Walking Club at Kohala Adventist School
Created from the desire to help a few students and distract them from the pain of losing a loved one, the Walking Club was born. Jackie Lee, principal of Kohala Adventist School, invited her students, who had lost their father, to go on an evening stroll by the coast. She hoped that surrounding them with the beauty of nature could distract them from the pain of loss.
Soon their friends joined, then others, and before long they needed to schedule times and find larger transport. As soon as it was announced in Kohala’s school newsletter, even parents and grandparents joined in!
Everyone is now enjoying the much-needed respite of reconnection with nature and a pause from the world. One parent said, “My daughter is excited for Walking Club every week.… We are so grateful for these days of exploration.” Theo, a third-grader, exclaimed, “Walking Club is so fun! I love it because we can walk next to the ocean with my friends.” Jordan from fourth grade said, “Walking club is really fun, plus it’s good exercise and we get to swim once in a while! We also get to explore the Kohala Coast, like the tidepools.”
Jackie praises God for this simple way to minister to students and families alike. Psalm 104:24 says, “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (NIV). Praise the Lord for His creation, a welcoming and naturally therapeutic way to provide calm and relaxation for mental health!
By Jackie Lee and Yara Enamorado
A Heart of Giving at Kona Adventist Christian School
The students from Kona Adventist Christian School (KACS) have been learning about giving this year. As part of this school year’s mission projects, they participated in a food drive for Thanksgiving, and they adopted six children from the Angel Tree at Christmas.
After the sudden eruption of Mauna Loa, the students were happily surprised and amazed to find out that their food donations were used to support migrant workers who were required to evacuate their homes and stay in a shelter.
At Christmastime, the students formed teams in their classrooms to help sponsor children whose families were struggling and had limited means. The students enjoyed finding and wrapping special gifts for each of the sponsored children.
The students at KACS are blessed to have a bounty of fresh fruit at their fingertips. It is not uncommon to see students with avocados, oranges, mulberries, or bananas in their hands at the end of break time. Many friends and workers have built up a wonderful variety of fruit trees and macadamia nut trees.
In the years prior to the recent pandemic, much of this bounty was harvested and offered to families and neighbors of the school and community. We are in the process of rebuilding this practice and look forward to blessing many more people in the future with the gifts that God has given to us.
By Melanie Stroud
Maui Young Adult Trip Provides a Chance to Recharge
Even with a lifestyle built around healthy living and good choices, there is something to be said for getting away. So with that in mind, when Pastor JR from Honolulu Central church asked if I was interested in joining the Young Adult trip to Maui, I immediately said yes.
Although it was not quite a wilderness experience, we took up residence in several tents (with two showers!) that JR had set up ahead of time. We sat on chairs and ate hearty meals that had been prepared in a kitchen by JR’s wife, Felicia. Instead of walking in sandals through the desert, we rode around comfortably in vehicles that featured air conditioning and Bluetooth enabled stereos—but we were away, and that was the point.
Being in a new place forces you to see things, even things you may know, in a new way. I have known about the existence of waterfalls for many years now. I have known that whales live in the sea and, after holding their breath for 20 minutes or so, they will rise to the surface and exhale with a mighty spray before diving again. I have known that the air at 10,000 feet is thin and chilly, and that a full moon is silent and serene when it rises. But witnessing these things outside of the comfortable familiarity of home planted new seeds of wonder and a humble appreciation for the overwhelming depth of the beauty that is God’s creation.
Hour after hour, one after another, experiences were set before me that nudged my heart. “Do you like the way this rocky valley stretches out for miles until it disappears into the hazel-colored dusk in front of you? I thought you would,” God whispered. “Do you hear the laughter of the children on the creaky old secondhand bicycles? Do you feel the joy in the heart of that massive beast driving itself up out of the water for no practical or logical reason? Do you taste the loud potency of the lemon and the sparkling sweetness of the pineapple? Look at these clouds, settling into the breast of the mountains like sleepy children. I composed these things for you.”
Without getting into the details, it has been a difficult few years for me personally, but recently I have felt with absolute certainty the touch of God, gently rubbing salve into the raw parts of my heart—the Master Surgeon tending to His broken creation in a way that no human hand or voice ever could. He has used experiences like this trip, the people responsible for coordinating it (shout out to Pastor Ben’s morning worship talks), and many other ways to convince me beyond the shadow of a doubt that not only is He running things in some abstract macro sense, but He knows I live in Honolulu, He reads my Instagram posts, and He listens to jazz with me in the evening.
I don’t know what else I could say to frame that feeling in a more clear way: God is good.
By David Butterfield