So, it’s probably about time to introduce my new team! Team Puna. Also known as FireGenX (as we are a combination team of Fire & Fragrance and the PhotogenX school). Also known as FireGenXtra, since we officially have the most bougie outreach haha. (Today our team leader approved funds for buying batteries for a milk frother…that’s how fancy we are.) I mean, all you have to do is see the photo of how much STUFF we brought to know that this isn’t your typical third-world mission trip.
My new team is twelve strong, and you can tell God was being selective about His people for this team. I feel like I’m on a strike team. (Good grief, God! What am I doing here?) These are the obedient ones, the ones willing to lay down their friends, their plans, their adventure in another nation to obey God’s call to stay here in Hawaii. We are a team who are each confident in who we are in Christ. We know we are loved, so we are able to love greatly. We hear and obey God’s voice. We are flexible and trust God explicitly. All of these things are SO necessary because…we have no idea what’s going on. Typically the outreach leaders have about 3 months to be in touch with contacts in their location, plan their ministry, figure out housing, budget, etc. Our amazing leaders had 2 weeks. Our housing came in Thursday. We moved in Friday. Our ministry is being built as we go. There will be A LOT of prayer involved, A LOT of going with the flow, A LOT of grace. And guys, we’re only a couple days in, but this team can handle it. I’m so impressed with them all.
So who are these mythical warriors? First off, our fearless leaders are Kristina and Zeke. Kristina is a sweetheart with several outreaches under her belt. Thank God she’s pretty experienced at this and seems completely unflappable despite only being 21. Zeke is my age, isn’t even staff for this school (he was running one of the tracks), was supposed to be going home, but instead decided to stay and co-lead this outreach. He’s hilarious, awesome, and supernaturally good at geography. The others are (from youngest to oldest): Bruna, the 18-year-old fireball/sweetheart from Brazil; Kayla, the 22-year old Canadian who is an old soul and a good friend from lecture phase; Eden, the 22-year-old Mexican who is one of the best listeners I’ve ever met; Kevin, the 26-year-old lumberjack (although we don’t know what to do with him right now since he shaved his beard); Gillian, the 26-year-old Papua New Guinean who is keeping me sane because she’s the one Paraguay team member I get to keep; me; Jad, the 28-year-old Philippino youth-leader-turned-YWAMer who is an AMAZING cook (praise the Lord); Rina, the 32-year-old mom of the group from South Africa; Charlotte, the 40-year-old mom of every child everywhere from Norway (sheesh…we are so international!); and Rick the 51-year-old child-at-heart who will be join us shortly once he’s recovered from his neck surgery. Phew. That was the longest sentence ever written. Grammatically correct though, pretty sure. I’ll get you a photo eventually…once we’re all here. I swear, the hardest thing in the entire world is trying to get a YWAM outreach team into the same place for even a MOMENT to take a team photo. Astoundingly difficult when you consider how much time we spend together. As soon as a camera comes out, everyone has 30,000 places to be.
We finally left Kona on Friday, after saying goodbye to ALL THE OTHER TEAMS (most heart wrenching three days of my life). Haha the goodbyes started off 100 strong on Wednesday night, and by the time we left we had…six…fans left to wave us off. But it was great to finally hit the road! Two hours later, we were in Hilo! It’s actually laughable how easy our travel was. All the other teams had between 8 and 50 hours of travel time. We’re staying in an amazing church here. All the staff and leaders are SO sweet. We’re psyched to be working and staying with them. Three days deep, it’s clear we’ll be getting to do a lot to support this church, and other opportunities are opening up closer to the volcano as well. We still need transportation for the whole team. If you are praying, please pray for us to get a car or van so we can all get where we need to be! Love you all!