Embracing the Spirit’s Call

28 12 2012

A day care for the elderly is now an expression of compassion for the Makiki Congregation.

BY MOANA S. FAANA, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

About five years ago we met Reiko Hayashi from Japan. Her mission was to find a place for an organization called Sakura House to open a day care for elderly people in Honolulu, Hawaii.

We met her through one of our church members. She visited our Makiki Congregation in Honolulu, saw potential, and immediately asked if her group could use our social hall for day care on weekdays. We met with her several times. She brought studies that showed the area was a prime location that desperately needed this service.

We shared the idea with members, who voiced many concerns. Like many congregations, we value the freedom of using our property. But other members expressed serious concerns about our stewardship. In 2009 a large majority decided to allow Reiko’s group to use our property.

It was a challenging moment because it meant not only major physical renovations, but a major spiritual renovation. Through the process of sharing concerns and hopes, the congregation recognized the call to share its resources and refocus its mission.

This difficult and time-consuming process allowed the Spirit to move and shake us into being a people responding to a call.

Of course, at the time the Mission Initiatives hadn’t been expressed. So when President Steve Veazey shared them in April 2011, we felt a quiet and affirming Spirit—a Spirit that told us we always had been called to Pursue Peace on Earth.

It was a humble moment of recognizing that our mission has always been about building compassionate relationships and creating sacred spaces to make life better for the burdened. It also was a moment that showed God’s Spirit moves through many lives to build sacred relationships.

During the opening celebration, it was clear that two Initiatives—Pursue Peace on Earth and Abolish Poverty, End Suffering—were in line with one another. And as we realized that, we also could Experience Congregations in Mission.

We truly are a community of Christ when we look to Jesus’ mission to shape our mission.



One response

28 12 2012
Marvin Kleinau

Reading this message has stirred some thinking at this joyous time of year.,
It is “people” that give meaning to life., Not plans, or edicts, or wealth, but the actions of people. And frequently those actions are so unheralded we hardly notice them. For thirty five years I observed the work of Olen Henson, many years an evangelist, as he engaged in a ministry so profound I had to ask him to tell me about his motives and his outcomes. He surprised me by saying, “pick me up tomorrow at 8am.,” That was the first of many days that I picked up Olen and traveled with him as he ministered. Olen did not wait for folks to come to him for help. He went to them because, as he said, “I know every one needs help.” I saw him press money into the hand of a high school aged girl taking care of her bed ridden mother. I saw him write notes on the back of a blank check and stick it in the door when no one was at home. I saw his list of twenty people waiting in line for a blessing. I watched him hand over the keys to his car so a man he hardly knew could drive to a city 150 miles away and appear in court. I followed him into the home of girl confined to bed and home for for years following an accident. I watched as her face lit up with recognition as Olen hugged her and in a few words gave her dignity and endorsed her faith. I stood by his bed with some other folks, as he approached his final days. His words to use were typical. “Will you let me pray for you.” The lesson was so clear even a newly ordained evangelist could not miss it. “Touch the lives of people with the one gift you have—your concern for their well being.” Until his final hours, the day did not pass without Olen Henson touching the life of someone. For those who observed him in action over the years, the word “servant” took on a very special meaning.

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