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Bookends

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This week is book-ended by some of the best moments of the Church: the gathering and the sending of believers.

The week began by gathering last Friday/Saturday at Kona Nazarene with students in the district Course of Study, pastors, and some family members for the second weekend of a class. The course was, "Practicing Wesleyan Holiness Spiritual Formation," and is part of the requirements to be ordained as a Nazarene pastor. We discussed some of the rhythms the Church, and Jesus Christ Himself, have used to meet with God and to be formed by His Spirit. It takes about a 2-hour drive to get to Kona Nazarene from our church to give you some perspective on how BIG the Big Island is...and no, that's not sitting in traffic like Oahu. It was certainly worth it though!

This year, we've been piloting a new format for our district classes. We offer each of the 25 required classes in a part 1 and part 2 format over 2 weekends, on 3 of the Hawaiian Islands: Oahu, Maui, and the B…

Prayer & Fasting

Over the last few months, we have felt the overwhelming need for compassionate ministries in our area and feel God's heart aching for His children who are in need.As a church, the Lord has led us into a specific time of fasting and prayer for direction on how we should be faithfully responding to this great need. This season should not be the only time you pray or fast, but we encourage you to join us in prayer and fasting for God's guidance. We would ask you, whether you're a part of our local congregation or the global body of Christ, to follow the instructions of Christ when it comes to fasting and prayer:
Matthew 6:5-13,16-18 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, w…

Rain

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It's been a hot summer here, that's at least what I've concluded from my vast 3-summer life experience here in Hawai'i. The jury's still out from those who've lived here their whole lives regarding this statement. 
And then last night...it started raining. Each time, you hear it coming as it begins hitting metal roofs of houses all around us, the sound crescendoing until the sprinkling meets our own roof. Props to the previous pastors for fixing this parsonage roof that apparently used to leak a LOT. Props to several of our current congregants for getting our sanctuary to FINALLY stop leaking. I can enjoy the rain now without anxiety of interior-lakes forming. 
A shot from the parsonage on a particularly rainy day...
As the rain washed over Puna throughout the night and through most of today, I have been grateful for both the cooling and quieting affect rain seems to have here. To me, a rainy day here feels like a snowy day in the Midwest. You can't help but…

Experts in Weakness

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In the face of all the “trouble in paradise” that the people of Puna District face, I am consistently floored by the endurance and faithfulness that our people also display.

There seems to be a common theme drawing people to the Big Island, specifically to the Puna District: the desire for a restart. Sometimes that restart is an escape from the rat race of the mainland or other islands...to slow down, to appreciate life again. Many times that craving for a restart is a break from previous poor choices, family, associates, or life direction.

It was clear as Ray and I began ministry here almost 3 years ago (we’re still very much newbies here), that we had a lot of listening to do. As we got to know our people, we heard incredible stories of moving here with simply a suitcase or two, or perhaps even less, and the great sacrifices made to simply arrive. Those stories are astounding...and terrifying to the over-planner in me. We heard stories of being forced here by the growing prices of o…

Tropical Depression

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According to the Office of Public Health Preparedness, "The 2019 Central Pacific Hurricane Season officially began June 1 and runs until November 30." At any time during these months, residents of our islands are encouraged to have a 14-day emergency supply of food, water, and other basic needs covered at all times - you can find instructions on how to prepare here. I can say without a doubt this is the first time in my life a plastic container with spam and rice can be found in my bedroom closet. 


In the last few weeks, we've had several tropical depressions, then storms, that could have upgraded into hurricanes that eventually downgraded or missed our islands. This language is a regular part of our news and vocabulary. Yet every time I hear the phrase, "tropical depression," I can't help but think about the mental health realities, or perhaps I should say un-health, of our area. This article from last year gives a good glimpse of the situation. 

Many of the…

The Outlet By The Trashcan

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You might miss the electrical outlet behind the trashcan and recycling bin on the church lanai, but most evenings and Sunday mornings this unassuming, gray outlet becomes quite popular.
Though digital-device-addiction and therefore anxiety-inducing low batteries are a real thing in our world, this isn't the only reason for the outlet's popularity. The reality is within our congregation, my best estimate would be half our people live off the electrical grid. A few have solar panel systems that feed into batteries for their electrical needs, but many survive off a gas-powered generator that is turned off and on throughout the day to pace usage. That is, provided they have money and transportation to get gas that week. Some have no power source whatsoever.
While it may seem like a petty thing to charge these often overly-used devices, it's easy to forget how quickly being detached from communication can hinder peoples' lives. Communication for work, medical issues, trans…

Love God, Love Others, Love Lived

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You may or may not have noticed a couple-week hiatus in these blog posts. I have been on the mainland with 2 students from our congregation as part of our 47-person group from the Hawaii Pacific District attending Nazarene Youth Conference (NYC) in Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, we did go to Arizona in the summer...yes, we did survive.

As with most Christian camps or conferences, you always make wonderful memories, you bond with the group you attend with, and most importantly you experience moments of deep connection with the Lord. All of these things, though taking place within a public convention center in downtown Phoenix, are done within somewhat of a Christian bubble. I was grateful that immediately following the closing service of NYC, our district grabbed some boxed lunches, loaded a bus, and headed off to go do a tube float on the Salt River with the Southern California District.



From previous years in youth ministry camping/canoe trips, I anticipated what we were about to experience …