So here in Kona, it’s Sunday night and the work week starts at 645 tomorrow morning. A few of us gather in the maintenance office where tools are scattered everywhere and the volunteers, we call mission-builders, gather to get marching orders for the day. This starts at 7, there is “Monday morning worship” at 8 for an hour, and it’s off to the races after that. Some go to class, but we go to work. At 910, it’s a second meeting, this time, the “operation” heads get together to collaborate about the week. After that, all sorts of projects begin.
This is the start of what I do now, but first a little review.
I’ve been working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for a number of years. YWAM is an international volunteer missions movement of Christians from many backgrounds, cultures and traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. Our purpose is simply to know God and to make Him known. This is the basic model of YWAM’s discipleship training schools (DTS) knowing God (training phase of 12 weeks) and making him known (the 8 week outreach assignment).
I started in the mission in Kona, Hawaii in 1996, worked there for a couple years, then returned to college to get my degree in Psychology. After another few years, I began again working with YWAM, this time, in Oxford, New Zealand, also working with DTS. Our teams went to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Morocco, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and even Israel. After this, I moved to Montana, also with YWAM, to attend a School of Biblical Studies, and went on to staff their outreach, called the Titus Project. Our teams went to Armenia and Russia and focussed on teaching and studying the Bible.
We returned from Russia December 2013-what a place and what a people! I know I’ll be back there at some point.
My plan was to go back to Montana and work with a staff training program called DTS Equip. But in the meantime, I took a short trip to Kona, Hawaii to visit some friends and reconnect with the base there. During that time, I began to rethink what I’d been doing for the mission over the years. I was challenged to think about doing something totally different and to pray about working out in Kona, this time on the “operations” side of the mission instead of the teaching side. After all, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen and there are people who do all that work.
Here at the base, we’re loosing one of the operations heads whose going to work in LA April 2nd. I was asked to step in as he leaves. So, for the month of March, I’m being trained to do just that. The more I learn, this guy, Dwayne, does the work of about 4 people, but I’m taking it one day at a time, trusting God for what I lack. He’s a liaison for the other departments: the kitchen, grounds, the mail room, maintenance, auto shop, security, the mission building crews, and the “Banyan Tree Cafe”. He’s the “go to” guy and does a little of everything. The position requires a basic knowledge of construction and being good with people. Every day, I learn more and get a clearer picture of what’s expected. “One-day-at-a-time” really is a good mantra to live by going into this kind of thing.
I’m seeing the mission from a totally different point of view being among the volunteers who’s work is a little less flashy. It’s good though. It seems like there’s more freedom to just be yourself when you’re flying below the radar.