Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catching the Wave

Beach bum for sure!

Jonathan enjoys a day at the beach.

Just another day in Kailua.

Daniel rides a wave! Yes, that's Daniel surfing for the first time. He had about a 1 hour lesson with a dear friend and was taking to the waves soon after. Our friend, said that she has never seen any one learn to surf so quickly. "Mom, it happened," said Daniel, "I fell in love with Hawai'i today!" "Finally!" said I.
Daniel has never been fond of change and it would seem that his fondness for Hawai'i was doomed at the start. When we were in the early days of our plans to move to Hawai'i, I called a moving company to find out the approximate cost. When they called me back, Daniel, who had no idea of our discussions with Trinity, answered the phone. "Hello, I'd like to speak to your mom about your upcoming move to Hawai'i." "Uh, Mom...what is he talking about?" Not exactly the way we had planned to share with him about the possibility of completely uprooting his home, church and school...Nontheless, that's how it happened. On our way here, the journey was so exciting: driving across the country, finding our new house, living in endless summer. But then we settled in and life became routinely unfamiliar. To be honest, Daniel was mad. He believed that his parents had made a right and brave decision to follow the Lord's lead to a new place, but he wanted to be in his old place. And to make things worse, Maryland got loaded with the biggest snowfalls in history...and we weren't there. How could I help Daniel to see that life was bigger than our personal peace and comfort and snowfall?
I hope you will believe me when I say that we didn't move to Hawai'i to live a life of ease and luxury. To live in Hawai'i, (unless your name begins with O as in Oprah or Obama) means you will live with less and what you get will be harder to find. Everything that is shipped here (which is everything) has an added cost factored in and when they run out, that's it. The next ship is next month. Most things are at least 30% more expensive. It has, afterall traveled to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. To live in Hawai'i means that your parents will have to work hard to keep you fed and clothed. For us to live here means that for the first time ever in our lives, both Dave and I are working full-time. To move to Hawai'i means that you will be lonely. The new friends will be wonderful, but everyone you have known before will always be far away. To move to Hawai'i means that you will need to learn a new culture and a new language. To be a new person in Hawai'i means that everyone will be watching you. Now, imagine all of that from a 14 year old boy's (er...young man's ) perspective and you might be able to understand what Daniel has been going through.

So I asked Daniel to join me for a conference. It was really more like a lunch-ference (and boy was the free food good!). The conference was called One Day for China. China? you say? Why are you interested in China? Well, it's like this. America, land that I love, is a post-Christian nation. The influence that the church in America once had has been lost. It may be regained but essentially, we have gone the way of our European ancestors in giving merely a cultural nod to the church. In China, however, the church is booming. There are currently more Christians in China than in the U.S. and they represent only a small portion of the entire nation, and continent. What's more, they are multiplying, not diminishing as in the U.S. The church in China is experiencing the exciting and miraculous kinds of growth that was first seen in the early church. Persecution is upon them and they are prevailing. As is consistent with the early growth of the church in Europe, the life changing Gospel is spreading like wildfire because of the passionate faith of the church. In China, and in many places in Asia, the church is just getting started. Imagine what would happen if there were advisors to that church who could give them warnings, teach them about mistakes that the church has made in the past and further their growth and effectiveness. There are churches in Korea, too...and schools. In fact, sitting at our very table that afternoon was a couple who had heard of classical education and was interested in using some principles as they form a school for South Korean children. They visited our school the next day and gleaned thoughts for their upcoming school year. They asked me why we moved to Hawai'i. "Well," I said, " It seems to us that there are schools in Asia that are going to need help in getting started and training their teachers and Hawai'i is a lot closer than the mainland. We want to be a part of what God is doing in Asia." They smiled a knowing smile and explained more about their work in Korea. Daniel's eyes were opened that day. He realized that while church was a comfortable building and a worship service to most Americans, it was far more to these brothers and sisters in Asia. When we left the conference, he said, "Okay, I get it. I'm glad we're here." Me too.