Saturday, January 12, 2013

Our First Week at YWAM Kona

 We made it!

Last Thursday, January 3rd, after about a 35 hour journey from Brazil, we made it here to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  For those of you who do not know why we are here, Felipe is doing a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) intense photography course for 3 months here at the YWAM Kona base.  Click here to read more about it!

First of all let me explain a little about where we are... We are living at a Youth With A Mission training base called University of the Nations Kona.  It really does have a university feel to it.  It is almost like I am living on a college campus again, just instead with my little family.

A fun family self-take!
Currently there are many short term missions training schools/courses running and lots of young people here.  This semester there are over 600 students enrolled, which is the most students YWAM Kona has ever received at one time.  There are also many YWAM missionaries staffing and serving so there are over 1,000 people here on campus daily.

  Many of the schools running are Discipleship Training Schools (DTS).  A DTS is a YWAM introductory school that is mandatory to complete if you want to be a long-term missionary with YWAM.  It is a school that teaches a variety of subjects and is an amazing time to just focus on your relationship with God.  There is a young guy from my home church (Chase Nimmo) here doing his DTS.  I was so happy to see him here! 

 The first few days were busy and kind of blurry for us, as we were tired from traveling.  We attended orientation meetings, shopped a bit at Walmart, explored the campus and were getting unpacked and settled in.  One day we even took a quick walk down to the ocean which is just a short distance from the campus.  We have yet to explore any more than this, as we have been busy here on the YWAM base and must do everything by walking.

 The first few days here the girls were super tired and fussy as they were adjusting to the 8 hour time difference.  Jessie had a few major crying fits due to being overtired, but I am happy to report that now we have all adjusted really well. It took a few days, but now the girls are on a better sleep schedule.

Here are a few highlights from our first week here!

We enjoyed a time of corporate worship with everyone here at YWAM Kona.  Such a beautiful time of us all coming together and just focusing on one thing - worshiping GOD for WHO He is.  I loved this time and I am looking forward to our Monday morning worship sessions...  I am glad I can participate in this and we can go to worship as a family!

I can just imagine that heaven will be like this.  Many different nations joining together to worship the Lord!

 On Thursday night we also went to the YWAM base service.  This week the founder of Youth With A Mission, Loren Cunningham, shared.  It is always a blessing and honor to hear him speak. His life has profoundly impacted many people, including mine.  I am thankful for Loren's obedience and commitment to the Lord and to sharing the gospel.

At our base back in YWAM Belo Horizonte we translate all our services from Portuguese into English.  Here at YWAM Kona there is a large Korean population so all of the services are translated into Korean.

The School of Photography

Felipe had class every day of the week.  There are a total of 16 students in the YWAM School of Photography.  Felipe participates in a daily intercession time with his class from 8:00-9:00, and then class time runs from 9:00-11:30 and also from about 12:45-3:00 daily.

 After class, Felipe has to spend time doing photography assignments which often include shooting photos and completing other photography related tasks.  Felipe took this shot on Thursday at sunset as he was working on a photo assignment for his class.  Isn't it beautiful?

Felipe is already enjoying the challenges given to him. Don't we all grow through challenges?  It is the challenges that push and drive us to rise up, grow and improve.  I am excited to see how Felipe will grow and develop even more as a photographer during the next 3 months.

 While Felipe is in class, I spend lots of time with my girls!

Sophia has literally spent hours every day playing outside in the park!

 She plays hard and gets very dirty, and this is helping her to sleep extremely well at night. She loves playing outside with the kids, but what she does not love is that there are LOTS of people everywhere we go.  Sophia can be painfully shy at times and does not like large crowds, so this will take some getting used to on her part.  Please pray for her.   

On the other hand, Jessie is much different and is enjoying all the people.  It is interesting to see how different Sophia and Jessie are already!  Jessie is definitely a people person giving everyone smiles, showing off her cute dimples.  She is also enjoying playing on her colorful new play mat and having tummy time.

  I just have to add that we got this at Walmart for just $20. WOW!  In Brazil this would cost at least 150 to 200 Reais which is $75 to $100.  I am enjoying the low prices here in the USA already.  You would be surprised, but everything is much more pricey in Brazil.

The girls and I have spent a lot of time in our cozy room as well.  I feel SO blessed by our living quarters.  It is much bigger and nicer than I ever could have imagined.  We can even see the ocean (in the distance) from our windows.

  As you can see in this photo there is an upstairs, which is a cute little loft area made specifically for children.  Sophia is scared to stay up there by herself and prefers to be downstairs with mommy and daddy, so we are using the loft as a storage space.

This week I also had the privilege of going to a Mommy's group (childcare provided) where I heard Darlene Cunningham speak about having character and being a mom.

 Darlene and her husband Loren (who spoke at the base service) started Youth With A Mission a little over 50 years ago.  YWAM has grown immensely over the years, with missions work occurring in many nations all over the world.  The Mommy group was an amazing morning and I was really blessed just to hear Darlene's great wisdom as an experienced mother and long-term missionary.

As you have probably heard, it is absolutely beautiful here in Hawaii. The weather is much like Brazil's weather so it was an easy adjustment climate-wise for us.  I heard someone say this week that Hawaii truly is a precious jewel in the world, with an abundance of natural beauty.    I have to agree. I have already seen such interesting and intriguing plants and birds.  Hopefully soon we can share the Hawaiian beauty through our photos on our blog.

A shot I took of a Hawaiian flower on a tree right outside our bedroom door.

Again we want to say thank you or MAHALO (which is thank you in Hawaiian) for all who have helped make it possible for us to be here at YWAM Kona.  Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and financial support and partnership with us.  We couldn't have made it here without your support.  We are very grateful and excited about all God will be doing during this special season here.


1 comment:

  1. Laura and Felipe,
    We are so glad you are enjoying your time in Hawaii! We can't wait to see more pictures! Learn lots, have fun, and know you are always in our prayers!
    Becky and Shawn