Life in Kona

As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”. It must be true, because 2014 is flying by!!!! In a few days, the year will be one third complete. For you glass half-full types, I will phrase it “there is two thirds of the year left”, to keep everyone happy.

We’ve been so busy in fact, that we haven’t updated the website this year. A bit slack!! So, we have to make amends by doing an incredible post this time! Read on to learn more…

So far this year, we have hosted numerous visitors, volunteered for various YWAM events, volunteered and competed in local triathlons, traveled to Oahu for surgery, on top of normal life and ministry commitments. Life so far in 2014 has been full, to say the least.

The year started off with a surprise visit from Lynnette’s brother Craig, his wife Ann, and their daughter Inga. They surprised us on January 3rd, Lynnette’s birthday.

In late January, we were visited by Paul’s brother Dave, his wife Tiffany, and their daughter Tori. And Paul’s sister, Sally, and her boyfriend Mitch from Australia came too. The only one of Paul’s siblings who couldn’t come was Tim, and his wife Megan, who were missed.

In February, we wrapped up our “visitor season” with visits from Lynnette’s parents, Dennis and Marilyn, and Lynnette’s good friend Jewel, from Lynden. We had a great time hosting all these visitors, showing them our life in Kona, and our work with YWAM.

We also love volunteering at different events. Lynnette made cup-cakes for an “adoption seminar” put on by a YWAM Kona ministry called “Chosen & Dearly Loved”. She also helped to put on “the Big Smile” event, which raised money for cleft-pallette surgeries in Thailand. Another thing our family likes to be involved with is triathlons. Josiah and Paul like to compete in some of these events, and when we’re not competing, we can volunteer by running aid stations for the athletes.

Then, unexpectedly, Tre had to fly to Oahu for hernia repair surgery. So that was a bit traumatic, to see our 11 month old have to go through a surgery, but we sensed God with us, and the surgeon was amazing. Tre did so good!!

Thanks for reading about our adventures these past few months. We are so blessed to serve the Lord with YWAM Kona, and we are immensely grateful to our team of financial and prayer supporters who stand behind us, allowing us to serve as we do.

The year that was

2013 is only days away from being done! It seems like January 2013 wasn’t that long ago, and here we are, the end of another year. Time flies by so fast; it’s a good reminder that we need to make the most of every moment that we have been given.

Our year had two major events. We had another baby in May. Tre is now just over 7 months old, and is now mobile. Look out world! He is a sweet boy, who adores his family, and readily gives a big smile to anyone who catches his eye. Then, in July, sensing the Lord was calling us into something new, we moved to Kona to serve as full-time volunteer missionaries with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). It wasn’t easy to say “Yes, Lord”, because we were content in Lynden, but it has been the right thing for our family to be back in YWAM. We are grateful to be part of how God is using YWAM to spread the gospel around the world.

This Christmas was very different than the last few years. We will have to figure out some new Hawaiian Christmas traditions. This year, we went to the beach on Christmas Eve. I guess not everyone can say that!! ūüôā We spent part of Christmas day celebrating as a family, part of the day with Paul’s parents, and the rest of the day with friends. Here is a picture of Tre, enjoying a new book.

Tre Christmas

Watching our children open gifts on Christmas day, I was reminded of some other “gifts”: for many families, 2013 was the year they received the gift of clean water! Justice Water (a ministry birthed in Kona, but with hub locations in Haiti, Togo and from April 2014, in Cambodia) produces an excellent Annual Report each year. For those not familiar, Justice Water uses inexpensive technology to give people access to clean water. For example, a BioSand Water Filter that can eliminate 99% of water impurities can be built for under $20. Gifts like these water filters can radically alter a family’s life and their future, and once they receive that gift, we have found they are often more open to hearing the gospel message. Click here to view the 2013 Annual Report. It’s a great read!

We also reflect on the incredible privilege it is to serve here with YWAM. As volunteers, we rely 100% on funding from generous donors like you. We are so thankful for the team of faithful supporters we have, that give to us each month without fail. We are so blessed to have these partners alongside of us. Having said that, we are still looking for a few more people to commit to supporting us financially on a monthly basis. If you would like to partner with our ministry in this way, visit our Partner page to find out HOW you can give.

If you would like to make a one-off financial gift before year-end, time is running out. Since this coming Tuesday is the last day of 2013, if you would like to have your contribution count towards your 2013 taxes, I suggest you call the Donor Processing Office (808-326-4428) promptly. If that doesn’t work, please call us (360-393-8662 Paul) and we will be glad to help. Thank you so much to those of you who have already sent year-end contributions! May the Lord bless you richly!

With all that happened in 2013, I think we can be confident that God will do even greater things in 2014.

So much to be thankful for

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches here in the U.S., I am always reminded that the bible calls us to be thankful, no matter what our circumstances. We are to be grateful people, whether we are in plenty or in want. For most of us, we have SO MUCH to be thankful for: food to eat, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear. On top of these basic needs, we as believers, can be thankful for God’s love, for Him sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us, for the indwelling Holy Spirit, our church community, the list goes on.

One of the things that may not make your list of things you are thankful for, however, is clean water. The fact is, most of us take clean water for granted. We have water in our homes. Doesn’t everyone? Sadly, no. In developing countries, people can have to walk a long way, just to get access to water. Can you imagine this? Imagine your home with NO WATER. Now think of¬†all the water you use each day to bathe, drink, brush your teeth, wash your clothes, wash your dishes. What if you had to go each day and retrieve that water from your community water source, and it was an hour’s drive from your house, and you had to¬†bring it home? And what if¬†the water source does not have clean water? This situation is a reality for many people in our world, especially in the developing world.

One of the ministries that Lynnette and I work with here at YWAM Kona is called Justice Water. We believe that everyone has the right to clean water. Justice Water uses simple, sustainable water technology, to bring clean water to those who need it. Here is a video of a water project just outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia from May of this year.

Outreach Training for DTS

Last weekend, Paul was involved in an outreach training event for the various discipleship training schools here at the campus. There is a real push right now for DTS to be more intentional in training our staff for overseas outreach. With that emphasis, Paul was part of a crew that organized the event, which ran from 1pm Friday to 6pm Saturday.

It was a fantastic event for our staff. We had over 100 staff in attendance, and all who attended were blessed by some of the gifted teachers that serve here at YWAM Kona. The training was on numerous topics related to outreach: What is an outreach? Outreach Requirements, Budgeting for outreach, Dealing with Emergencies, Cross-Cultural issues, and the list goes on.

Paul was so excited to be involved, as training staff to be more effective in their role is one of his passions. Paul shared for 45 minutes on how to properly budget for outreach, walking the staff through some financial guidelines, as well as an excel budget template on the big screen. This topic is important given that we send hundreds of thousands of dollars with our teams who go on outreach each quarter, and we want to be wise stewards of these funds. This quarter, around Christmas-time, we will have approximately 40 outreach teams with almost 400 short-term missionaries who will go out and preach the gospel in many locations around the world ‚Äď primarily in Asia and the Pacific, but teams are also being sent to Europe and the USA.

The goal of this training is that our outreaches are even more fruitful, and ultimately that more people make decisions for Christ, and then are connected to their local church for further growth and discipleship.

Are you available?

In John 6, we read the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes. A crowd has gathered around Jesus, and knowing they are hungry, He asks Philip “how shall we feed them?” Philip observes it would take 8 month’s wages to buy enough food for each person to have just a bite. Another disciple, Andrew, finds a boy with five loaves and two fish, but questions how far that will go among so many. We all know how the story ends: Jesus gives thanks and is able to perform a miracle, taking the loaves and fish, and using it to feed the entire crowd, numbering probably around 15,000 people (including women and children), and not only that, there is even left-overs!!

What an incredible story of how God can take “nothing” and make it into “something”. Isn’t that true of our lives, too? We are like the boy with the five loaves and two fish. From a human perspective, we may think we don’t have much to offer, especially when the needs around us are so great. But it’s not about our perspective. We need to see things from God’s perspective. When we come to Jesus, He is able to use our lives for His glory. I have heard it said before that God is more interested in our “avail-ability” than our “ability”.

God is calling us as His followers to serve Him, to proclaim His name in all the earth. Wherever He has placed you, there are needs all around you. Will you make yourself available today to the Lord, to serve His purposes?

Here is a great video, just released by YWAM, about what it is to be a missionary.

Meeting Spiritual and Physical Needs in Togo

One of the YWAM ministries that Lynnette and I will be working with here in Kona is called Justice Water (http://www.justicewater.net).

Justice Water aims to empower developing communities with multipliable and sustainable water technologies, using resources that are available, affordable, and acceptable to their culture and region.

It is easy to take our access to clean water for granted, but according to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion people do not have access to safe water supply sources.

Check out this video below, to show how simple technology can be used to meet one of our most basic needs: clean water.

Getting settled in Kona

We are gradually finding our feet in Kona. We’ve been here for 16 days now, and it’s starting to feel more like home.

The awesome news is that we have found housing! We found a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo, and we move in August 1st.¬† The condo is close to campus, so close we can even walk. So we think it’s going to be the perfect place to start out. Long term, we would like to own a home in Kona and put down roots.

The housing timing couldn’t have been better. We had to find a place to live quickly¬†to give the shipping company an address of where to deliver our shipping container. We found housing just in time. Once the container is ready for delivery, you have 10 days to get the container back to the port to avoid surcharges. This 10 days ended up being August 2nd, so we will have it unpacked on the first, and back to the shipping company just in time.

Our car has also arrived on the Island, and we are going to pick it up tomorrow. It will be fun to have our car back, although Paul is eager to unpack our container and get his motorcycle out….but he’ll have to be patient, as it was the first item into the container, so it will be the last item out.

The boys are getting used to the Kona lifestyle, and are starting to make friends too. Tre is now over 2 months old, and is also adapting well to the new surroundings. The poor guy must wonder what happened, having gone from low humidity in Lynden, to super high humidity here.

Our work with the campus is going well. Paul is continuing to meet many of the key players at the campus. He is currently involved with school leader training for the quarter starting in September. Because YWAM operates schools on a quarterly cycle, the need for¬†proper training of leaders is paramount to ensure we have successful schools. Paul’s goal is to make sure systems and procedures are in place so that as the campus multiplies, that our programs are fruitful and effective, for the glory of the Lord. Paul is also putting his accounting background to good use, and has been put in charge of the book-keeping for the cooperative school that Josiah and Austin will attend.

Here’s some pics of the kids at the beach. The pic of Lynnette and the boys is the wonderful view from the U of N campus, overlooking Kona and Kailua Bay.

tre_beachohanakyle_beachjosiah_kyle_beach

We have arrived

For over a year now,¬†our family¬†have been in a transition, as we followed the Lord’s calling to return to Kona, Hawaii to work with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). Well, that season of transition is now over, and we have arrived in Kona to start a new chapter in our family’s life.

We flew in on Tuesday July 9th, and were greeted by not only intense humidity, but also by our good friends Andrew & Jane West and their two boys, Isaac & Lucas. So, as I type this, we have been here for 5 days.

We are privileged to be staying at the house of some friends of ours who are vacationing in Montana for the month of July. They have 4 boys also, so the house is tailor-made for us. At the moment, we are searching for a suitable place to rent. There is not a lot available, so we are trusting the Lord that he will continue to provide for us, not only in finances, but also in accommodation.

The great thing about the place we are staying is that it is around 800 feet above sea level – this is really helping us, by keeping the temperature’s down.

Most people want to know if we are getting settled РI think that process is going to take a couple of months! We are awaiting both our shipping container and our vehicle. Once those arrive, and we have our accommodation sorted out, then I think we will start to feel settled. It is on the one hand great to be here, and feels like we have come back home (this is where Lynnette and I met 16 years ago), and on the other hand, it feels like we have left home in Lynden behind, and we all miss our friends and family from there.

Since arriving, we have been down to the YWAM base several times, as we try to find our way around again. I think one of our favorite places is the Plaza of Nations, which has flags to show the nations that are represented at the Kona base. It is very cool to be surrounded by so many nationalities, and I think just a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like, as the nations worship the Lord together.

plaza of nations

Paul had his first meeting with DTS leadership on Friday. It was a great meeting, and gave Paul a sense of what the Lord is doing right now through the base, and how He is making the DTS program grow in fruitfulness,and effectiveness, but also how the base has such a need for people with administrative skill, to make the program even more successful.

We also celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary on July 10th, the day after arriving here in Kona. It was special to wake up on our first morning here, and celebrate our journey together these past 15 years, and our future together. We were able to spend that evening with some friends down at the beach, share a meal together, and watch the incredible sunset.

Please pray for our family for the following:

  • For each member of our family to adjust to life in Kona
  • For our family to find housing in the next 10 days
  • For more people to become monthly financial partners of our ministry. We are so blessed by the support we have received, but we are still around $800 per month short.

If you would like to partner with us, either through a one-off gift, or as a monthly supporter, please go to our “Partner With Us” page, which has details on how to give.

Aloha!

Finishing up in Washington

Our life in the State of Washington is rapidly drawing to a close. We spent the weekend packing our container, and cleaning the house up for the new owners. We were all moved out by Sunday afternoon, and have now moved in with Lynnette’s parents for a few days. On Saturday, we head down to Seattle to spend our remaining time with Paul’s brother Dave & his family. We fly out on Tuesday the 9th.

It was great having Paul’s parents here – not only did they get to meet young Tre, who is now 6 weeks old, we also had some fun times with them, and they were a tremendous help in the packing process.

Packing the container went very well. At first, we didn’t think that all our stuff would fit into the 20 foot container, but thanks to the masterminds of Craig (Lynnette’s brother) and Lynnette, we fit it all in, and with room to spare! We were super blessed by many helpers – people who lifted, packed, cleaned, organized, delegated, got food and those who held babies. And thanks to some generous friends, we even had the use of a forklift, which was necessary to get items into the container which was 4 feet off the ground (not to mention it was a big hit with the boys).

Paul is finishing up at his work this week – he leaves with mixed feelings: sadness because he is leaving behind a job that has given him great satisfaction over the past 6 years, working with a team of great people, but also excitement because we are being obedient to the Lord in what we are embarking on.

Here’s some photos of the packing process, the truck taking away our container, as well as dinner out with Paul’s parents.

IMG_8211IMG_8251IMG_8198