Can you believe March is already here?
I’ve been in Hawaii as part of the Restorers Discipleship Training Program with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Kona for nearly 8 weeks now, and man has a lot happened. Lives have changed, healing has taken place, and hearts and souls have been restored both here in Kona and with friends and families back home.
This post is my attempt to catch you—my friends, family, and amazing supporters—up to speed.
Every day poses new lessons, new challenges, and infinite opportunities to learn about God, ourselves, and one another. We start each day with breakfast at 7 a.m., with an hour of worship or prayer at 8, then lecture for 3 hours with a break.
Lunch follows, along with a 2-hour block which varies daily: one-on-ones with a mentor Monday; prayer for the globe with other programs on one day; meetings with our outreach team to prep and plan the next. Then three nights of each week we have ministry night, a special speaker, and all campus meeting, with family nights every other week where we play games and enjoy time together with the Restorers family.
I’ve never been so excited for Mondays or weekdays, for that matter, as I am here. I’ve learned so much in these times like foundational truths about my faith—how to hear from God, as He is in constant communication with His children; that fear of God is not being afraid of Him but in seeing Him for who He really is and responding; that Holy Spirit is a person just like God and Jesus who guides us, listens, and imparts gifts like prophecy and healing.
But my biggest lesson overall is how much my Father God loves me. Growing up, I put so much pressure on myself to succeed, thinking that good grades and proper manners would make my parents, and my Father, love me more. I am truly undeserving of His grace, yet He keeps pouring Himself out with blessings, love, and guidance, despite how much I mess up or feel unworthy.
Loving One Another
It’s so easy to select the friends who affirm your personality back home. In my program we have people from Korea, Denmark, Norway, China, and all around the U.S., all carrying different worldviews. The “honeymoon” phase of this program is over and let’s just say a lot of my weaknesses are being exposed, like my tendency to run away and put walls up between me and others when I feel burnt out, and even physically, as I sit here with a fever typing while the rest of my school is covering my shift in the cafeteria at work duty.
“You are seeing things about yourself you consider weaknesses,” said my one-on-one and outreach leader Kinslee. “But you don’t have to try to fix or perfect them. God loves you through these. He already knows about them. You’ve ‘done’ so much your whole life and you think it’s selfish to relax. But in this time, He is calling you to just rest in His love. And as you learn about His grace upon you, so you, too, will have grace on others.”
Having grace on others is hard for me because I hold myself up to such a high standard. But in doing so for so long, I’ve beat myself up to the point of physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental distress. This is not God’s heart for me, or for any of you.
Doing life together means committing to draw near to one another, yet many of us hide in relationships out of fear of getting hurt. It means understanding there will be differences but pressing through because loving a person means accepting them, not trying to change them. Jesus died for us not because we were perfect but because He loved us. And if we are called to lay our lives down for our friends, then in community is the best place to do it.
A few highlights with my Restorers family:
- Selecting a “secret servant”, whom we got to serve for two weeks. I got Kinslee, my one-on-one and outreach leader! She pours so much into me, it was fun to surprise her. Her bday was Friday so I came in near midnight and decorated the classroom for her! She felt so loved, it was worth fighting through a fever xD
- A special Valentine’s Day. I’ve always had boyfriends, moreso out of never wanting to be alone so I could feel worth something, that this VDay I knew would pose a challenge. But late at night, the guys in our program (spurred on by some of our awesome female staff) surprised us each with a single rose! The brother/sisterhood is such a special relationship.
I love Restorers DTS because we have so many young families. This is huge to me as many other programs are pretty young in age, and I wanted to be around all different life stages. Growing close to and watching over the kids is so special, especially as I am missing my nieces back home!
Impacting Our Community
Love does not come without action. Here are some awesome ways we’ve been able to bless the local community:
- Two fruits or five? Say hello to your cafeteria hostess with the mostest! My team and I serve in the school cafeteria every other weekend, where we prep and cook food, clean, and serve cafeteria goers with a smile. Though it’s quite tiring to be on your feet serving and cleaning all day (especially when others get to explore the island) I’m reminded that work is worship. I find joy in interacting with people; in remembering something about them and greeting them the next shift, to their surprise. I recognize that all people crave to be known, and I’m happy to brag that my team is so genuine and generous, many call us their favorite kitchen staff 😉
- Fundraising Fun. My team has been working mad hard to raise $3,000 to throw the neighbors in a low-income property a free party for families. Fundraising was hard work but lots of creative fun. We sold candy grams, threw a movie night, prepared food, and I even sang with 2-3 other ladies, serenading people for Valentines Day. So sweet!
- Ohana Fun Day! After all the hard work, the event finally arrived. We had a photo station, bounce house, face and nail painting, bubbles, games, and tons of FOOD! My outreach leader Denver even shaved a pig for this event, talk about servanthood! I was so touched by all the kids who just wanted love and to have fun, they were so cuddly and full of smiles!
Great news: thanks to your support, I’ve met my goal of $5,500 for our 2-month global outreach! Thank you sooo much for partnering with me and investing in something much larger than the both of us. It is your support that has kept me going when I wanted to quit.
In just 5 weeks (beginning of April), we’ll have teams headed to the following countries:
- Swaziland (Africa) and Greece
- Swaziland and Germany
As for me and my team, we will be headed to (drumroll please)…
Thailand and India!
Many of you know this but when I left my job and LA, I bought a one-way ticket to Southeast Asia, partly to travel but also to run away. Whenever I feel hurt, lost, or confused, I like to get away. But God called me to YWAM to work through a lot of these issues instead and, bonus, honored my desires by sending the Restorers DTS’ first group to Southeast Asia! He truly is a God who resurrects dreams we lay down in even greater ways.
So what will be doing there?
- Serving and spending time with young adults in the city with more suicides than anywhere in the world
- Loving on disadvantaged youth
- Helping restore the self-worth and identity in young women, possibly bound by human trafficking
- Refugee aid in the hill tribes of Thailand
Partner with us!
Thanks to my amazing supporters and my own savings, my schooling and outreach fees are largely covered. But many of my team members are still in need. I’ve been so encouraged by their growth and we truly couldn’t have gone this far without one another.
If you or someone you know is interested in helping the women, children, and families who’ve lost their homes and possibly each other across 3 continents please contact me. We couldn’t do all this without you! And as always, please keep us in prayer, for physical, emotional, and spiritual health as well as for unity across all teams!
Thank you, or as they say in Hawaii, Mahalo! Feel free to keep checking back for updates 🙂