by Juan Ramirez
Crazy as it is, I’m here in Hawaii, still trying to figure why it hasn’t it hit me that I’m 2500 miles away from home! It has only been a few weeks but I can already see how God is changing me and is going to use me.
Two days ago we went to Maili beach on the west coast near Waianae. We went around talking to the homeless that live in the park and getting to know them. Emily and I spent almost the whole time speaking to this guy named Jr. He was cool but he couldn’t understand why we gave up a whole year to come to Hawaii to serve and love God and others. We ended up in some real deep conversation, talking about life and each other’s past. He explained how he helped many of the homeless on the beach get stuff they couldn’t get themselves.
It’s so awesome to see how this small community of people live and get along with each other, when we “home owners” sometimes cant even stand our neighbors. Simply put, as Jr. said, this is going to be a year of learning from each other.
I pray that all of our lives will be changed and that we will get to see the lives of others transformed by God.
by Jeff Walters
For the past month or so Blake, Kealoha and I have been volunteering at the Waianae Boys and Girls Club three days a week. Never would I have ever expected to see 11 year-old Maya here homeless on the famous beach called ‘Sewers’. The name suits it well, I figure – as I try my hardest not to breathe in through my nose. And I can’t imagine living here as she does, being so young and forced into such a rutheless lifestyle. Maya’s home consists of two tents built out of tarp and clutter while there is also dirty old carpet atop sand and even decorations. Make yourself at home.
Blake and I stand there with free tickets to the Thanksgiving festivities this Thursday at the Blaisdale. The wind is hot, typical Waianae, but I get the goosebumps as she greets us with a puppy in her arms.
“Maya! What’s up?” Blake says. He and Maya are good friends, where as I’ve maybe helped her with her homework once or twice. Maya has this kinda fake smile as if she’s either nervous or embarassed, but somehow we’re able to ease the situation by asking about the puppy. Sure enough she leaves the furry pup at our feet, enters the tent to the left, then returns with another. One after another she brings out these pups and with every dog I begin to grow both uncomfortably sad and inspired at the same time.
While Blake and I admire the show I begin to make a connection. Those kids at the club, the ones we help and play with – not all of them come from the same direction. Not all of these kids consider the club a burden after school. For some, it’s a retreat. And like I said, here and now I am uncomfortable enough to cry for this little girl, but then again the whole predicament sheds light on just how effective our volunteer work has really been. Just a few days with those kids a week, I figure, could amount to a better week or ever a better overall life… especially for a little girl like Maya. Homeless Maya.
Somehow, though unsettling, the scene instantly becomes heartwarming with a smile. This time it’s legit. She does it first. Maybe Blake said something nice or funny, I don’t know. I’d been shocked into silence from the get go, but nevermind my stunned state of mind. We smile back. And the hot dusty wind makes a whistle once more before we take leave after handing over five tickets for her family and also reassurance that we’re going to see her next week. Next week, I think, and three days in a row, with tons more passion for volunteering than we’d had since the beginning.
As Blake and I walk back to the van to meet with Kealoha, and to our even further surprise, another Boys and Girls Club girl waves to us, this one younger than the first. She must live here too. The mom walks the girl to the public restroom. I look at Blake, wanting to say so much – but I save the energy for another three days.
Revolution Hawaii is Revving up for it’s 5th year. In just 10 days we will meet our amazing 2010-2011 team of 8 passionate, crazy lovers of Jesus who are ready to spend the next 12 months living their lives fully committed to Him! Every year is a new adventure and we are stoked to see how God works in and through these champions in the days, weeks and months to come.
We thought we would take this opportunity to look back at the incredible teams of the past 4 years and “thank God” for all he accomplished in and through them. As you look over these photos, please ask God “who began a good work in them” to “carry it on to completion” and that their “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that they may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:3,6,9-11
by Matthew McQuade
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” This past weekend, God allowed me to see this verse come to life. You see, on Saturdays, we go out into different neighborhoods and visit with people in their homes, asking how things are, seeing if they want prayer. As a part of the Revolution Hawaii team, this is one of the ministries I get involved in throughout the week.
What was special about this particular Saturday, was a guy by the name of “D”. He lives in a low-income housing project, here in Honolulu. As I talked with him, I found out that he was what they call a “street pharmacist”, aka a drug dealer. The more we talked, the more I learned about him. In fact, he told me that he was originally from Portland, Oregon which is where I am from. That right there was a window of opportunity to get to know this guy and build a strong relationship.
He wants to get out of the drug business. At age twenty, I told him that he has such an awesome future; if he sets his mind to it. Later that day, I ran into him again, and talked with him some more. He said, “what you do is what I call the good life; I want that.” It was truly a God thing. The streets are rugged and fast-paced. It is so easy to get caught up. But in what many would consider a “saltless” environment, I saw the salt.
See, somebody had told ”D” who Christ was at an early age in his life. Now, there has been some more exposure to what following Christ is all about. “‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. This is a promise to all people, I believe, especially for “D”.