I’ve written a letter I’ll be sending out to a few friends the old school way in an envelop, through the snail mail, but I thought I’d throw a copy of it up here as well. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on it.
Greetings from Hawaii!
I’ve been working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) since just after my Dad passed away in November, 2009. Since then, I’ve been based out of Oxford, New Zealand, Montana (USA), and now Kona, Hawaii. During these 4+ years, I’ve worked leading Discipleship Training Schools and Bible teaching teams to a number of different nations including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, India, South Africa, Israel, Morocco, Russia, and Armenia. We’ve seen many lost people place their faith in Jesus Christ during that time. Also, as a bi-product, many youth have committed their lives to missions and to teaching the word of God as a life occupation.
Today at a staff meeting here in Kona, we heard Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, give a short word reminding us of what it takes to win souls and draw people to repentance. Sometimes it’s easy to get task-oriented and miss the forest for the trees. He reminded us that a move of God starts with the people of God; also that judgment starts with the people of God so sin can be removed and prayers can be heard. Finally, he charged us toward kindness instead of judgement of others and reminded us of these words: “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
Fear is not the way to change people. They might follow rules for a while, but it’s kindness and prayer that lead people to renounce and turn from sin. For me it’s easy to forget that. If God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked, should I be hard on people? After all, I was also once ungrateful when God reached out to me.
Working here in Kona has been a different and difficult season for me occupationally. I moved here March 1st to take on a position as an operations supervisor. I was recruited from Montana to take the place of a guy who went to work at another base. Since I arrived, I’ve been juggling multiple responsibilities and getting to know Kona in a whole new way. (I first worked here 1996-1998.) After all, it’s the largest YWAM base in the world and starting September, we have 550+ new students arriving for missionary training.
“Operations” is another word for “facilities” and some of the things I do are listed below, because people normally ask, “What does working in ‘operations’ mean exactly?”
- Work duty coordinator – assigning student work duties and supervising these duties with the school leaders and work duty location heads (kitchen, maintenance, library, mail room, grounds, clean-up crews, cafe, building cleaning, etc.)
- Pest control – arranging termite tenting of buildings and regular insect pest control (roaches, ants, mice, rats, etc.) This is the tropics and everything comes “super-sized.”
- Overseeing bed bug room burning, which utilizes a giant heater called, “Big Red” where we seal off and heat the infected room to 140 degrees for an extended time to kill off all bugs and eggs. Many teams come and go from this base, so this requires constant diligence.
- Arranging, assigning, and monitoring kitchen shift supervisors, which also requires constant diligence as staff and student turnover here is a huge factor 4 times a year (4 academic quarters).
- Completing maintenance requests (as I have time), especially for the kitchen as we are understaffed in maintenance.
- Arranging Staff Volunteer Crews for the kitchen during transition periods between quarters when students aren’t present and other operations volunteers who perform routine work duties are coming and going.
- Kitchen Transition Committee – serving on a team for an upcoming move from a kitchen this base has used since the 1970’s to a brand new building we hope to open September 16 of this year.
This may seem like a list put on paper to impress you, but it’s my effort to list a few things I’m trying to streamline and delegate so as to disperse the responsibilities over a few people instead of just one. People in facilities tend to be overworked until they quit; then other energetic people are found to take their place.
In an effort to diversify and continue my training as a teacher, I’ve enrolled in the TESOL (Teaching English To Speakers of Other Languages) program as I continue to work on my normal responsibilities. Splitting time between two very
different occupations is energizing and adds vision to both sides. I’m working to set up a team that will, I hope, allow for more teaching and traveling, but for now, I’m in the trenches here in Kona. We meet regularly as an operations staff and remind each other that our reward is knowing dozens of teams are sent to the nations every year, and loads of young people are commissioned and sent out as missionaries. Great satisfaction comes in knowing our operations staff helps to facilitate that.
Believe it or not, because of God’s rich generosity and the obedience of his people, I haven’t written a letter like this since January of 2011, but living a stationary life with higher expenses like rent and health insurance has brought me again to this point. I think it’s healthy, though, to ask for help instead of going it alone, which I’m more inclined to do. I am hoping you might consider supporting me financially as I continue doing this.
Also, I’m sure you can read between the lines and find a few prayer requests. Here’s my picture as a reminder that I need all the prayer I can get.
If you’d like to contribute, there’s a “support” tab at the top of this page that will lead to instructions and options.
Grace and Peace to you,
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”