I am in awe at how God has prepared me for this season in Kona. I look back over the past 10 years of my missions training and see that many aspects of training and experience I've gained in my journey has prepared me for this.
Picture below: From the campus. It is a bit like walking on the street near St. James Cape Town.
I will try to help my South-African friends understand "WHY HAWAII?" It is after all on the other side of the world and not "unreached!"
Here is some history of YWAM in Hawaii:
YWAM leased the Pacific Empress Hotel in Kona, Hawaii in 1977 and began the cleaning process and renovations in order to turn it into a campus. It use to be called the training centre Pacific and Asia Christian University. In 1989 this name was changed to the University of the Nations. It is a long story how God lead the founders to this specific place but it is an extra ordinary story that leaves you with the the knowing "it was God!"
Hawaii has a long history of openness to Missionaries and even where the YWAM campus is situated is interesting as its right there where the first missionaries got off a boat with the bible.
The Kona campus has many long serving missionaries on it. Many new innovations are developed here, to get the gospel out in new ways and there are gatherings of people here who are strategically influencing regions and peoples of the world! Just this week I was able to sit in on an extraordinary meeting with a number of bishops from West Africa who have gathered with Loren Cunningham to discuss how to get the Bible recorded into new languages. Amazing!
Picture below: Loren interviewing the Bishops.
Picture below: I was invited to be in a meeting with this group of Church leaders from Africa. I really had fun brainstorming with them on the "practical ways" of getting the last 800 non translated Bible audio recordings to these unreached people groups.
How did all of this come about?
In 2014 I had a vision. In the vision I was a dolphin and I ended up in the most beautiful place, which I knew was Hawaii. Back then I had zero idea (or desire) that I would be in Kona a few months later! I mean, I just moved house in December. In January... God did what God does best... and like he did with Abraham and Joseph, He went ahead of me and knew exactly where He wanted me to go and gave "a call to Kona"
So what has my first week looked like:
This is a large campus, round 300 - 600 students receive training every quarter.
Picture below: This is our dining area. I stood for 45 minutes in the que on my first day!
This Thursday night I attended the weekly 'Community Meeting,' it is like a church service, with Worship lead by a wonderful anointed team, and then we had a speaker. It was really wonderful to have Garth Gustafson, who leads YWAM in Cambodia, speaking. I have been on the base in Battambang Cambodia a number of times, to be part of training new school leaders and staff. It really warmed my heart to hear him share about how God is moving in Cambodia. For a minute I really missed Asia!
Picture below: Garth and his family being introduced by David Hamilton.
I also had a meeting with my new leader called Paul Childers.
Picture below: When I took this picture, I did not know that I was going to be in a meeting with these 4 lovely people a few days later. Loren was praying a covering over them as they are leading the base.
Its a bit hard to define what I've been asked to do, but I'll do my best here. I'm sure in the coming weeks I will be able to verbalise it better, as it is developed, but here is my initial attempt:
A key factor that is on the mind of many, as YWAM is 55 years old, is:
How do we prepare to hand over to the generations after us, not just handing over but doing it with excellence. In a sense I am going to be working alongside some leaders on the campus to help develop a smooth communication flow - developing and making resources for different areas on the base. I will also be assisting in some development of outcomes in regards to the entry level of YWAM and second level training schools. The outcome we trust will be that many more people from this campus will receive all they need for effective long term service among the nations. I'm in awe that God has given me this opportunity. I see now that all the experience I have gained in the past number of years in leadership and training and the knowledge I have developed on how to compile resources ( with WorkBooksPioneer) will be used to influence, develop and see people sent out to the nations.
What a privilege.
Some more pictures of my first week below:
This is my bed.
We are 4 in the room at the moment. From SA, Ghana, USA
The road into the base.
We all wear tags. It is also your ticket to the food court! I once left my room without the tag and forgot it is also the key to my room... oh dear! This campus is huge. To find a room-mate basically impossible.
Never loose the tag!
This is a picture from the base. Weather is hot and humid, but Chiang Mai was 10' hotter!
Below: I was so glad to see a glimpse of David Hamilton and his team wrapping up
Penny! Stripes, Chommie, Daisy!! I miss you guys!!!
I took the 3 amigos for a very short hair cut the day before I left. I really miss them a lot. And my couch. I am not aloud to complain... but I tell you: I miss my couch, my house-mate of 9 years and my 3 dogs!
Skype is a wonder though. And WhatsApp for keeping in touch with family on the other side of the world.