Category Archives: Maui

An Overwhelming Dream

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“God always answers, one way or another, even when people don’t recognize His presence. In a dream for instance, a vision at night, when men and women are deep in sleep, fast asleep in their beds.” Job 33:14,15 (MSG)

“I am sorry but I cannot allow you to use the cafeteria/gym for your church services, Rev. Hill” said the principal. “That new building has only one working bathroom facility; therefore, the building cannot be available.”

The church we started in Kihei, Maui in our garage was expanding. It was beautiful to have Hawaiians, Japanese, Spanish plus other nationalities worshiping with us. Our small congregation one Sunday hosted a Samoan lady who was a royal princess. Once a Japanese professional to the United Nations joined us. We embraced the diversity while celebrating our brothers and sisters in the family of God.

Although the school outcome was negative, we trusted the Word stated in Revelation 3:7 “The one who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens a door that no one can shut and who shuts a door that no one can open.” (ISV) The next morning the phone rang and it was the principal. She stated, “Last night while I was sleeping, I had a dream about your request and knew that I needed to respond differently. I want you to feel free to use the building each Sunday. The one restroom should accommodate you nicely. Use the chairs there and whatever you need at a small sum  to cover utiliities and clean the facility. You may begin this Sunday if you wish. I will give you a key.” That symbolic door, figuratively, had swung wide open with the key of David!

God had used a Hawaiian, precious, cultural way of answering through a dream that manifested His righteous sovereignty. Ancient Hawaiians believed in four gods and lesser gods before the missionaries came who led their human followers through dreams that connected them together. The dreamer was often the oldest head of his family to be guided for answers in urgent situations and matters. Upon awakening, the answer was clear as to the direction to take. This practice is often still revered and practiced today.

We rejoiced and celebrated the revelation of God in such a unique way that only He could have designed with His incredible wisdom.  As my 95 year old father, a former minister, still often gives the favorite quote he found, “Our extremity is God’s opportunity!”

I , at times, need crucial answers to life’s dilemmas and demands. I dream of new pursuits, too. Don’t let me craft my  own answers but wait on You expectantly.  If an affirmative answer arrives, then I will recognize my Heavenly Father opened that door with His own key–The Key of David!

 

 

Michael, Loved by God, Part II

“May there be peace within your walls and security…” Psalms 122:7 “And My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”   Phil. 4:19 (NIV)

Michael settled into his new secluded island home along the beach, safely sheltered in his sleeping bag and tent.  Each morning, Larry brought him his free meal after completing his security shift. Soon others contributed their meals which he gratefully accepted.  Even a policeman heard of the meal donation and decided he would give him money, as well.   Soon other policemen also gave money donations. Michael was protected and well-cared for!

After awhile, Michael explained that the hotel’s rich food was disrupting his system.  Healthier food was brought instead.  Also presented to Larry was a small list of what he desired from the store– items like peanut butter, jelly and bread along with the last item, ice cream.

Larry, after leaving Michael and traveling home,  became agitated.  He thought, how in the world could he request these things, especially ice cream.  Immediately God reminded, “Who are you to be complaining when I take care of all of your own needs? Michael is someone who cannot help himself. Our pleasure together is to meet his desires with delight.”  Larry immediately repented of the disgruntled feelings and all items were joyfully presented.   He kept Michael’s list in the back of his Bible for many years to remind him of God’s grace offered to us and the grace He wants us to show others.

After a time, we left Maui and returned two years later, Larry, still with the list in his wallet, inquired of Michael and discovered he had been hit by a car and died.  Larry was stunned but God comforted with the outcome that Michael woke up in his forever home, with all needs supplied by a forever Friend who welcomed him at last into splendor.

Close to your heart, Jesus, using your eyes let me be your hand extended to joyfully care for your precious ones.  What pleasure awaits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael, Loved by God

Rest for the weary-Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - stock photo

 

“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.  Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.” Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)

Often walking down the busy highway, we would see this African-American 30ish young man, often carrying his clothing and possessions in a drawstring plastic bag on his back.  His body mirrored the way he probably felt within–hunched over, dejected, ambling slowly, unkempt, and uncared for.

One particular weekend I had cleaned the rooms of our home and scrubbed the bathrooms until they shined.  I made a chicken dinner and expected to enjoy a nice, quiet afternoon before heading back into a week filled with all its demands.  Later, I got a call from Larry, still at our church.  “I saw this homeless man again and I hope it’s okay with you to bring him home to share our Sunday meal.”

I agreed and so at the table, we chit-chatted amiably about various topics.  At the end of the meal, I became agitated when I heard my husband say, “Michael, perhaps you’d like to take a bath before you leave.  If you’d like another change of clothes, our son in college left some here that I think would fit you.” Hey, wait a minute, I thought.  We fed him, wasn’t that enough?  Now he’s going to take a shower in a clean bathroom and dress in our son’s clean clothes? Enough already.  I soon repented of my ill thoughts as I saw dignity appear as he emerged a nice looking young man.

Michael heard that Larry worked on the other side of the island so asked if he could ride there with him that night.  His desire was to find a new lodging place rather than in the culvert where he now lived under the highway.  With a grace that accommodated, Larry did just as he requested.  Michael chose a beach spot, hidden with foliage from the road, and laid out the sleeping bag and erected the tent Larry had given.  This was his new dwelling place.

Little did we know the lessons we would learn of God’s loving, tender, care as He wrote Michael’s name on His own palm while sending human hands to assist. I hope to share more in my next blog.

Lord, I am so glad that you look within destroyed walls to see the sweet  person as you build new walls of protection within and without your precious treasure.

September 11, 2001 in Maui

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. Blessed are the  people he has chosen as his own.” Psalm 33:12 (God’s Word Translation)

“Mom, turn on your television.  A plane has just flown into the World Trade Center!” Chris was watching this unfold in Missouri and I was watching in Lahaina, Maui.  “Did you just see that?  Another plane flew into the second tower!” Shocked, we realized our country was under attack! I then called Larry .  Jeff, another son, was in Vermont.  We were all stunned with what we had just witnessed.

I had previously arrived back in Maui after taking a two year leave without pay from Lahainaluna High School to accompany my pastor-husband to Pennsylvania.  A teacher friend invited me to stay with her and another teacher helped me find an apartment.

Larry still in Pennsylvania took care of final church details while packing all our belongings again to be mailed or sold.  He was later to drive our car across country to be placed on a barge and then to fly out of California.

School was not called off and as I headed there in another teacher’s loaned car, I felt alone with no family presence.  I worried how Larry half a world away would undertake a huge journey that was logistically in peril. When would he now  get to me?

Faculty, staff, students and friends were just as concerned as I with the knowledge we were isolated in the middle of the Pacific.  We needn’t have worried, though, in that the high level of protection and defense was immediately felt by all in Hawaii.  A couple of weeks later, Larry arrived and stated that the trip from California to Hawaii had the most precautions with intense scrutiny by even an unexpected trip to another island before arriving in Maui.

Although the day was tragic, I have since been astounded by the provision of God with my Hawaiian ‘Hanai” family that ministered to me.  Although separated, Larry and I were also connected with God in His design of each for the other and both for the Lord.  What an awesome way God designs our lives, even in adversity!

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.  His truth is your shield and armor.  You do not need to fear terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day.” Psalm 91:4,5 (GW)  Dear Lord, help me to see your hand of protection upon me and upon us as a nation that was founded on that great fundamental truth, IN GOD WE TRUST!

The Joy of “Hope”

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“Hope deferred (or delayed) makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)

“Miss, can I talk to you in private?” asked Hope.  Over lunch period, Hope poured out her heart.  “I don’t know what to do.  I am so scared!”

Hope was a beautiful young lady, a student of mine.  She was gregarious, pleasant, fun-loving  with many friends and respected among teachers.  Her future was bright from all indications…until I shockingly found out otherwise as she proceeded.  “I have just found out that I have cancer” she lamented.  “My world is falling apart!”

Stunned as I tried to comfort, I was wrestling with the tragedy that confronted this sweet girl.  What future awaited?  Was she going to be ravished for the remainder of the year as she began treatment?  How would she cope with this, school work, her social life?  I thought and prayed for her often.

Years later during Open House, I recognized Hope as soon as she walked into my classroom.  Her radiant smile, vivaciousness and joy of living was bubbling from within.  “I am doing just fine now” she said.  “I have a son and life is great!”  Hope had triumphed and was living her dream.  She had started her own family tree with a son, the joy of her life!

Stately palm trees look regal but when strong winds come, the fronds bend, clustered together.  Especially was this apparent during Hurricane Iniki as the winds buffeted Hawaii and pelted it with rain.

When tragedy happens, it is easy to give into despair, depression and with many questions to even God.  “Why did this happen?  What have I done wrong?  How can you get glory in this?  Where do I go from here?”  When faith is shaken and sleepless nights long as I feel such winds of adversity and feeling as though I am bowling over, how do I proceed into calmness and peace of mind?  Do I pray for strength no matter what the outcome? Does God really care?”

Yes, He cares.  The Word says, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.  Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:3 (NLT) Situations may not change, but I am changed within as peace reigns.

Let me be resilient, Lord, in this life You have given me; ever looking to You from where my help comes in any and all situations.  Your leading is perfect for me!

Instruction God’s Way

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 The Lord says, “I will instruct you.  I will teach you the way that you should go.  I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 (God’s Word)

Hale Pa’i (House of Printing) built in 1834 on Lahainalua’s campus is where the first Bible in the Hawaiian language was first printed.  The missionaries had enabled the unprinted Hawaiian language to be reduced into an alphabet according to its sounds.  The printed Word of God could then  be  read by Hawaiian men studying for the ministry under missionary tutelage.  Lahainaluna today is a public high school that teaches standard curriculum.

Its students throughout the years have observed Rally ‘Round the Flag Pole near Hale Pa’i and pray over administrators, teachers, staff and students.  One unique year  the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, Duke Aiona (a devout Christian) urged all Christians to pray on each school campus on a designated Sunday.  At Lahainaluna, each door was anointed with oil while individuals prayed for all that would enter that classroom.

Recently our church located here on the Mainland invited school superintendents to share an evening with students, parents and teachers.  One superintendent spoke of wanting to see God’s blessing through him and through all the schools in his district.  Around 4,000 people attended that unique evening. The kids’ minister spoke on the theme, Love All-Serve All.  Jesus took time out for Bartimaeus and so he urged kids to be friendly and kind to all in their school.

God, Himself, is our own Life Instructor, no matter the age.  The text He uses is the Bible and the Holy Spirit is our tutor.  His lesson plans are in many subjects and guidance is carefully given through challenging and at times, easy homework.  Patience is His virtue, gently loving until we live out His objectives. We get our graduation day when He proclaims “Well done, good and faithful student!  You have been faithful with a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23

God, you are so all-knowing what’s best for me.  You encourage me with such kind words for you said “I am the apple of your eye!”  What an absolute delight You are!

 

 

 

An Alabastar Box of Radiance

 

she-anointed-his-head-matt-26-7     A Memorial Tribute of the Christ She Served

There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat…Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her. Matthew 26:7 & 13 (KJV)

Vibrant, beautiful Sheila attracted friends to her with a winsome smile and glowing vitality of blessing others.  In church she was the first there on Sunday mornings praying at the altar before people arrived; the first one standing for praise and worship, singing with hands uplifted in love and reverence.  At Lahainaluna High School, I observed the bounce in her step where she was employed as a special education aide and with interactions between teachers, students and staff.

And slowly, life presented unbearable, hurting hurdles…her son, a heavy drug addict, succumbed to major mental  inadequacies; her daughter became unstable in relationships, and then her husband committed suicide. Through all the shaking and tears, a smile remained on Sheila’s face.  While carrying a broken, grieving heart, she still radiated the love of God!

The last time I saw Sheila was at the health clinic.  I was there for a routine doctor’s appointment, but she was there with a life-threatening illness.  Her verdict was swift and tragic–she had two weeks to live.  At her funeral she was dressed all in white, laid in a white-inlaid casket and encased in a white box.  My thought on seeing her…she looks truly like the bride of Christ!  Half way around the world in our next pastorate, I remembered the life dynamics of my precious friend, Sheila. Through her impact, a large group of ladies would begin a new women’s ministry called Radiance.

The Bible woman with the alabaster box of perfumed ointment knew the secret of displaying her love and beautiful devotion to the Master.  She was unafraid of taking her most costly possession to best visually demonstrate her loyalty to Jesus.  Although jeered by the men who saw her, Jesus looked into the very essence of her being to see a heart overflowing with warmth and intensity.  Her beautiful gift became a halo that she placed over Jesus head, that then oozed a fragrant oil that flowed and anointed him for a burial that would happen within the week…but the next week she witnessed her Risen Lord!

Radiance glows best in the lives of those who let you shine through them in multifaceted ways.  “What we keep for ourselves lives but for a moment. What we freely give from our hearts will last for eternity.” May I, too, reflect sacrifice of myself with an intense devotion and appreciation of the Divine. Isn’t that the very best way for You to radiate outward?

 

God’s Breath of Life

BreathofLifeLogo    ‘HA’ IN HAWAIIAN

And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 (KJV)

“I am just so frustrated!” Jeff lamented in a couple of months after starting Maui High School. “Former courses required now I didn’t take in Pennsylvania and courses taken there have no follow-up here.  P-l-e-a-s-e  allow me to go back to finish my education!”  God was expecting our family to be divided after moving half way around the world together? Where was God now? I wailed, but God reminded me that Jeff was his son first and ours second.

A beautiful family from our former pastorate- Mary Kay, Doug and their children-Jason, Heather and Holly-graciously opened the door of their home and their hearts to our son to become part of their family. We were very happy for Jeff, but devastated to see him leave our own family unit!

A couple of days later still in shock and sorrow, I discussed this with Ulu, my teacher’s aide.  We hardly knew each other but that day she breathed comfort and astounding wisdom into me.  She replied, “We call that hanai in Hawaii and have practiced this from ancient times.  If families were large or children were orphaned or needing fostered, other families would take a child and raise them as their own.  I did that myself of having others help me raise my children.  Jeff, too, is a hanai child and being cared for by another family.”

That first Christmas, Jeff’s hanai family and we celebrated together. Exquisite was Mary Kay’s gift to us–a journal she’d written of “our son together,” glimpsing his life each day in her family’s care.

‘Ha’, in many Hawaiian words, means breath of life. God breathed life into Adam and essentially, then, into all of us. Families, too, have life breathed into them either biologically or by design. Little did we know the beauty our sons would find in their own families, designed by God, with some biological, adopted and fostered today.

You invite and adopt us into your own family, God, to live forever with you. I trust you to implant your own spiritual breath into remaining family members who need to know you as Abba, Father!

 

Maui Bound

MAUI Map    MAUI BOUND

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Sun, sand and surf for Larry and Ruth.  We were excited to be visiting the four major islands for rest and relaxation after sixteen years in the ministry for a vacation in Hawaii.  Our sons were staying with my parents and our church was left in capable hands during our absence.

Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island were beautifully bathed in tropical paradise.  When we arrived on Maui, however,  rain pelted the island everywhere generating bursting waterfalls, giant waves and minor flooding everywhere that we glimpsed through gray fog. Yet  the Living Water pulsated within Larry as a still, small voice quietly mentioned, “Some day this island is going to be your place of ministry.”

Two years later, Larry was invited to become part of the ministry team in Pukulani, Upcountry Maui.  This momentous decision would also need to be positively accepted with our boys, Jeff in eleventh grade and Chris in eighth.  How would they react to leaving their extended family with cousins their ages plus church, school and community friends they’d made?  For Jeff already in college prep courses, the reality of moving half a world away immediately hit hard as interrupted future goals collided in the rigors of transitions that could create chaos for his last two high school years. Yet within a very short time, Jeff said, “Who am I to interfere with the plan of ministry God has for us?”

For Chris, this was an easier decision to move half way around the world as he was the sports enthusiast, especially with baseball.  He had played on a team from the time he began middle school and made friends easily. This seemed to be more of an adventure with all kinds of water sports beckoning, as well.

And so we boarded a plane in Pennsylvania with several family members waving good-bye in the airport terminal as we began a journey that impacted each of the four of us.

Lord, it was difficult to leave our comfort zone, selling all we owned, tearing ourselves from loved ones. Yet I heard my husband say while we were 35,000 feet in the air heading towards our destination of ministry, full of unanwsered questions and an uncertain future, “I’ve never felt freer in my life as I am now!” God had called and we had answered…