Live Aloha.

It has been about four days since we have arrived back from our mission trip to the Big Island, Hawaii. I believe that our entire team can agree on the fact that we are in awe of the amazing memories made, stories heard, and love of Jesus that has been shared throughout our entire time in Hawaii.

We had a bit of a rocky start from our departure from Chicago. We had a handful of delays to our connecting flight in Seattle- which wasn’t as bad as we thought. The many delays made our long layover diminish and we were able to board our next flight to Kona the moment our current flight landed.

The moment we reached the island we were showered with Aloha and were placed with leis around our necks by our wonderful ohana. Our entire team consisted of about 20 people- including leaders and students. After we were greeted by our Kona ohana we all spent the next couple days helping with a Samoan wedding. We were able to embrace God’s beauty through not only the scenery of Kona, but also through His people and the gift that blesses us with, called marriage.

After the wedding our entire team split into our two groups- the Kona side and the Hilo side. The Kona side stayed in the area after the wedding and the Hilo side (the side that I was on) traveled to the other side of the island to meet our other fellow friends and churches to reunite. A lot of the members on the Hilo side were returners- like me! As soon as we reached Hilo we were able to get settled in and reunite with lots of familiar faces and friends within the next few days.

One of our favorite things to do in Hilo was to open up our home have pot lucks with our church families and fellow community members. We would cook food and serve anyone who wanted to come by and enjoy a meal, company, and share testimony. Something that is also very important in Hawaii is talk story. Talk story is basically just sharing with others around us our stories- our lives, what makes us who we are, and our testimonies. We frequently had nights like this where we would have over lots of friends, eat, and talk story.

We worked with two churches. The first church that we worked with was the Nazarene church in Hilo. We previously made a lot of relationships and connections with this church last year because of the amount of time that we spent with them. It was such a great opportunity to be able to reconnect and continue to build stronger relationships with these friends of ours here, and also introducing them to new faces that we also brought to the team. At Hilo we worked with a preschool that they also have at their church, did quite a bit of construction work to the church and school’s campus, and other work projects. We also helped at a couple of church services, the preschool graduation, and sat in on a Bible study.

The second church that we worked with was called Connection Point. We didn’t really work at this church last year, but we were able to stay in that area a couple of times. At this church we helped with their church rummage sale, put on a community movie night showing for Moana, and yard work around the church. At this church we also helped paint their youth room, reorganize and structure rooms on the church campus, and help with the process of two of their ministries- God’s closet and their food pantry. Connection Point has such a good mind set of reaching out into their communities on a relational basis- especially meeting the needs of their community through clothing and food.

The last few days of our time in Hawaii were consisted of bringing back our two groups together and traveling down to a fishing village called Miloli’i.  During our time in Miloli’i we had the opportunity to have the camping experience- right by the ocean. The area of the fishing village is ran mostly by generators and solar power. They have to really monitor the amount of water that they use and they are not able to drink the regular water from the water systems. Most people have a big tank that they keep water in to use for drinking. Some people here do not have the amenities that others do like electricity, or clean running drinking water. However, the residents in this area are just as filled with Aloha, light, and story just like anyone else. In Miloli’i we had a prayer- rubbish walk and we cleaned up the town. We also had a couple of work days were we would paint the picnic tables in the center of the park and paint the church.

Throughout our entire time in Hawaii we experienced several moments of understanding the importance of loving, serving, and seeking the Lord. I personally did not expect hearing the call to serve again in Hawaii. However, God called me to go back and so I did. For myself personally, it was the last day we were in Miloli’i when I felt that I could finally see what the Lord was trying to teach me this entire year. I had a great conversation with the pastor’s wife, Mel. Mel and I shared stories and during that time it was as if God whispered in my ear, Who am I? At that moment I was kind  of confused because I didn’t understand. Thinking to myself (Who are you, God? You are… God.) I didn’t fully grasp the question that He was asking me. And then it hit me.

He was asking me who He was- to me.

I had to question myself. Who is God to you, Brooke? And at that moment through the power of sharing testimony, prayer, and divine connection with Jesus I felt that a wall was finally broke down in my life that I had felt trapped under for so long. I forgot who God truly was in my life, the things that He had done for me, and where He wants to take me. I had been going through the motions for so long that I had forgotten that He wanted a relationship with me.

God wants a relationship with me and not just a few good memories.

God wants me to trust Him and let Him take me by the hand into the areas of joy and the unknown. He wants to know my emotions, my dreams, and my heart. He wants to be surrounded in my life and not just a chapter of it.

That day God truly spoke through the pastor’s wife, Mel, and she not only prayed for me but God spoke through her. The answers that I had been searching for so long were finally revealed and spoken. It was through Mel that God was able to encourage me, bring light back to me, and gain renewal. I was brought to tears by the truth that she spoke to me and forever grateful for that little tug that God put on my heart to go over and say hello to her under their tent.

This mission trip not only made an impact on my faith, but it made an impact on my life. Thank you to everyone who prayed, supported, and encouraged my team and I along this journey.

Mahalo and live Aloha ♥

hawaii pic

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