It’s nice to be home after my working vacation to Molokai, Hawaii. With hardly any tourist attractions and no major resorts, Molokai is often called the “Most Hawaiian of the Islands.” It has the highest unemployment rate in the state (80% of the residents are on welfare), the highest high school dropout rate, and the highest alcohol & drug abuse per capita. With only 7,000 residents, it is home to two battered women shelters (residents come from all islands).
The Laguna Presbyterian Church youth, who go on this mission, clear land, work at the state bird refuge, the Molokai Land Trust, Halawa Valley Taro fields, several small churches, an organic nursery, and in the homes of several people who are unable to keep up (for example, they cleared the backyard of one church member who suffers from polio).
After work days, we would often go to a different beach. One day we hiked 2 miles to the Halawa Falls; it’s been a wet season in Hawaii, so the falls were as full and furious as I had ever seen them. Truly an expression of God’s creative beauty. One night we went to the back door of the local bakery to buy hot bread; so good! And another night we saw the Blood Moon eclipse (fortunate to be in Hawaii, where it happened 3 hours earlier than Pacific Daylight Savings Time).
This was my seventh time with this mission trip and one of my favorites. I serve as the guest speaker, and so I speak every evening and I got to preach in a local congregation on Palm Sunday. What a blessing! The first night, I played Bible Trivia with the youth, and whoever reached 3 answers first got to shave my beard off. I was surprised to see how excited the kids were by the prospect of shaving some strange old man’s beard, but they were into it.
It was such a blessing to share Christ with them, to behold the absolute beauty of the islands, and enjoy time with my good friend, Steve Sweet (the Laguna PC Youth Pastor).
Looking forward to this coming Sunday, we’ll discuss the disciples following Jesus’ resurrection and the idea that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the defining story for human history, for the Church, and for every believer. We’ll be asking what is your defining story? As I’ve prepared for this Sunday, it only made sense to sing my original song, “Come Unto Me” that I wrote in memory of the time I invited Jesus into my heart. Some of you may even remember when I sang that on my candidating Sunday here 13 & ½ years ago (were any of you here then???). I’m looking forward to sharing it again with you all.
Hope to see you in church!
May God richly bless you, even as He blesses others through you!