Journals from a 3 month internship with Surfing The Nations, a non-profit based on Oahi Street in Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii- www.surfingthenations.com
Jehovah-Jireh: God the provider! Stories of God’s provision:
Today, I felt that God was telling me to pull away from STN for a day. It was like God wanted to talk to me but I was too busy and surrounded by other people to listen. There was a man who I had been meaning to meet since I came to Hawaii who is a friend of my neighbor back in Michigan. It’s unlikely that a neighbor in Michigan would know anyone in Honolulu, yet alone a Christian who runs a non-profit, so I wondered if God had anything in mind. I made an appointment to meet him at his office today at 10 a.m. to talk story, hear about his foundation, and marvel at the fact that we had a close connection. So I hopped on the 52 bus line for an hour and then walked a mile right to his office. Talking to him was so encouraging and he has radical faith in God. We shared our testimonies of how we were saved. I asked him how he funded his venture, which he began 12 years ago, and he pointed his finger up to the ceiling. “God,” he said. He told me that he doesn’t store up wealth. They steward what they have and do not save it away for future security. As a matter of fact, if they were to lose funding unexpectedly, they would have to shut their doors within a couple months. But the miraculous thing is, they’ve employed 300 full time staff for 12 years thanks to continual state funding and donations! Now I know why he pointed up. Hearing this gave me a lot of encouragement as I’m considering staying at STN for one year (or doing other missions) and am unsure how I would support myself. I’m thankful for all the amazing, strong Christians I’ve been meeting here who spur me on and affirm how real God is, how He speaks, and How to accomplishes His work through us. As I was leaving his office, he handed me a one hundred dollar bill. It caught me by surprise and I didn’t really know what to say. I was beyond thankful! He also told me to keep him updated on my future plans and that he would support me should I choose to stay and commit to STN. So great.
At the end of the day, I checked my phone to do some routine facebook stalking when… (jk)… I get an email. It’s from a man in Long Beach, Calfornia who I have never heard of or met. Him and his buddy are in a band and record music together. They’ve made about 4-5 albums in the past, 2 of which have been Christian gospel albums, and sound very similar to the Beach Boys. Really great stuff- just chill, smooth, fun, easy to listen to! Anyway, he had stumbled upon my blog and wanted to use a painting for the cover of his next album. He said he usually sells about 200 CD’s- mostly to friend and family- and asked how much I would charge. I had no idea what to say. So in the moment, I said that I’m a volunteer and please just send me a donation of any amount that you feel is appropriate. So not onyl was he kind enough to send a generous donation, he also bought the original artwork. Thank you God, how fun! (Will post the album when it comes out in July… click to listen to former albums: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/spihunt/id540572783)
Internship ended at last and today I was flying home after spending a couple free days roaming around the North Shore. Turns out, Delta has overbooked my flight by 12 people. I volunteer to give up my seat and fly out the next day in return for free lodging and a $400 airline voucher. Because its the eve of Christmas eve, local hotels are completely full and there aren’t many places for the airline to put us up for the night. So where do I end up staying?? In a huge, ocean-facing room at the Hilton on Waikiki Beach! This place was no joke. I almost couldn’t handle the nice-ness of everything. And some airline money for a return flight perhaps? God is good.
When my mom picked me up from the airport in Grand Rapids, we stopped in Chipotle to get some food. It was very crowded in there (as always because who doesn’t love burritos the size of their face) so we shared a table with another woman who was sitting in there alone. She looked sooo familiar. Where do I know you? You look so familiar! She agreed. We realized that we went to the same church and had been attending a class together before I left. She asked me what I had been up to, so I told her a bit about my internship. She said that her and her husband owned a business in town and she would be interested in supporting me should I decide to return. Ok God, things are getting weird. But thank you.
-Spent 10 days in Kauai adventuring, making friends, “talking story” with locals, and working on a 130 acre ranch pulling weeds and removing trees. This place gave me a mere glimpse what the Garden of Eden must have been like, and how God intended for us to live in total perfection. One day I hope to go back!
-Worked another ‘Feeding The Hungry’ today, except this time it was in our parking lot in Wahiawa. There are usually about 150 locals that come to get food. Today there were 2 young girls who came with their mom to get food- Akiko, age 7 and Queeny, age 3. They go to Ulu Pono (STN’s after-school program) regularly and I had spent a bit of time with them during the beginning of internship. Honestly, I didn’t spend that much time around them- just a couple hours max. I was working at the registration table today, and they both came up and sat in the two empty chairs next to me. Most of the time I feel really awkward around kids and don’t know what to say to them. I just started asking the oldest girl if she was excited about Christmas and what her favorite color was. To my surprise, she remembered my name and that I had gone swimming with her at the beach (almost 2 months ago now). She wanted to help me, so I gave her the job of handing out numbers to all the people coming to get food. I could tell she loved having a little job to do. Then the younger girl Queeny started telling me how Katie, another intern, took her swimming. She said she loved to swim and it was her favorite thing to do. Sitting with these girls made me realize for the first time that we really do matter to these kids. I had made the mistake of thinking that we weren’t really doing enough. I didn’t feel like I had made any real connection with them during Ulu Pono 2 months ago, yet they remembered my name. God is using me whether I realize it or not, and it’s so cool. Anyway, here is a picture I found on someone’s FB from Feeding The Hungry today.
Afterwards, we picked up trash around the block and then had a girl’s night. All 15 of us girls went to a Zumba class on the north shore. It was so much fun!
-24-hour Worship: For the last 24 hours, we’ve had nonstop worship and prayer in one of our main street-front buildings (where Surfer’s Church is hosted on Saturday nights). Every hour, a different musician/duo/band played music and three different prayer teams met to pray. Each group prayed for something different, whether it be the local community, upcoming STN outreaches, international trips, provisional needs, future dreams, for the gospel to be received wherever we go, and so much more. This is part of what makes STN such a special and unique place. I was assigned to pray from 1:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. with Freida, who works here planning STN’s international trips to Muslim countries, and listened in on some worship before and after our prayer hour.
We attended Kauai Christian Fellowship Church and turns out this place is Bethany Hamilton’s home church. Yes, we obnoxiously approached her for a photo and to tell her that she inspires us. We tell her that we’ve been camping on the north shore but are headed to a ranch nearby where we’ll be staying for the rest of the week. Turns out, this ranch is where she just had her wedding. Side note.. I am not ashamed to admit that Soul Surfer is one of my top 5 favorite movies ever.
church in a tent.. brilliant!
Josephine your smile is priceless I love it.
>> 1) Fellow intern Anna came here to STN as a nonbeliever through the recommendation of her friend back home in Sweden (who was obviously hoping and praying that God would take hold of her here). She knows a lot about the Bible and has been very open, but like the rest of us there are so many questions about life that go unanswered. Like… do we really have free will? Does God really speak to us or is it just my conscious and my own thoughts? Why are so many Christians judgmental, especially of homosexuals? Its so hard to be a Christian sometimes because I fail all the time in representing Jesus properly. I mean, I really don’t do Him justice. I say one thing and then find myself living out the contrary without even realizing it sometimes. Looking to people, who have always been and will always be imperfect, isn’t always the best resource for learning who God is. What once you understand the heart of God- who died for the broken, loves the poor, heals our hearts, gives us hope, is perfect, invented reconciliation, and is the very definition of love- you realize its everything you’ve been searching for your entire life. Anyway, back to Anna… Last Tuesday during Sabbath day, she made the decision not just to believe God is real but to trust in Christ with her life. We are all very excited for he and as the Bible declares, there are angels celebrating in heaven over this spiritual victory. To God be the glory. Anna is an upbeat and caring person.. here is a recent pic of her camping in Kauai:
>> 2) I had the opportunity to lead a small group for the first time. The topic given to me was the word of God which is broad and challenging to cover fully. Part of leading is to study the topic ahead of time, provide material and scriptures, ask provoking questions and generate discussions that everyone can be a part of. Here was my lesson, which answered the question What is the Word of God?
GOD BREATHED: breathed out by God: it is inherent/ Totally correct/ Absolutely true/ Authoritative.
John 1:1- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The word always was and always will be. It will never pass away.
Q: Is there anything that hinders you from fully believing in scripture?
ALIVE: Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any 2 edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge thoughts and intentions of the heart.
THE GOSPEL: John 1:14- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. SALVATION: Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the word of God. has the power to convert.
Q: Can you believe and be saved without hearing the word?
TEACHING, REPROOF, CORRECTION: Must know the word to teach and preach the gospel- pretty much everything a believer is called to do. God doesn’t try to prove the Bible to be true, He simply declares the truth. Refutes Satan with scripture in the desert when he was tempted.
Q: Are ALL Christians called to teach or preach the word?
OUR MIND: not leaning on our own understanding.
Philippians 4:8- Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
OUR HEART: it is alive and has power. you feel the burden of its implications and leads to the discovery of things that need to be dealt with in your own heart.
Psalms 119:11- I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
OUR ACTIONS: the word dictates our moral behavior. thoughts become our minds, which become our words and who we are and what we will eventually do.
Joshua :8-9- This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
>> Food distribution in Kalihi (700 people) and in Wahiawa (150 people)
>> 3) Surfing the Nation’s annual art show- on property right here in Wahiawa- was a huge success. There aren’t really any community events in this city that draw people together. It isn’t like your typical small city with a main street that is lit up at night and lively with people, cafes, nightlife, and cultural events. The streets are unsafe and none of us really go out past dark unless its to another city or the 24 hour Walgreens next door. So to have our property decorated, lit up with Christmas lights, and open to the public for three consecutive nights is a pretty big deal around here. It gives people a reason to interact and connect over something positive, creative, and generated in love. During every hour of the art show, a group of 3-4 interns and staff gathered to pray for the event. Specifically, that the community would feel loved, welcomed, and be blessed by our efforts, and that Christ would be glorified. We also prayed that the city would see Christ followers in a new way- that we are creative, inclusive and not judgmental, giving, and joyful people. That we CARE and don’t expect anything back because that’s the nature of God. Here are a few pics from the event, taken by Kaelen our photographer/ videographer:
STN’s property/ mini mall on Ohai Street in Wahiawa: starting from the left: Surfer’s Coffee Bar, The Vintage Store, Wow Wow Waffles, and Surfer’s Church (remade into an art gallery) in-between the storefronts is a small alley that leads back our parking lot, dorms, and staff housing.. in the parking lot, there were kid’s art displays, a couple of retail vendors, a food truck, tables and chairs, music, and more.
a peak inside Surfer’s Coffee Bar, where the Artis Family Band and Streelight Cadence played the best music I’ve heard in… well, maybe ever.
food truck in the parking lot
STN’s worship team playing in the parking lot
Artis Family Band (top) and Streelight Cadence playing in the Surfers Coffee Bar
Miriam serving food. She is such a dear person and is currently completing STN’s 3 month leadership school in order to work on staff.
Ryley! Our Internship Director interns Katie, Grace, and Josephine modeling some looks for The Vintage store interns/ live mannequins Jeremias and Rebecca also doing some modeling for The Vintage there was also a vintage/ collectors surfboard display… how cool are these board graphics
Sarah on left and Anna on right. it’d be annoying to find parking but I think I could live in this thing for awhile and be totally content.
>> Determined to surf, I carried my longboard down to the 7-11 and put my thumb out. After 15 minutes of not a single pull-over, I asked the Hawaiian family with a pickup pumping fuel if I could hitch a ride to Haleiwa. I sat in the back of the truck with a 35 year old man who had this mode of transportation down to a science… he was reclined on a trifold beach chair while smoking a rather large, silver huka pipe and keeping his two pit bulls tamed. His wife and three kids were inside. He told me that he had never been anywhere other than Hawaii! Not ever. He referred to the continental U.S. as the ‘mainland’ (like all Hawaiians do) and didn’t really know where Michigan was on the map. He had lived in Wahiawa for a long time before moving to the north shore and mentioned his former life there, involved with drugs, alcohol, and a rather depressing lifestyle. He said that after Surfing The Nations came to Wahiawa, he saw a difference in the community- less drugs. It was really encouraging to hear that this organization is noticeably making a difference to lifelong locals who aren’t necessarily Christians. He now lives in Haleiwa and calls himself a family man, living for bigger and better things other than drugs. They dropped me off right at the Ali’i Beach Park and wished me well. Cool family.
Once-A-Month Church for the Homeless
Today was one of those long, exhausting days. I went into this day feeling tired and empty without much spirit to give. Despite my circumstances, I was inspired by once-a-month church. A team of volunteers, including a worship band, pastor, elder, set-up crew, and food-prep team, establish a temporary, five hour long church service in Haleiwa Park by the surf spot Puena Point. We arrived around 8:30 a.m. and the set-up crew had already put up tents and chairs.
All of us interns divided up into groups- some went to pass out coffee, water, and juice, others to play games with kids, roll silverware, talk and pray with people in the congregation, and pass out prizes won with free raffle tickets. I volunteered for food-prep because I love cooking and really miss having the space to cook here at STN. Fellow intern and roommate Miranda and I chopped vegetables, peeled potatoes, and later served food in the lunch lines.
As it turns out, I was chopping vegetables with former homeless people who lived on beach right here in Haleiwa. One was a former employee of the Cheesecake Factory and said he peeled and diced over 100 onions a day! He eventually became addicted to drugs and spent many years in prison, where he met Shiela (pictured above). She was also a homeless drug addict before spending seven years in prison. After being released, they both moved to a sober house (where they currently live) and volunteer at once-a-month church regularly. We shared a couple conversations about our faith and they are both believers in Christ. Shiela said that as an addict she didn’t think she had a choice over drugs. “When you’re in the thick of it,” she said, “you don’t see that you have a choice. After I met God, I realized I do have a choice and I can choose not to do drugs because the Holy Spirit gives power to choose against sin.” They were really hilarious people and we also shared many laughs!
Umm, who doesn’t like a slice of Jesus cake. (odd? yes. but doesn’t it make you happy it a strange kinda way?)
One thing that really stood out to me and touched me was when the designated elder blessed the children. He sat up front by the stage where the band was set up and the children formed a line behind him. One by one, they approached him and he took them by the hands. He looked them deep in the eyes with the most loving gaze I’ve ever seen. As he talked, his face would change from total sincerity and seriousness to a warm smile. He never moved his eyes away from the child’s eyes that he was speaking to as told them they were created in the image of God, were loved unconditionally, beautiful, special, and cherished. I thought of all the negative, harsh words these kids must have heard over their short lifetime and for this one moment, someone who took initiative to care told them the truth. The children’s eyes lit up when heard his words and they listened so intently. This man is like a walking Jesus. I just wanted to hug him! He prayed for people all day long and never ran out of patience.
Below are a few more photos from once-a-month church. Also, I should mention that the first worship song sang was “Oh Happy Day.” Remember the Whoopie Godberg movie ‘Sister Act’? Alice from Sweden Tom. Cheers to being the two oldest interns.kid’s corner
Josh from Florida. beard + shopping cart = fitting right inSerena from Sweden passing out coffee, water, juice, and breakfast bars at the refreshments tent Dakota from California giving out raffle winnings Ok how charming is this kid?tunes Heidi from Australia
Mitchell from California Worship Josphine, aww Serena once again
It’s Tuesday once again- a day of worship and prayer. I really look forward to Sabbath day. Fasting while praying is a biblical practice that God honors, but does not require from us. In one of our teachings, we learned an amazing story about fasting that I’m excited to pass along. So I’m sure you’ve heard of Daniel… look up Daniel 1:8-16 / 9:1-23 / 10:1-21… here Daniel has been fasting for three weeks: “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” He was in a state of prayer and mourning over the state of Babylon, asking God to speak to him in a dream. Then a heavenly being appeared to Daniel, telling him that his prayer was heard 24 days ago but the angels were fighting off demonic forces before Daniel was approached. The angelic being assured Daniel they hadn’t forgotten him and had heard his prayer. This is crazy to me because we often forget that how real the spiritual realm is that constantly surrounds us. Anyway… today we had a 2 hour class about generosity, followed by worship and prayer. We dipped our hands in paint and laid them on the walls of one of STN’s main buildings. We prayed that God would use the building to his glory and grow our ministry so that we can be a light in Wahiawa. While we were painting the wall with our hands, the worship team led us in praise songs on the guitar. It was such a creative and tangible way to conduct prayer! It also leaves a visible curiosity for others, prompting them to ask about the story behind the hand prints.
Once a week, we spend an hour praying for the community of Wahiawa, Hawaii that we live in. We pray for spiritual darkness to be replaced with the light of Jesus; for drugs to leave the area and broken homes to be healed. This morning, we spent the hour walking around our neighborhood praying for random business and people we encountered. We all divided up into small groups of 4-5 people and scattered. My group began at a local strip club called ‘California Girls’ just a couple blocks down the street from STN. We put our hands on the dirty walls of the building and prayed that the business owner would one day know God and find another way to make a living. We prayed he would turn the building into another business that builds the community instead of tears it apart. We prayed for the wives and families of the men who hang out in the club- that any divorces or broken homes that resulted from their interest in the strippers would be healed. We prayed that the women working in the club would find a new way to provide for themselves. Then we moved onto our next door neighbors- the #1 drug dealer of Wahiawa. She is an older woman and we saw her sitting outside the apartment building with a couple of her family members. We were reluctant to approach her at first but I felt really strongly about praying with her. We asked her, her son, and her grandson (I think that’s how they were related) if they had any prayer requests and ended up praying for health, her son who lives in Brazil as a missionary, and for her other family members who have fallen away from Jesus (yes, she pretends to be Christian!). During our prayer, I prayed the gospel message- that her family members would recognize their sin and that redemption was available through the God’s love offering of Jesus Christ. We spent about five minutes talking, shook hands, thanked them, and walked to our final stop- an abandoned warehouse nearby. We laid hands on the building and prayed that STN would one day acquire the property and turn it into a youth center, church, or other useful building for ministry. At first, I wasn’t very thrilled about doing a “prayer walk” but it ended up being a powerful experience and I know without a doubt that God will answer our prayers. Matthew 21:21- And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
Surfing The Nation’s 7th Annual Freedom Surf Contest
Press release from FreeSurf Mag: The three-day contest was held at Kuhio Beach in the heart of Waikiki and featured over 200 contestants.
The Honorable Matthew Viola, judge of the Oahu First Circuit Family Court of Hawaii, opened our awards ceremony with an encouraging charge to Hawaii’s youth to live a drug-free life.
Five of the kids from STN’s Waianae Surf Club were sponsored by STN and Cobian Footwear to participate in the contest, with one of the boys placing in the stand-up paddle division. Pro surfers TJ Barron and Mahina Maeda came out to be the official coaches for the kids. Former senator Fred Hemmings also spoke to the Waianae crew, giving them a motivational talk on living life as a drug-free surfer.
Surfing The Nations is overwhelmed by the generosity received to put on this year’s contest: Over $38,000 worth of products and services were given this year!
The musical entertainment this year featured the North Shore’s amazing Artis Family Band, who played for all three days of the contest, drawing crowds for hours on end. We are so grateful for the other musical talents who graced the stage and took the event to a new level of family entertainment. Overall, the event was a fun time for everyone, but most importantly, the message of drug-free living and Surfers Giving Back was spread to thousands of people involved in the contest and passing through Waikiki!
group photo of all STN staff and interns prayer on the beach to kick off the contest
my friend Miranda from Sweden
Today’s outreach was spent taking local Wahiawa and homeless shelter kids to the beach! We brought surfboards, body-boards, snacks, and loaded up the van with kids. Many of the kids come from immigrant families from Micronesia or the Marshall Islands. Their home life is very unstable and they don’t get a lot of attention of love like most of us knew growing up. Another intern and I took a couple of the older kids out surfing. I was paired up with a 12 year old Marcei from Micronesia who has lived here in Hawaii for 6 years. Her grandparents still live in Micronesia but her immediate family lives on Oahu. She had tried surfing once before but cut herself on the reef and was afraid to try it again. We paddled out together and I had the opportunity to cheer her on and push her into a few little waves. Even got to catch a couple myself. I don’t exactly consider myself a “kid person” but these kids seem older than they really are because they’ve been exposed to so much more than I ever was at age 12. As we were walking back to the van, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to tell her 3 things. So I did: “You’re beautiful. God loves you. That’s the truth and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”
Here is a picture of us. Will you please pray that she will develop a personal relationship with Christ?
group pow-wow. just chillin.
STN staff member and coordinator of our beach outreach!
Saved at Surfers’ Church
Every Saturday night, STN has something called “Surfer’s Church.” It begins at their coffee shop in downtown Wahiawa called (yes you guessed it) “Surfer’s Coffee Bar” where all the STN staff, interns, and locals in the community circle around the room and pray. Then, a free meal is offered and people mingle for an hour. Then, everyone walks 100 yards down the street to the “Artis Room”- a former strip club that STN purchased and turned into their church! We began the service with worship and afterwards, Ed Decker gave a powerful sermon about getting right with God and not letting anything stand in the way of giving your life to Jesus. Mr. Decker was a Mormon for 20 years and was heavily involved in the Mormon church. He even worked as a Mormon missionary. After he became a Christian, he traveled all over the world preaching the gospel to Mormons and other cults.
I was sitting in between my two Swedish friends Alice and Serena. There was a young girl sitting in front of us all alone, so I introduced myself and asked her if it was her first time attending Surfer’s Church. She said yes, so I went and sat next to her. When the speaker gave us a minute to greet the people around us, she grabbed me and started hugging me and had tears streaming down her face. I said, “talk to me. what’s happening in your life?” She said, I’ll be fine. It will all work out. I’ve been sleeping on the beach and I just got out of jail.” I said, “tell me more. tell me everything.” Then the music started playing loud and I couldn’t hear her. I said loudly into her ear, “we’ll talk after the service.” It didn’t take me long to realize she was on drugs. She kept shaking and twitching and couldn’t sit still for five seconds. I didn’t know what she was on, but I prayed that she would come off the drugs and understand Ed’s message and that God would meet her right where she was at. A few minutes later, one of the pastors offered for people to come up to the front if they needed prayer. I hear this very subtle voice say, “take her up to the front. have her pray with a pastor.” At first I pushed away the thought. That was going to be awkward. But I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to do it. So I said to her, “do you want to go up to the front for prayer?” She wept and shook her head up and down. I said, “are you sure? i dont want to pressure you. only if you want to.” She said “yes, yes I do” and kept shaking her head. So I grabbed her hand and walked her to the front. Tom and Ed had already walked out of the church service because Ed had to leave for the airport immediately after he was done speaking. The only other pastor left was Jonas. So Jonas began praying for her. It was so loud but I heard him say “Jesus, Jesus, bring healing. Lord, healing. In the name of Jesus, I ask for healing.” He was trying to sober her up off of the drugs. I also heard him say that God loved her unconditionally and would forgive her right now. And that He loves her unlike all the men she’s known who have treated her so badly. She kept crying and said, how did you know? Jonas led her to the Lord through prayer and she said, “Lord come in. Forgive me. I want you in my life.” We then went back to our seats and kept singing praise songs. She was calm and no longer shaking. She had her hands open as she was singing.
After the service, I gave her a bible and we talked in the coffee bar. I asked her how she got to the service and where she was living. She said she is homeless and had been sleeping on the beach in Waikiki. She had come to STN’s Freedom Surf Contest last weekend and heard about Surfer’s Church there. I told her that God has relentlessly been pursuing her and she was here in Wahiawa by divine appointment. We sat and talked for another 30 minutes and then she made her way around the shop and began chatting with other people there. She was elated that God had come after her and talked about how she wanted to start following God by making better choices. She said, “I know the way I’ve been living isn’t what God wants for me.” I was so excited to be a part of this and had the privilege of telling her that angels in heaven were rejoicing over her decision to follow Christ. Will you please pray for her? She has such a long and challenging journey ahead of her. Thank you my faithful friends!
A Small World
I was having my quiet time in Surfers Coffee Bar this morning and ran into Tom Bauer, the founder of STN. He asked me how I heard about STN and I told him that my Uncle Bill was on a business trip in Costa Rica and ran into a group of STN missionaries. He asked what my uncle did for a living so I told him that Bill was the retired president of Whitworth University. Not expecting Tom to have ever heard of Whitworth, he said his son-in-law was just hired there as the new soccer coach. Then, he mentioned that Ed Decker, his good friend and our guest speaker and preacher this week, has two sons that graduated from Whitworth! STN has only taken 1 trip to Costa Rica ever; They normally only travel to Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Middle East. The world is big but not too big for God to arrange people and circumstances! It was too coincidental to be a coincidence, so we took a photo.
And now for a little segment I call “Only in Hawaii”… grocery shopping edition…
STN operates the island’s largest food distribution site, located under an overpass in Kalihi. Today I worked at the site with 12 other interns. Three trucks of food came from Aloha Harvest and the Hawaii Food Bank… we unloaded the palettes from the truck and set up tables under the overpass. Over 700 people came to get food.. we talked and prayed with them before the food lines were set up and many were of tribal descent from Samoa, the Marshall Islands, and Micronesia. Getting this many people through food lines is no simple task but STN does a great job staying organized and making each person feel loved and feel special (not just like a number compared to the state’s other food sites). My job was to stand at the front of the line and greet each person, check their ID, mark their registration stamp, and disperse them to 1 of 2 lines. While about 60% were very friendly, many were rude and ungrateful. One intern, who was handing out fruit near the end of the line, had artichokes thrown at her. While my naturally reaction was to get annoyed at these people, I had to remember why we were doing this: simply because God told us to. It was our job to love them despite how we were treated in return. Overall, it was long and tiring day but everyone had positive attitudes. It was great to work with so many spirit-led people who will strengthen my faith long after the internship is over.
This is my new friend Denise. She works as a service team member here at STN and cleans the facilities. She lives in the dorm next to me. She is Buddhist and has been traveling and living all over the world in search of the truth and the meaning of life. She has a huge heart. I had the opportunity to get to know her, share the gospel message, and also a few testimonies from my life. Will you please pray that she will accept Christ before leaving STN at the end of next month? So, apparently the area’s largest drug dealer lives next door to STN. I can see their house from my balcony. I always wondered why such a crappy little house always had really nice cars parked outside all day. Anyway, please pray that STN will be a light to this house and that God would rid Wahiawa of this darkness. I see many residents here who are severely physically and mentally affected by drugs. Its awful and so so sad. (view from our balcony.. lives in the building with the white truck outside)
Arriving to STN
I got out of bed at 4 a.m. to finish packing and head to the airport. It was really cold in Michigan this morning! To be completely honest, I didn’t want to leave today. I began thinking, what’s the point? I should just get a job in Grand Rapids and call it a life. I didn’t want to leave the comfortable, familiar environment I had created for myself in West Michigan. I was going to miss so many wonderful people. Why leave when you have an amazing life right where you are?
As I was doubting my decision, I had to remind myself of all the things that led me into my decision in the first place. There are countless circumstances that led me to make this commitment.
I also feel undeserving to be doing this, but need to accept and be thankful for the opportunity knowing there will also be great challenges.
in the Honolulu airport heading down to baggage claimthe view from outside room 305.. the room is full on bunks, 1 bathroom, and a small kitchen, all shared between 12 girls. and a few roaches here and there.
STN is in Wahiawa, which has a 3 out of 100 city rating… slighty dumpy but oddly I like it here. This week is orientation. Every Tuesday is “sabbath” day where we worship, pray for the local community, and fast until dinner- a cookout in the parking lot at 6 p.m. STN is extremely prayer oriented and I know that I’ll walk away from here with a new discipline to pray and talk to God throughout the day. So here is a cool story about prayer… STN was located next to a porn shop. A group of volunteers from California came and laid hands on the building and prayed that it would be put out of business and the building would become part of STN’s ministry. 3 months later, the owner of the porn shop offered to sell their property to STN and said they had thought about closing down about 3 months ago. Anyhow, the staff here is so welcoming and caring and all 30 of us interns are getting along wonderfully. What an awesome group of people here.
Well, it’s only day 2 so I will post more details after orientation week is over. All for now, Amy