Aloha Family and Friends!
This is my new little place in the cyber world to share all my travels, adventures, experiences, and people that God has placed in my life! This is a long post but I promise they won’t always be this long! I just want to share all God did for me this past year. God has been moving and speaking into my life so much this past year. I’m a completely different person now with a new outlook on life. I’m alive, inspired, and excited!
As everyone knows I moved to Tennessee with my family to finish high school last June (2009). As soon as I took my first step off that plane I allowed every single bone in my body to hate that state and everyone in it. Could you blame me? I had left my life in paradise behind and wasn’t about to give “Tennessee” a chance. Within a few months however, God softened my heart and I came to realize what a beautiful place Tennessee was and that it was filled with opportunities to build new relationships. I met tons of beautiful people and even found a home church in Tennessee (Two Rivers Church) and became apart of their amazing Children’s Ministry. God taught me more about myself in Tennessee than he had in my whole then 18 years of life. Sometimes you have to be taken out of what you think is paradise for awhile to realize whom you were truly created to be.
While I was in Tennessee God spoke to me about Indonesia. I had always had the desire to go there but had never thought it realistic. A friend had shared with me his experience going on a mission trip to Indonesia with Surfing the Nations and I was blown away. To make a long story short God gave me confirmation that Indonesia is where I was supposed to go the following summer and I would be going with Surfing the Nations. So I sat in my room and thought, “Ok God if this is what you want me to do, I’m down, but I’m moving to Hawai’i in June and I’m not going to have the finances for both so we’ll see what happens.” I did my senior project on Mission Work through Art and Surfing and made Indonesia and Surfing the Nations my main focus. Months were passing by and I continued to have this passion and desire for Indonesia that I couldn’t even explain. I had never even been on a mission trip before. Usually (and my mother can attest for this) I find out about something new, research it, get so stoked on it that it’s all that I talk about and eventually forget about it. However, Indonesia never did die out so I decided to put it into action and start to make it happen. I found out I needed $3,000 for the trip plus money to establish myself in Hawai’i after that. I took one look at that number and immediately panicked but realized if I worked my butt off it was doable. So that’s what I did, I worked like crazy. Around January 2010 my senior girls leader at church brought up the senior mission trip to Guatemala in June. She was telling me how fun it would be and that I had to go. My first question was how much money is it going to be? When she told me about 1,800 I immediately denied her and told her no I’m already going to Indonesia, and moving to Hawai’i, thanks, but not thanks, it’s not gonna happen. She kept pressuring me to pray about it and telling me that it seems like a lot but God provides. She also added that no one had ever had to back out of the trip because of finances. So I told her I would “think about it”. I ended up going home and praying about it. While I was praying God gave me confirmation to commit to the trip. I protested of course my argument being there would be no way that I could raise enough money to go to Guatemala, Indonesia and move back to Hawai’i all within six months. It sounds like a crazy idea for anyone, let alone an 18 year old that had just graduated high school. However, what God made me realize the night that I prayed was that through him anything is possible. I can only climb mountains but God can move them. So I committed to both trips. I had no idea that for the next six months I would constantly be battling with my own “realistic of this world” thinking and the plans God had for my life. I told everyone I came encounter with about the journey I had coming up in my life, the things God had told me and sharing my testimony. But I constantly questioned whether I actually believed it all. The truth is the whole time I didn’t fully believe God would come through for me and would actually provide the finances for me. Part of me gave it my all but part of me just waited for the day to come when I had to tell the missions director I couldn’t go. I recently just looked through my journal the past year and page after page were prayers pleading to God to help me go, that it was my passion to be with the people in these countries, that I wanted to be apart of all of these amazing things but that I couldn’t do it myself. I believed but I needed him to help me overcome my unbelief. So I took the initiative and decided that if God was going to bless me I was not going to just sit around and wait for it. I got two jobs and was working over 40 hours a week. After a few months it was getting closer to the date of my first trip (Guatemala) and I still didn’t have near enough money. So I sent out support letters to all my friends and family. God provided mostly through the people who loved me (If you were one of the people that supported me I want to thank you so, so much for sharing in all that God did). After sending out support letters, working my butt off, and fundraising through church I ended up making enough money for Guatemala, Indonesia and more than enough to settle down comfortably in Hawai’i. When I sat down and really tallied up all the money God had provided me with to do everything I had prayed about I was blown away. It was more than I had ever made in my whole life. That was the moment I realized that when God gives you confirmation about something, no matter how crazy and unrealistic it sounds to the world, it is possible. Living for God is living in adventure. It’s a crazy ride that never goes smoothly, but thats what makes it fun.
Guatemala was my first mission trip ever, it’s where the nations stole my heart. I was captivated by all the love that I felt in that country and I honestly feel that God gave me the gift of love. For the very first time I was able to see people with new lives, to truly see who they were, and to even see them with God’s eyes in all their beauty. We had a team of fourteen and while we were there we ran medical clinics in two different towns for several days and helped construct a cement floor for a new health center from scratch. When we were running the medical clinics I got the best job. Our church had run a big fundraiser to buy new shoes to bring to Guatemala and I got the honor to let families pick out one pair of shoes for one of their kids. Some of these kids had never owned a pair of shoes before and to see their faces when I handed a pair to them was priceless. It brings me to tears thinking about it now, they were so excited. I hated having to tell families we didn’t have enough shoes to give all of their kids a pair. It made me sick thinking how many pairs of shoes I had in my closet at home and how much I took something so simple for granted. After I gave the families their shoes I got to pray for them, I think that is one of the biggest honors I’ve ever had. I am in love with Guatemala and all the people there. All of the kids I met led the simplest lives and were genuinely happy. I went to Guatemala thinking I would teach them so much, when in reality they taught me more than I could ever teach them.
When I got back from Guatemala I had one short week with my mom and sister then was on a plane to Hawai’i. Leaving my mom was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I almost didn’t do it, but God told me Hawai’i was where he wanted me next so I went. It was so good being reunited with all my friends, but I didn’t have much time because one week later I was on a plane to Indonesia!
I don’t even know how to start off writing about Indonesia. That country seriously has such a special place in my heart. Every person that I came in contact while i was there I fell in love with. It’s such a beautiful place, with amazing waves. We had a team of 26 in Indo. When we first go there we split into teams of three. One team was on Bengin, one Lombok, and one Nusa Lembongan. I was on the Nusa Lembongan team! The island of Nusa Lembongan is a seaweed farming island. It’s super small (we rode bikes around it) and so simple. We were on the island for two weeks. While we were there our team would go into the villages and play with the kids, do beach clean ups, teach english to kids, host movie nights, and we even hosted a mini world cup game for the kids. When I first got to Indonesia I prayed for God to put a person in my life that I would connect and build a relationship with in Indonesia and want to come back to the country for. While I was on Nusa Lembongan I met this person. She is a 12 year old girl named Sumi and I absolutely love her. She doesn’t speak much English but what I came to understand while I was in Indo is that love is a universal language. When you love another person enough you don’t even have to use words to communicate everything that needs to be said is said through actions. Sumi and her family are so special to me now, and they are the reason I am going back to Indonesia this year. To me it’s so important when you go on a mission trips to build relationships with the people and continue to go back. That is the only way to show that you aren’t just another tourist passing through and giving them stuff. It is the only way to show that you actually care and that you lead your life with a different perspective. After Nusa Lembongan we lived on a boat for one week traveling to different islands handing out donations. Then we went back to Kuta and hosted a big banquet for all the Indonesians to come, eat, and hear a powerful testimony. I could go on and on about Indo all day. It was the best experience of my life. I’m so happy I was obedient and went and I cannot wait to go back!
So what did all of this teach me? I’ve learned that God is so much bigger than this world. I’ve learned that my dreams are so much bigger than this world. So the only way to have dreams bigger than this world are from God and the only way to accomplish them is by God. I have made a promise to myself and to God to never stop dreaming, and to never listen to the reality of my dreams. God has proved to me that all things are possible. I’ve decided to lay everything down at his feet. I am becoming sensitive to his calling and am fully prepared to drop everything and go wherever he tells me to. That is such a scary thought, but fear is never going to get us anywhere. I don’t want to be one of those people that just talks about all the dreams I have, I plan on living them out. It all starts NOW! So I’m putting reality, fear, and worldly thoughts/ideas behind me. If God provides for the birds and all other living animals he will surly provide for me. So thats it I’m a Freed Bird living alive and inspired. I’m here to ignite that fire in others and encourage everyone around me to never give into the fears of this world, to constantly live in adventure and fulfill your dreams