As I write this, I come to the middle of my third day in Kona. Already there is so much to update on!
I arrived in Kona after a horrendously long journey totalling something like 47 hrs or more. I was so happy to be allowed into the country and to actually step out of that plane into the surprisingly fresh night air of Hawaii (THANK YOU JESUS! Hawaii is not nearly as humid as Malaysia).
At the airport, I got to the carousel for the luggage where people were waiting with YWAM signs. I started chatting to a girl because she was also British. We talked and it so happened not only was she from Staines, but she also went to my church, Equippers, in Surrey! She attended for a while after I left. She knew people that I knew!!! This was so insanely strange and specific, I felt this was God’s way of immediately signalling to me that I was meant to be there.
We drove to the Uni of Nations campus and were dropped off with our luggage and directed to our dorms. Most people had already settled in and I found many guys already asleep when I came in. I share my room with 9 others and it genuinely has been so much fun getting to know them. Already I feel easy and confident.
After a slightly chilly night, (err what? Haha) I woke up and went to breakfast with some of the guys. We walked to the Plaza of Flags and then to Ohana court to be welcomed by our YWAM leaders and some of the local Hawaiians. They greeted us with the blast of a conch shell and the sound of Hawaiian singing. I thought I heard words and phrases like ‘E Komo Mai’ (meaning Welcome) and ‘Akua’ (God).
The meeting was meant to be an honouring ceremony where we thanked the Hawaiian people with gifts and words of gratitude. It was powerful to see the humility of the leaders of the school who acknowledged the huge hearts of these locals.
We got shown around the main parts of campus after that and the rest of the day was spent with Fire and Fragrance people.
The beauty and wonder of creation here is unbelievable. The lush vegetation, shining sun and amazing views all show off his majesty here.
Friday evening was spent watching a Luau which involved a mix of performances. After watching a hula (dance), we celebrated all 30 or so Nations gathered together that evening. Flags from each Nations ran around the court and we concluded all of it with worship.
I spent Saturday morning on this little cove that’s about 20 mins walk from my dorm (up early cos of jetlag ha). I sat on the beach, awkwardly aware of the small resorts and hostels nearby and focussed in on Jesus and on where I was. It felt so surreal. I tried and failed to process it all.
Later that day, the Fire and Fragrance people all got together for games (find the staff hidden across campus, pop others balloons tied to their feet, capture the flag). It was great fun and more and more I got to meet friendly students and staff.
Saturday evening was spent worshipping with the F&F students. Many people got healed as we prayed for them and even some rededicated their lives to Jesus! All of it concluded with a spontaneous Holy Spirit led trip to the beach to baptise anyone who wanted to be. Locals and tourists alike gathered as we LOUDLY and joyously shouted and cheered for each person getting dunked.
Finally, today (Sunday) I got to go to church at Living Stones. The worship drew me into Jesus again. Up till that point I felt a sense of difficulty connecting with Jesus. The richness of my environment felt distracting and too beautiful to focus on him. I hungered and ached in my heart for my time with Jesus. Finally in worship I felt his love and I drew to the Jesus I was familiar with. In this moment I let myself enjoy his goodness, his kindness and generosity in bringing me here.
We travelled up the shoreline and enjoyed a beach called Magic Sands where the sand disappears after a few months. The water, the volleyball and the people made it an incredibly fun time!
Not all my blog posts are gonna be this specific haha. But it felt important to put down my initial emotions and reactions.
I love the colours here: the green vegetation, the purple and orange flowers, the glowing amber sunsets, the pink dawns, the brilliantly blue sea. I love the people: there’s a passion and fire in the students and staff that stands out to me.
God is amazing. I’m only at the start of this journey, he has yet to reveal the deeper connections he wants me to make and the specific purpose he has for this time. But I know this, he wants me here. I completely believe it with all my heart.