The spirit of Aloha basically personifies a friendly, relaxed mentality. I actually believe that’s one of the reasons God brought me to Hawaii in the first place. I come from the highly motivated city of Chicago, from a high achieving family and I have a fairly driven personality…
Hawaii, on the other hand, is a place that naturally challenges these tendencies and I believe gives people like me the opportunity to temper them… if we allow it.
In 2016, as I was assisting with Mission Builders in YWAM and pastoring the “The Little Red Church”, I met my sweetheart, Ann Sophie, and we started “seeing” each other.
It was a busy year and in November after returning from visiting her in Germany, I was asked to step in and temporarily lead the Mission Builder program while the director was on a 1 month trip to Columbia. Life was getting less and less “Aloha”, but I kept getting this verse:
“Plant your seeds in the morning, and do not be lazy in the evening. You do not know which will grow well, the morning or evening planting, or if both of them alike will do well.” Ecclesiastes 11:6
I believe a person can maintain a peaceful spirit even while working hard.
After all, God also says,
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
The director returned and told me God had been stirring things in him. He explained that although he didn’t know what was next, the grace to stay in the lead was fading. I just offered to keep things rolling while he figured it out.
Well, as I’ve often found to be the case, one of the old YWAM slogans proved to be true. When we’re running Discipleship Training Schools, we use simple teachings that are easy to remember but no one can usually remember where they came from.
Nonetheless, this one’s called F-A-T.
It’s means God will use us if we’re Flexible, Available, and Teachable.
I’ve seen how applying that little adage without trying to mastermind a “plan” of my own has proven the best strategy to land me in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time. It’s the same way I started pastoring the Little Red Church. I never saw either of these things coming, but God did.
I now find myself leading the Mission Builder program, which is like running a mini YWAM base. About 100 volunteers live together at a place called “Hale Ola”, which is 8 buildings about a half mile from the big campus where we work. There are 7 of us on staff and never a dull moment. We joke that Hale Ola has a short memory. People come and go almost like a youth hostel with no official beginning or end.
One time we checked a guy out, he came down to the van but remembered he forgot something in the room and when he went back, another guy was unpacking his suitcase. The first guy was wide-eyed as he walked back down the stairs.. “Wow, there’s already someone else in my bed.”
It’s the same way with the staff.. there’s always so much to do, once someone leaves, it’s like they vanish into thin air. The remaining contingent drops them at the airport, wishes them well, extends the invitation to come back anytime, and says, “Shoot us a message when you get home!”
But in a matter of hours, it’s like they were never there. The same will go for me. It’s humbling in a way, but it helps you work for God instead of a position or for the praise of people.
The flip side to that coin is the equally bizarre phenomena that for Hale Ola to remember you, all you have to do is come back. Before you even get a chance to unpack, you’ll be back in the swing as if you never left…
The church is a continual challenge and staying connected with Ann Sophie is a continual joy. I look forward to visiting her in Switzerland in March, but that’s another story for another day…
Until then, Aloha!