and marvel at the beautiful world God made when He made Kauai. It seems impossible that people can live here and not see Him all around them because it’s an amazing place to live. My heart is just so full when I’m out in Creation whether it’s walking through the jungle, climbing mountains, or laying on the beach…Hawaii definitely is my niche and getting out of the house is an awesome way to meet people and share the love of Jesus all over this island.

On the flip side of that love and beauty is a whole host of daily struggles that seem so petty at times but are also very real and that’s where I’d love to ask for your prayers.  One thing that all four of us can attest to is the struggle of living with another couple. We are beyond best friends, we love each other for who we are, we hold each other accountable and lift each other up, and we have a lot of fun together. BUT that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We miss our spouses even when we’re near them every day. We miss our own routines. While we’ve made routines for our household that are meaningful, it’s just not the same, especially because those things are always in flux due to the frequent amount of guests we host. And we miss being ourselves 100% of the time. When you live with other people you’re always conscious of their needs as well as your own, which is what community is all about, but sometimes you just want to do what you feel like and not worry how it affects someone else.

Like I said, that’s one struggle that sounds so petty, but it is our reality all of the time. Since Simon and I arrived we have lived by ourselves for only three weeks. After the month of May ends, the four of us will have lived with other people more than with each other since DJ and Rebecca got to the island. We knew that’s what we signed up for. We knew that inviting people out here meant constant company, entertainment, and hosting. We knew we wanted people in ministry to come and get refreshed and we are SO thankful that’s happening. We just didn’t know how much of a toll that can take on a house full of introverts, especially when some people stay for weeks and weeks at a time, some without notice or contribution to household expenses. So we could definitely use your prayers in that area. We love showing people our island, seeing friendly and familiar faces, and being a blessing to people who need it so pray for us to have the grace and patience we need to extend to each other and all who enter our home. It’s not our house, it’s God’s house, and we want to be the loving stewards He’s called us to be while we use it.

Caitlan (right) and Jessica were our first ministry workers to visit! Jessica works for Rev22 Church in Boise, ID as a children’s minister and Caitlan is a traveling nurse with a heart for southeast Asia. We were so blessed to offer them a place to stay while they fueled up for the work God is doing in and through them. *Fun fact: Caitlan and I have been pen pals since 2001*

Another difficulty we face is the pressure of living up to others’ expectations. We have a lot of unique ministries going on but there is always opposition and questions because we aren’t updating enough or doing what people think we should be doing. We tried to prepare people for the kind of work we’d be doing here, but that doesn’t stop people from freely sharing their opinions without actually experiencing life with us. To alleviate some of that pressure I thought I would tell you about a few things we’re doing that you may not know about. I hope that will allow you to pray for us and will inspire you to look for God in places you might not be searching for Him.

One ministry we’ve started is a hitchhiking ministry. Hitchhiking is legal here and a major mode of transportation for homeless and transient people. A lot of people come to the island on work trade living arrangements so they don’t necessarily have the means or desire to own a car. In that case, they can take the bus, but most choose to hitchhike. Some people lose licenses due to alcohol or drugs and are unable to drive themselves. Those are the kind of people we are reaching out to. Our house rule is to pick up any and every hitchhiker we see (unless the car is full to capacity). On our way to work, church, the beach, or anywhere we go, we pick up every person we see. We also try to bring them right to their destination. Most of the time people just drop them off wherever is convenient to the driver’s destination. Occasionally that happens for us, like if we are cutting it close to getting to work on time and can’t go out of our way, but sometimes it can mean adding 40 minutes of driving that we may not have planned on.  After all, Jesus said if someone asks you to walk a mile with them, walk another mile, so that’s the kind of witness we try to be to these people.

Our new friend Christa. She was praying on Easter Sunday to get a ride to church after waiting on the side of the road for 30 minutes. We came along right after as a direct answer to her prayer and didn’t even know it!

At the end of every ride we ask permission to take a selfie and for any prayer requests they might have.  In our house we have a bulletin board with pictures of every person we’ve given a ride to and their prayer requests so we can pray for them by name. Since it’s a small island we sometimes end up driving the same people over and over again and we can ask them personal questions about what we’ve been praying for because we know them and their needs and really try to love them like Jesus would.

The beginning of our hitchhiker prayer board…check out our video coming out soon to see more.

Another unique situation that has arisen is a relationship Simon has created with a homeless man down the road. He is an alcoholic, he can be seen at the same table every day with a bottle of something in front of him, but he needs Jesus. So most Sunday mornings Simon takes a homemade breakfast down to him and just sits with him while he eats. Often the man exploits the situation asking for something to drink or requesting a different food option, but that doesn’t deter us from helping him. Loving someone like Jesus, especially someone who does not hold our beliefs or standards, means seeing past their sin and being present in their lives regardless of their behavior or choices. That’s what will win them over, when we freely extend the grace of God no matter what.

Those are just a few of the things we do on a daily basis here. We don’t run a church or an orphanage, we aren’t building houses or painting walls, but we are living our lives 100% in light of the Gospel and for the sake of those people Christ died to save. It can be tiring and stressful and, honestly, you don’t often see the fruits of your labor this side of Heaven, but living in obedience and trusting God for the rest is far more important than anything else this work has to offer.

So that’s my story for today. Thank you for your prayers and your understanding!




3 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. I am excited and glad that you are working in Hawaii. God has some great work for you and it sounds like you are very open to Him.

    We Americans have a characteristic that drives Missionaries crazy world wide. We always have a better idea on how to do a project or ministry. Some missionaries have stopped inviting people from the USA to come because it is so problematic. I always try to those who go with me to learn from the Missionaries and people of the work. We do not always have the answer.

    I want to encourage you to stand strong. Your work is good and you are listening to God not man. Your hitchhiking ministry sounds fabulous. I know of a man in Southern California who does this. He says it gives him a trapped audience. I would be scared to death to do it. Keep up the good work

    Alvin Kuest

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey guys! I commonly lurk on your Facebook walls and blog without saying anything but I just wanted you to know it sounds like you are loving and serving people in a way that only you two can:). Amazing work.

    Larry and I have experienced communal living and had similar feelings to it as you both. Prayers!!

    Thanks for the update:)

    Liked by 1 person

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