Wow…so ok. Looking back through my posts made me realize exactly how bad I’ve been at keeping everyone up to date on this outreach. Some highlights:
We moved to Pahoa! Like 5 weeks ago….hehe. A truly delightful couple who were displaced by the lava ended up being offered this enormous house to stay in in exchange for their fixing it up a bit. It used to be a drug house and it was A MESS when we first saw it. But they put in a lot of work and we jumped in and helped a bit too, and now it’s quite homey. There’s a lot of us living in a somewhat small space, but we are YWAM. And we still have the bougie-est outreach.
Except for the natural disasters. The place we moved was about three miles from the RIVER OF LAVA that was flowing when we got here. We had a really good view of the volcano glow from our back porch. But we prayed that away, no worries. About 3 weeks ago, the day after we finally got to go SEE the lava for ourselves, it stopped. Just stopped. And it’s been pretty chill ever since. Yay God!
Now it’s hurricaning. Don’t worry, we’re safe and snug in our drug house. Honestly…we were kind of underwhelmed. Mostly a lot of rain. But there’s always a lot of rain here, so…life as usual. Only outreach ever to survive both a hurricane and a volcano, I’ll bet. Take that, bush bush outreaches!
We’ve made good friends with a bunch of the churches, groups, and Christian business owners in the area, and our presence has been felt. It’s really cool, actually, to be able to encourage the people here who have been praying and working and serving the place for years that God is hearing and answering their prayers and that they ARE working toward something. That revival is coming.
Our impromptu worship team (there are 6 of us who are quite musical) has gigs EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME. We’ve sung in several churches, on the streets, at Young Life meetings, and even in a kava bar. It’s been amazing to see the impact that just singing about the Lord can have. When we went to the Kava Bar, we had random people off the street joining in; one of the town trouble-makers joined us on the harmonica and had the night of his life; we were able to give one of the bar tenders an opportunity to join in and share some of his original stuff, which was AWESOME, and we met a ton of unexpectedly cool people. You just never know with people. Definitely learning not to judge a book by its cover here. Or even by its first chapter. People all have so much depth to them, so much to love, but it can be buried pretty deep. So worth it to see it come out though, as we’re faithful and patient to uncover it.
We’ve been volunteering at a micro-shelter next door. These people have lost everything, but there are some real gems there. Some of them definitely had to be dusted off a bit, but it’s been so worth it, and so fun getting to know them. Tomorrow night we’re throwing a love feast for them, so pray about that if you are praying!
This post is a little all over the place, I realize. But shoot! I’ve been bad. Since coming on outreach, though, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. It was a bit of a shock to realize that after lecture phase…I was still me. Actually, this outreach has been good for me, because it looks a great deal like real life. If I had gone to Paraguay it would have been so easy to just stay in “summer camp” mode. That little bubble space where nothing quite feels real and it’s easy to pretend you’ve got it all together because you’re simply so far from anything that feels normal that the novelty of it all can carry you through. I know I would have had an amazing time if I’d gone to Paraguay. And I would have probably seen God do amazing things and had all sorts of stories and had a nice, tidy, exciting “YWAM experience.”
But then I would have gone home. And it would have been real life and I would have had no idea how to actually deal with that. With routine. With frustration at people who don’t want to listen. With day to day. God is teaching me how to deal with that here. I mean, sort of. I’m stuck in a tiny house with 13 other people and have nothing to do every day except ministry, team meetings, and prayer. But other than that, real life. I’ve had rough days and weeks. Days when I still question God and doubt His love and get mad at Him. But He’s teaching me (slowly…I’m very slow at learning this) how to deal. How to be ok in that.
Most of the difficulty is with disappointment when God doesn’t meet my expectations. Which is just the problem. They’re MY expectations. I’m learning that God’s definition of success is quite different from mine. That what He expects of me is quite different than what I thought. That some of the things I thought I needed were actually just things I wanted. That He cares more about my character than about giving me exactly what I want. Last night He was talking to me about kids. If you want your child to grow up to be a well-adjusted adult, you have to say “no.” Frequently, in fact. If you give a child everything they want, they will not turn out ok. They just won’t. So basically, during this time I’ve been a 5-year-old child throwing a tantrum because I couldn’t go on a trip with my friends, and my small little world seems OVER. But I need to trust that my Dad knows best. Right now isn’t about fun, it’s about growing. And the growing phases kind of suck sometimes, let’s be real. They’re not necessarily enjoyable. And that’s ok. But God is a good Dad, which means that for the most part, He’s going to say “yes! Go have fun!” This season may have been a no, I didn’t get to go have my fun. But I will get to go have plenty of fun in my life! I know this, because God loves me. And I know that, because God is God, He helps me find joy even in the less fun times. I’ve seen Him work in me here. I’ve seen myself growing. Even reading back over my posts I can see how far I’ve come in a few short weeks. So there are really rough days, yes. But in between there’s a lot of fun. And I’m learning how to chill through the bad times and enjoy the good times with all my heart. We’re getting there. It’s definitely a process. Thanks for hanging in there with me through it. Love you all!