General Posts

Kauai, Hawaii: The First Leg is Complete

On our last update we were getting ready to depart for Hawaii for the winter months.
We made our way from our temporary parking spot at our friends, the Batty’s in Bellville, to parking at our home town church parking lot, while staying at our pastor’s families home.
About 10 days later we moved the truck and trailer (Charlie and Jacob “the Ark”) to a car lot near the Airport, then took a taxi to a hotel and then made our way to the airport the following morning.

The flight wasn’t too bad. The kids enjoyed being on a plane for the first time in their memory, as they had enough stuff to keep themselves occupied for the long journey over the ocean.
Upon arrival to Kauai, our final destination for this leg, we picked up our local rental, which was a beat up Corolla that was filthy but reliable. Our dwelling for the next 24 days was an apartment above a local plaza. It was quite nice and clean. Central enough for us to do day trips to any part of the island.

Being on the Hawaii islands is nothing new to us as we’ve had 4 trips here in the past, but this time it wasn’t supposed to be a vacation, it is supposed to be an attempt to see what living here would be like. Although we have very little illusion about being able to stay here permanently, we still thought it would be a great experience to see what the Hawaii-life would be like.
Perhaps it is an attempt to get so much Hawaii in our systems that we will desire it less than we do; A Hawaii overload!
This experiment proved difficult on our first stop of Kauai because it is our favourite island and our first time back in a while. Naturally, we just want to do everything and see everything like tourists. So much for trying to live like locals.

After arriving on our second island; Oahu, we promised ourselves that we would attempt local living here. Like Kauai, it may prove increasingly difficult. We always want to be out there sucking up the sights. We have a nicer local rental on this island but the apartment, although large and with a really nice view, is definitely well lived in and nothing like a hotel. This may help get us settled and feeling less and less like we are on vacation.

Cynthia and I have differing views on how we see our time in Hawaii so far. We have different goals and hopes for these 6 months as well. My thoughts are pretty scattered so far so I will refrain from spilling them out here or in my personal-thoughts section just yet.

One thing I will note is that a large amount of time in any place can turn out to be a bad thing. The more you immerse yourself in a place the more the vail lifted. This is what I suspect. Only time will tell if I’m right.
By “vail” I do not mean on the natural beauty of this place, because it’s truly overwhelming sometimes. What I mean by “vail” is the one over the ideas we have of it’s people, living here, and everyday life.
There is this cheesy line in the movie “The Beach”, where DiCaprio’s character realizes at the end of the movie that chasing a physical paradise is fleeting. He says: “Paradise isn’t a place, but how you feel for a moment in your life”.
When you’re on vacation, that is hard to render into truth, but give yourself enough time in a place, no matter how beautiful, and your problems will all rise to the surface, Once you experience pain, loss and trouble it can turn any paradise into Hell-on-Earth. But if you have everlasting peace and joy inside, then you can endure these things no matter where you reside. In my time here I must remember to pray for grown in that area of internal joy Christ provides me and think less about how my surroundings can fulfill me.

This is our place on Kauai. We enjoyed our time here and have moved onto Oahu for the month of December.


Cynthia's Thoughts

Have You Ever Heard of Freedom From Every Sort of Slavery

Listening to: Kolohe Kai – Paradise

I was listening to prayers being prayed over my family and myself for the next part of our journey. People who I love dearly were praying for God to bless our time, for God to reveal Himself to us, for God to help us grow closer as a family. That’s when the weight of these next six months really settled on me… My good, good Father has already blessed me with the opportunity to live in this place, to rub elbows with locals who have captured my heart, to explore the beauty of these islands that He created.

That night I realized that we have a chance to allow our six months in Hawai’i to be a flag in the ground kind of moment, we can use this time to call upon the Lord for wisdom and direction and ask for our hearts and eyes to be open to His plan for us here. I won’t have a schedule and I won’t have many responsibilities, both of which I can use as an excuse to not spend time with God.

On the first morning in our Airbnb rental, I was acutely aware that we’re standing on the precipice of the next phase of our journey—maybe even our lives. I was wondering what kind of work God has planned for us here… I was worrying if He even has work for us to do here. I was wondering what that work is going to look like… I was worrying if we would even hear Him as He called us to the works He has prepared in advance for us to do. I was wondering why God even allowed us to come here in the first place… I was worrying about wasting this time away for our own benefit, rather than using our time for the benefit of God’s kingdom.

I was sharing my thoughts with Luke and he mentioned that we could still be loving these islands, or we could be sick of them. We could still be loving the beautiful provision that God had for us, or we could be selfishly expecting another change.

I was reminded of the Israelites, who were rescued from slavery and led by Moses to their promised land. Their lack of faith led them on a long detour in the dessert, but God still fully provided for them and fully sustained them…

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.

Then people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

~ Exodus 16:4-5, 13b-17, 31, Numbers 11:4-6, 18-20

After they complained about wanting to die in a land in which they were enslaved, after they spoke about their delusional longings for the food they received while in slavery, God laid manna on their desert land every morning they needed to collect it. God provided and sustained them. He proved Himself to be all they needed while they waited entry to the promised land. But that wasn’t enough. They grew tired of God’s perfect provision and they wanted something different—they complained against their provider and sustainer for something different! God gave them something different, he gave them quail in such quantities that they would come to loathe what they thought they wanted. This made me think about our manna and our quail…

At the end of these six months, we could look back on our time in Hawaii as our manna or we could look at it as our quail. We could still be loving these islands, or we could be sick of them. We could still be loving the beautiful provision that God had for us, or we could be selfishly expecting another change.

Our feelings about these islands will be greatly impacted by what we choose to do here—which is where all of our struggle lies. We know we want to experience this place and take full advantage of God’s allowance for us to be here—the extraordinariness of this opportunity is not lost on us. We also know that we will only get the most out of our time here if we allow God to make our plans and allow Him to impress them upon our hearts.

I don’t know what God has planned here for us, but I do know that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” I have faith that God will allow us to accomplish something during our time here that will be fulfilling to our souls.

And I don’t want to see Hawai’i as my quail.

Cynthia's Thoughts

Then Sings my Soul

Listening to: Carrie Underwood – How Great Thou Art

As I was growing up, I rarely identified with people my age. I was always looking to the future, to this longing that I had, but could never put my finger on. That longing made me different, it made me think of my teenage friendships as fleeting, not something that I should hold on to. I felt as if I viewed life differently than all of my peers… I always felt ahead of them somehow. These feelings made me feel like I never quite fit in.

I can’t say that this is truth, but I can confidently suspect that God was present even in those years of unbelief—at work in my life, stirring up my heart to yearn for something greater than I whatever it was that I presently settled in—stirring up my heart to not quite fit in.

Luke's Thoughts

It Is Well…

Am I really that different?

This is the question I ask myself after each year passes, on my birthday. I look back at the promises I made to myself, to others and to God. Most people look in the mirror and are disappointed with their aging as years go by. I know I used to be a bit like that. But now instead I look into my journal and see if I’ve grown “older” in the person I am. If I am wiser, making better choices than I did the year previous. My disappoint does not come from growing “older” in that way, but by staying the same; by not changing and by not growing.

My biggest fear has become the slew of pages I write, filled with biblical truths about man and his separation from God, and what I must to strengthen that relationship again. Fear in writing what I know to be true but doing very little to follow it.

General Posts

Back at Belleville, Apartment “B”

Good day to you all.

We have returned to Bellville for the month of October after visiting my mom up on Manitoulin Island and after a quick stop into Brooklin.
My hopes up on the island were to get 5 solid weeks of relaxing, reflection and writing. I was hoping to take some creative photos for Instagram to rekindle that side of my brain a bit as well. As it turns out I did get to do all those things despite lending my efforts to my mothers building projects for almost 3 weeks.
It was good to see her. Our relationship has its challenges but love always prevails.