Monday, March 16, 2009

A Better Kalihi, A Better Jenn? [1/2]

The past week was ridiculously crazy and fun. Saturday the 7th marked the beginning of “A Better Kalihi 2009” when Wheaton College in Illinois have their spring break and sends students on short-term mission trips with one team coming to Hawai‘i and working with our Kalihi Union Church. One of our own, Shelly [Wheaton ‘08], was attending Wheaton & on a Spring Breakaway trip when she got a notion of having a group come to work with us in Kalihi.

I wasn’t around for “ABK” in 2008 and I hear stories about how good it was. I experienced the blessings in person this time around.

Saturday, March 7th, Day ONE:
“A Better Kalihi Introduction” -->Welcome to Hawai‘i and Kalihi Union Church

Some of our kids made welcome signs for the Wheaton group and had them posted in the gym. When Wheaton arrived, half of them went supply shopping while the others stayed back for free play in the gym with the kids. The kids loved it.

When everyone was back, we had dinner, a briefing, introductions, and sent the kids and Wheaton off on a photo scavenger hunt. I am certain they got some great photos from the game!

Sunday, March 8th, Day TWO:
“A Better Start” --> To be introduced to Kalihi Union Church and get a head start in the work ahead for this week.

Wheaton was introduced during the two church services. During the Sunday School hour, they divided into groups of four with each group joining a youth SS class. Always interesting when someone visits with our Team Epic [high school juniors, seniors, and else]; Brian, Andrew Knighton, Matt and Astrid braved the Epic. One never knows what may happen.

This was also the day that one of our students opened up about a tough prayer request. Prior to this, we had sensed that something was bothering him but tried to be patient for when he would be ready to share what it was. On this Sunday, he shared in class. After a moment’s pause, Brian from Wheaton, their team leader, came with a good response: let us pray over the student right now. We gathered around the student and prayed for him. It was a blessing and a lesson for me as an SS leader as to how to respond to such moments.

After lunch, some of Wheaton went with Kendal for the Detention Home Ministry. The rest of us walked over to Umi Street to begin inviting people to the block party that was to be later in the week.

Then Wheaton had free time. Zac and Rachel showed us to Waiola Shave Ice in town where we explained to Wheaton such flavors as lilikoi and li hing mui [I had lychee/strawberry, ono!]. Then Shelly showed us to the lookout spots at Punchbowl and the Pali. The whole island was rather overcast. From Punchbowl, we pointed out landmarks and such like Ala Moana, the Capitol building, Pearl Harbor direction on one side and Diamond Head on the other. At the Pali, the wind was VERY mild but we could still see the mist flowing up the cliff side.

Back at the church, Shelly and I were invited to stay for dinner with them. We mainly helped Jeff prepare the cheesy bread. I think the second topping mix with the feta was better, but the whole meal was good! At our end of the table, we had an interesting conversation going about how there’s no dating on Breakaway trips, but Brian was gonna allow a wedding for one particular team member; no weddings happened though.

Monday, 9th, Day THREE:
“Free Day”

Zac and I joined Shelly in showing Wheaton around on their free day. They requested the beach. We thought Sherwoods would be the safest waters with some waves but when we got there, the Windward side was still very gloomy. We took them the scenic route, along Kamehameha Highway, up to the North Shore. Someone had asked about Waimea so we stopped there on a restroom break. The waves were huge but of course that didn’t discourage the Wheaton team; good thing they found the “safe” spot to be in the water!

Then it was off to Laniakea Beach. Honu [turtles] in the water, two honu lounging on the sand. The “honu lifeguard” told us about how the honu are much stronger and more dangerous than what the general public believes about turtles. We moved further down the beach and settled in for more ocean and sand playtime. Another shave ice stop, this time at Aoki’s [I had lychee/mango/cherry, very ono!].

Shelly, Zac and I met up with some friends for dinner. We didn’t get a chance to stop by Kua‘aina in Haleiwa, so we went to the one at Ward.

Then we headed back to the church for Monday Night Volleyball. Wheaton joined us. I hadn’t played vb in many, many years; I got beat up. I remember Jacquelyne [Wheaton] serving to me three times in a row, of which I missed three times in a row. Kash played double agent, switching teams a few times. And a note for future reference: Brian and Kimberly [husband/wife] strongly prefer to be on opposing teams for competitions.

After the rousing competition, some of Wheaton joined some of us locals at Zippys’.

Well, there are 5 more days to recount, quite a bit of memories [and photos] to go through! I shall continue this next time.

Mahalo for reading!

[click on images for larger view]