Paul Family Ministry Update
Dear Family & Friends,
Aloha! We wanted to share a little ministry update with you. A lot has happened since we’ve written beyond the general blog format (which is still the best place for continual updates and stories on our life in Hawaii). We’ve decided to stay put in our transitional space in the parsonage for now. Eric even worked through his first big construction project by building a screened in lanai for a little more breathing room. We’ve begun to finally feel as if this is our home. Eric is still working at the coffee shop downtown, even doing some of the small batch roasting for the company, and Joy is establishing meaningful relationships through the local Le Leche league and young family playgroups. And, we’re both learning to juggle two kids.
As you know, we transitioned to Hawaii while Joy was 20 weeks pregnant. Upon arrival, we quickly interviewed midwives and started our birthing class with Pastor Ryan’s wife, Bohdana Fasani, as our Doula. We are so grateful for the Fasani family as a positive presence in Joy’s pregnancy. We welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Micah Abraham Paul, on Saturday morning January, 18. It’s now been two months and Micah and Joy are both doing extremely well. Micah’s birth allowed us to focus on the health of our family during the first few months in a new place. We believe this intentional time to transition slowly better allowed us to healthily begin our new ministry here in Kona.
We have now passed the six-month mark, and we are beginning to understand better our presence here. As Missionary-Pastors, we are a physical extension of Kona Coast Naz, particularly, and of the Kingdom of God, more broadly, in our community. There are several ways that this can be done, and we’ve begun to focus our work into three spheres: Discipleship, Leadership Training, and Community Development. In many ways, these three spheres intertwine in ministry on the ground and can’t be separated from one another.
Discipleship is the backbone of the church. The call of the Christian is one of faithful obedience to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we intentionally make disciples, the church will thrive and the Kingdom of God will break-in. Eric continues to preach once a month, and we both help with the keiki during our Sunday Celebrations. Furthermore, Kona Coast Nazarene has created a unique curriculum, mindful of this context, for calling and making disciples called a Discipleship Clutch. Joy and I are currently participants and intend to lead our first Clutch in the middle of the summer.
Leadership Training is essential for any sustainable ministry. Missionaries in particular ought to be looking toward the next generation of Christian leaders from among the community. Because of the diversity of our context in Kona, we are currently in the process of identifying and training five individuals called to ministry from various ethnic communities around town. We have identified two such leaders for our Samoan Church plant and Brazilian Church plant. These churches will come under the guidance and support of Kona Coast Nazarene for a time before being sent in mission to the community.
Community Development, we believe, represents the work of restoring relationships in all their religious, social, and economic complexity. Scripture is ripe with examples of God’s restoration and healing of broken relationships between individuals and communities. We want to take this large Kingdom-of-God picture seriously in our present location. Currently, this looks a lot like community assessment work. Because we are so new, we are still learning our community’s strengths, weaknesses, hurts, pains, and hopes. We believe being attentive to the community’s past history and current story will better enable our church community to be God’s presence in this place.
We hope this gives you a glimpse of the work we’ve begun and where we are heading. For those who remember us in prayer, support us financially, send encouraging notes, and share our story with others, we are eternally grateful. Be sure to check out Joy’s current 30 challenge to post everyday on the blog: www.joytpaul.blogspot.com.
Finally, as the Christian Church journey’s together toward the Cross and Resurrection during this Lenten season, we hope and pray that Christ renews your spirit, pours his grace over you, and is ever present even in the midst of this world’s struggle.
Grace & Peace,
Eric and Joy Paul