I cannot say enough good things about my experiences this past summer. It has been a whirlwind!
Leaving Hawaii is definitely not something I’m looking forward to, but I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me. The mission field is not limited to overseas locations. People need Jesus everywhere you go, and I look forward to continuing to share His love back home in Georgia, or wherever I am called.
I’m sitting here at my computer in the church office, attempting to summarize my entire Hawaiian experience into a few short pages, knowing that by the time this is published, I’ll be back home in Georgia.
I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to spend my summer serving as the children’s ministry intern at First Baptist Church of Pearl City. A lot of people have asked how exactly I ended up here, so please allow me to explain to you how the Lord worked this out for me.
Last summer, in July of 2014, I filled out a student missionary application for the North American Mission Board. For more than six months I waited to hear back. I had no idea where I would be sent or what I would be doing, but tried to focus on praying instead of constantly wondering, “Why is this taking SO long?”
In January of 2015, I attended a church service and small group meeting for college freshmen with some friends for the very first time. During the small group session, our leaders asked us to each take turns sitting in the middle while the other girls circled around us and prayed aloud. My immediate reaction was a sense of panic due to the fact that I only knew two people there. How was I supposed to pray for all of these people I had just met? My initial fears dissipated as soon as the prayers began and I heard these girls pouring out their hearts and praising the Lord on each other’s behalf. When my turn came, I sat and listened as total strangers began speaking blessings over my life and future. I was completely overwhelmed with a sense of peace.
The very next day after that small group session, I received my North American Mission Board assignment email asking me to choose my top 3 locations from a list, with no guarantees that I would end up in any of those places. After six long months of anxiously waiting, it took only 20 minutes to receive confirmation of placement to my number one location choice. HAWAII. I think God was trying to teach me a lesson about patience and His perfect timing because things unfolded way better than I could have possibly imagined.
The next few days were a blur of celebratory dancing around my dorm room and excited announcement phone calls to my family members. I continued to go to that same church service and small group every week and made some great new friends along the way. Prior to leaving for the trip, my parents and I were able to meet with Pastor Sterling Lee from First Baptist Church of Pearl City while he was in Georgia for a conference. His kindness and reassuring words quickly put my family at ease about my new job that would be over 4,000 miles away from home. The rest of the school year drew to a close very quickly. Before I knew it, it was May 23rd and I was in the Atlanta airport boarding a plane by myself for the first time, ready to jet off to a new and exciting place for 10 weeks!
And now, here I am in Hawaii, trying not to think about the fact that I only have two weeks remaining. My experience has been incredible and the people I’ve met have shown me so much love and kindness. I’ve been primarily working in the children’s ministry, helping to coordinate Vacation Bible School and plan weekly events for children and church families. Just as I invest my time into working for the church, the church has invested in me and my spiritual walk with Christ through weekly Bible studies, Sunday school, and services. My job here honestly doesn’t feel like work because I love getting to spend time with the people I serve.
The college ministry has been another huge blessing during my time in Hawaii. Before coming here, I was concerned that I might not be able to interact with many people my own age. I should have known that God would generously provide! Not only have I been able to spend time with the college students and recent graduates that attend First Baptist Church, but through the missionary training during my first week in town, I also met multiple other interns serving on the island that I’ve spent time with throughout the summer. These friendships are such an answer to prayer, and something that I am so thankful for.
I’m so grateful for the time I’ve spent here and the people I’ve met. Thank you all for welcoming me with open arms and making me feel like part of your families. Hawaii and the First Baptist Church of Pearl City will forever have a special place in my heart.