Go!

What will you do there? What will your church look like? How will you plant your church?

These are some of the most frequently asked questions for us right now. Although we know what God has called us to do, it is not always easy to answer and actually at times quite difficult to articulate it. But as we continue to spend time in prayer and preparation, our vision continues to take shape. Currently we are reading a ministry/church planting/leadership book Exponential by Dave Ferguson. And it.is.awesome. I read something in it yesterday that made me cheer out loud and filled my eyes with tears. I have been reading it over and over and my heart races each time. I picture a battle scene with hundreds of warriors (some of them babywearing women of course), swords raised, screaming and charging ahead. Here it is…

“…at least one-third to one-half of the American population will never come to churches like the ones you and I attend. Up to 50 percent of the population will not come to a church-owned facility no matter how cool or engaging it looks and feels. Even multiple sites won’t completely solve this problem. So what’s the solution? I believe that in the next decade we will need something more than megachurches and multisite churches-we’ll need reproducing churches filled with missional teams that go to the people and don’t just expect people to come to them. These volunteer-led teams will be part of every church that wants to reach an increasingly diverse world. We can no longer be content asking people to come to us. We need to go to them!”

And there you have it. A well articulated summary of what we plan to do. The battle is already won.

So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:10

Unless The Lord [Sells] the House

Lots of updates to share…

The big news is that we received an offer on our home a few weeks ago! We negotiated for almost a week and we thought it would end in disappointment because the offer was still too low to break even on our loan and cover all the costs. A woman from our church (a family I’ve known for a long time) asked on facebook how things were with the house and I said “sadly we walked away from the deal last night. Back to the drawing board.” She asked what the dollar difference was so I told her the amount we needed to break even. She said “Ok! Call the realtor. We’d like to make up the difference.” WHAT?! I was shocked and tears began streaming down my face. We knew God would sell our house so we could do what He was asking us to do but after receiving the initial,  (insultingly) low offer we just couldn’t see how He was going to make it happen. We prayed that He would do a miracle and apparently, this was how He chose to do it. I called Tony (he was at work) and we prayed for a bit. He called me back and said “I think we should accept.” I agreed and I told my friend “Ok. Thank you!” She shared with me that God had put it on their hearts to give and she felt very clear about that exact amount. How amazing. And what an amazingly creative God to think up such a scenario to prove He is in control and remind us once again that He is FOR us.

But wait…there’s more.

Next on the list was “find a place to live until we leave for Hawaii.” A pastor at our church recommended the missionary house (didn’t even know we had one) and we soon found out it was booked until July. Then, we called Olivet and sure enough, they informed us that they have an apartment available for us to rent while we are in transition. Why are we always surprised when God comes  through? He always does. We move out of our home and into the apartment on November 16th.

One more thing…

After our inspection we were notified that we had high radon. (In the words of Pastor Ryan “Ah radon! I hate radon!”) and that it requires mitigation. This process costs $1000. We wondered how in the world we would come up with that money. Tony joked “we’re going to have to make $1000 at our garage sale!” Yeah, right. Our garage sale was scheduled for November 2nd, along with our next door neighbor who recently sold her home. So, the night before we cleared out the basement and filled the garage with everything we needed to sell. The morning of the sale we put everything out on the lawn and hoped for the best. During the hours of our sale (8-12) it was a constant flow of people. Where were these people coming from!? (Answer: God sent them.) Some friends and neighbors but mostly passers-by. It was pleasantly surprising how well the sale was going! At the end of the sale, we counted up our cash. Can you guess how much we made? That’s right. $1000 God had done it again. We now had the money to fix the radon “problem.” We had the radon mitigated this past Saturday…thanks to the Great Provider.

We are in the midst all of the other details that come along with selling your home but GOD IS FAITHFUL. Our closing date is November 22nd and we are ready for that day to be over. We are also hoping to schedule some church visits to share our story and raise support. We will trust God with daily details and continue to purge and pack and enjoy our last days in a home that we have loved. We will continue to say “yes” to the little things. For one cannot say “no” and “Lord” in the same sentence.

Thanks to College Church for producing it and helping us tell our story…for it’s God’s story.

Aloha,

The Masons

If I Had a Dollar

If I had a dollar for each time we have heard “Hawaii? Sounds hard” or “Ohhhhhh, sure God’s calling you THERE”  we wouldn’t need to raise support. But we do…have to raise support that is. Here’s what it comes down to-a quick breakdown:

Kona Coast Nazarene will support 1/3 of our living expenses for the first 3 years of our 5 year commitment.

Tony will find a part time job which will be 1/3 of what we need to live on.

We will need to raise the remaining 1/3 of our first year’s living expenses and hope to do so before we leave in February.

BUT we hope to raise beyond our goal of 1/3 so that Tony can intentionally search for employment that will “get in” to the community rather than a job that just makes ends meet.

What Will You Do There?

This is one of our FAQs: “So what will you DO in Hawaii?”

It reminds me of that question that stay-at-home moms are asked by well-meaning people “What do you DO all day?”  My answer, concerning our new life in Hawaii is: Many of the same things YOU do and perhaps a few things that differ from person to person. Laundry, playdates, grocery shop, cook, clean, get together with friends, go to church, go to Mops, teach Bradley class, go to La Leche League…the list goes on. Most things remain the same, no matter where we live. (Throw a few beach trips or hiking adventures in there of course.) The biggest difference may be simply in one’s perspective. God has called us to a specific place to do a specific work…to Waimea to build His kingdom with Mission:Kona Coast. We believe God called us to Clifton in 2009. Were we doing kingdom work here? Absolutely. But now we are pulling up our tent stakes to follow the Holy Spirit to a new land. A place where we will rent a home, buy groceries at Costco, attend church, enjoy meals with friends, and live in a community. We will live with a missional mindset and intentionally build relationships with people in Waimea Town. We plan to do what families do in Waimea…hike, attend the Sunday rodeo, take the girls to dance class, get involved in community theater or join a running club. But in everything we do, we hope to “invite people to the heart of God.” It now reads next to our names “Missionary Pastors” but we were missionaries before KCN hired us. And YOU, as a believer and as Christ’s disciple are also a missionary of His gospel. So the answer to “What will you DO in Hawaii?” is really whatever God asks us to do when we wake up every morning. And I say what a way to live!

Waimea—or is it Kamuela?

A Brief History of Waimea

Waimea – or is it Kamuela? And what is South Kohala? Unraveling the multiple and overlapping names is a good beginning for any history of Waimea. 

When Hawaii became a United States territory at the turn of the century, “Waimea” referred to both the upland community and the slice of our island, an ahupua’a, stretching from today’s Lakeland to the sea, 10-20 miles long and four to nine miles wide. 

Confusing matters more, there were sister communities with the same name on other islands. The postal service demanded a definitive referent. “Kamuela”, Hawaiian for Samuel, was selected, honoring a prominent resident. Later the descriptive “South Kohala was adopted for the larger jurisdictional region.

It is the original name, “Waimea”, however that has remained the heart bound and designate for the town and surrounding area. It’s meaning, reddish water, refers to the tint of the streams after filtering through the hapu’ forests in the Kohala mountains.

Throughout recorded times, huge swings of population have characterized Waimea’s development. Sources indicate that before European intrusion and King Kamehameha the Great’s battle to unite the island, the water shed area at the base of the Kohalas supported as many as 10,000 Hawaiians. The natives farmed, collected feathers, pounded kapa and thatched hale along the streams.

By the time the Europeans traveled through in the 1820′s the mountain population had dwindled to slightly more than 2,000. Fields were left fallow while the Hawaiians harvested and transported fragrant Sandlewood destined for China. Filling the denuded mountains and plains were aggressive black longhorns, desendents of a gift from Captain George Vancouver.

Cattle would dominate the Waimea scene for more than 100 years. For three decades their products were to replace sandlewood as important trade items for the island chain. To supply the growing number of whalers porting in Honolulu and Lahaina, meat was salted and barreled, but most of the longhorns were slaughtered for their hides and tallow alone. In 1830, aware of the cattle’s economic possibilities, Big Island’s Governor Kuakiki ordered the construction of corrals and the widening and surfacing of the footpath to the port of Kawaihae.

Colorful and skilled Latin American vaqueros arrived, teaching the natives and foreign cattle hunters techniques of handling the dangerous longhorns. Hawaii’s unique breed of cowboy, the paniolo, derived his name from these Spaniards, or Espanoles.

Others came to town. Blacksmiths, craftsmen, tanners, sawyers, missionaries, and adventurers. Waimea exuded a rough, exciting atmosphere not unlike a southwestern cowtown.

The era was short, lasting only as long as the wild longhorn were plentiful. By 1841 Governor Kuakiki had placed a kapu on killing wild cattle. The casual “beef establishment” as it was called, gave way to more controlled business of ranching. Parker Ranch, so visible today, was one of the first ranches to be formed. John Palmer Parker built the original headquarters seven miles out on the plains at Mana, along the main route to Hilo. Tame longhorns roamed unfenced, devastating crops. Both the wild bullock hunters and the farmers departed. Waimea town was quiet and empty.

Not until this century, when Parker Ranch radically expanded and emerged as a powerful business under Alfred Wellington Cater, did Waimea revive. Then it grew, responsive to the needs of the ranch and it’s employees.World War II brought diversity and added prosperity to the community. Beef and vegetable prices increased. Farmers returned to cultivate the corn, beets, cabbage and a variety of other green vegetables. Farmland acreage increased from 75 in 1939 to 518 in 1946. The area teemed with soldiers who occupied homes, business facilities and a huge tent city. When they left, Waimea had an entertainment center, renamed Kahilu Hall, and an airstrip put to commercial use.

Out of it’s cocoon, Waimea was slated for rapid growth. It’s beauty and business potential would attract residents and commercial enterprises. People did come, but slowly. The 1940 population of 1,352 doubled in the following year. In the last two decades the census has quadrupled. By 1990 the population tallied 9,140 in South Kohala with 5,972 residents in Waimea town.

Waimea’s burgeoning population is diverse and strong. Farmers and ranchers are joined by educators from seven schools, employees of a string of seven world class hotels and nine golf courses, astronomers and technicians from two major telescope facilities, clergy from 14 or more religious groups and health professionals for the North Hawaii Community hospital, Lucy Henriques Medical Center and various dental and doctors’ offices. The town hosts Realtors, contractors, architects, bankers and entrepreneurs. Kahilu Theater anchors a cultural center of artisans and craftsmen. The expansive Hawaiian Homes Land attracts a substantial number of native Hawaiians.

Today, Waimea’s three shopping centers, two traffic lights, two fast food restaurants and twenty-plus other dining establishments are almost too commercial for some, but the era of rapid growth is here. Parker Ranch and it’s late owner Richard Smart, continue to shape the face and the future of Waimea through bequests to health, education and cultural facilities, it’s own large business holdings and a community trust.

Assessing and asserting a community view, Waimea Main Street is working to preserve the area’s rich history and unique character. An enchanting beacon of what a town can do collectively, Anuenue Playground, a community built project, will be joined on the other side of the Waikoloa Stream by a 10 acre nature park thanks to the initiative of the Waimea Outdoor Circle.

It seems that the next sequel of Waimea’s story is in it’s own hands and will be determined by the strength of community will and individual initiative.
— Mollie Sperry

We desire to invite people to the heart of God and build His kingdom by building relationships. Our method is to go and get them. With the Holy Spirit as our leader, our mission is to be the kingdom everywhere we go, in everything that we do. (Acts 1:8)

This mission of ministry moves away from program oriented ministry, where the most visible portion of the church in action is the sign out in front. It is a movement away from “pied-piper” ministry that falls apart when the leadership is dispersed.

We want to be facilitators of the people of God to move outward into communities, to usher in the reign and rule of God and to be physical, tangible evidence of His Kingdom….

We envision ourselves organizing and rallying people in community, in family and as individuals to literally go forth and become the Church.

God, you desire the redemption of your creation, especially Waimea. Your Son has made that redemption possible, and your Spirit has been sent to awaken us to this reality.
God, who in Waimea needs your redemption? What wounds need healing? What brokenness needs mending? What darkness needs hope?
For Waimea, I pray that your redeeming love and grace would be evident through your church there. Amen
Waimea.jpg

Aloha!

Aloha!

Its official. We have joined the Kona Coast Nazarene team as Missionary Pastors and we couldn’t be more excited! Most of you are aware of our plans already but we were waiting to publicly share our news until we had more details. So, here are some details…

Sometime in the beginning of 2014, we will move across the Pacific with our children and a few belongings to be a part of Mission: Kona Coast. God has called us specifically to plant a church in Waimea, Hawaii (Big Island.) Over the coming months, we will update you on our plans and passions, the move and the ministry and what God is already doing on the Kona Coast.

Until our next post,

ALOHA