Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reflecting on the NEW as I relax in my new home :) #oneword365 update

My #oneword365 for 2012 is NEW. 

13 days before the end of the year, I'm sitting here at our NEW place that we just moved in to, staring at our NEW tree. 

A lot of "NEW" happened this year.

New last name.
New role as a wife.
New baby on the way.
New church family.
New job.
New friends.
New trials and challenges.
New lessons learned.
New reality.
New home.

Re-NEWed faith. To believe for even greater things for the coming year. Because that's how my God rolls. His children go from faith to faith, strength to strength and glory to glory. 

For the first time in a year, Hawaii finally feels like home to me. Yes, it is now my home. I said new reality, because at this time last year, I was planning my wedding (and while that made me happy) I was sad and heartbroken coz I was extremely homesick and missed my family and friends. I could not bear the thought that my one year missionary trip that i originally planned wasn't happening. Instead, i knew in my heart it was a goodbye to my family and friends in LA. My husband says I was a basket case last year. LOL! In hindsight, I understand now why God allowed for me to go through a season of loneliness. Because I would've never clung to my husband the way I was supposed to had I been in the comfort of a familiar environment.

With everything else that happened this year... From attending school of ministry, to having closure and saying goodbye to LA and being able to have a wedding there to celebrate with my family and friends, to meeting John's family and making them my own, to moving here to help a small church and meeting my husband and new friends there, but then having to come to terms that the job that was offered to me was not working out, and undergoing the process of meeting different people from different churches in the island and finding a new spiritual family, the journey it took only made my faith muscles stronger because God came through, even when there were loops and turns that took us by surprise. I now belong and work in a healthy church and I'm surrounded by new and old friends as well as our wonderful ministry partners who continue to love and support me and my family and the dreams God has put in our hearts. Aaaand we are now living worry free as we received our permanent legal status here in America and no longer waiting on a visa process to work.

New. We walked into a beginning of a new season this year. A season of fulfilled promises and surprises along the way. A new season i am not used to because it's been barren and hard these past few years and i was so used to a hard life and the season of waiting for soooo long while living in a poverty mentality. This year i had to learn to let go of the old (old thought patterns & ways of thinking, relationships, lifestyles, location,) and embrace the new... A new season of fruitfulness and abundance. And now my heart is being stretched to believe for even greater and NEWer things.

And we did NEW together a family.  John got to experience the new season of being a husband and a dad, belonging to a new church and making new friends, and leading worship with a new team. Christian got to experience new by studying a new homeschool curriculum and making new friends and building relationships. Even Bambam got to experience new by having his eye removed coz of glaucoma. He now lives without constant eye pain. Aaaaaand this new life that God is living in the inside of me.... she is learning new things as well, like kicking and squirming and new karate moves on a daily basis.... and she is also learning how much she is loved by her family. Plus we've never had so many PINK things as we have now. That's all NEW to us!

Till the end, God is showing how faithful He really is to continue to bring in the #new for 2012. And there's still 13 days left. :)

As I sit in our new home, I offer a prayer of thanksgiving and worship to a God who proves Himself to be faithful time and time again. I also say a prayer of thanksgiving to those who prayed, believed, encouraged, supported and walked with us this past year. 

He's already revealed my my #oneword for 2013 :) I'm quite excited because it only means new adventures and new chapters to be written in this wonderful book of life that I am blessed to live. 

Merry Christmas to YOU and your loved ones and we pray you have a happy NEW year filled with God's peace and joy! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thank you @JenniCatron! On winning and pros & cons of living in Hawaii

Thank you @JenniCatron :) I (and the rest of the @gracehonoluluHI team) are grateful for the 2012 Willowcreek Global Leadership Summit DVD's. (received it just in time for my bday!) We already watched one of the videos for our staff meeting and we loved it! I cannot wait to watch more!

There are perks that come with living in this state the rest of the world calls paradise The lovely weather... the background ukelele song you hear everywhere you go, coconut water and mai tai's served to you in every corner and constantly being surrounded by beautiful beaches. 

Okay... Soooo i might have stretched the truth a little about the ukelele song and the coconut/Mai tai's. People here actually work (sometimes 2-3 jobs coz it's really expensive to live out here) and do chores and get stuck in traffic. We are also surrounded by water. Lots and lots of water. Too much water - in fact a couple of thousand of miles away from the mainland. 

That being the case, we don't have a lot of conferences & leadership seminars for churches here in Hawaii. Smaller churches here often have to rely on the bigger mega-churches that can afford to bring in speakers and their teams (and pay for their hotels & food). We have about 2-3 big events a year but that's about it.

Which drives me absolutely crazy since I lived in LA and everything from leadership seminars to the catalyst conferences to the dream center to visiting saddle back or cornerstone or oasis, etc. etc. etc was available to attend and visit all year round. And you can hear these pastors and preachers for FREE!

In hawaii, If we wanted to join a conference in the mainland....We have to pay a lot of money to fly out anywhere. Coz the airlines have monopolized the fact that we are stuck in an island and that we have no choice but to pay crazy airline fees or stay stuck here and watch conferences online or read and live vicariously through whoever is livetweeting on our twitter feed. That doesn't even include our hotel / food / travel expenses.

So living out here does have repercussions.... BUT the one major perk i have seen this past year living as a missionary out here is...because of the limited resources we have, the local churches here rely on building with other local churches in the island(s) so that we can learn from each other. I've never seen this happen in any part of the United States before. In fact, i've never seen it anywhere. Senior Pastors and leaders from different congregations and denominations actually meet together and share and help each other instead of tearing each other down. It's quite amazing and beautiful to see. There is a unique kind of unity within churches that I've never seen or heard of. And I'm glad I God has allowed me, not only to witness it, but be a part of the network of the body of believers in these islands. I guess isolation has its perks ;)

Who would've thought that one of the ways to actually see and experience a united bride/church means having to fly out as a missionary and live in paradise. :)