“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions were their own, but they shared everything they had.”
It’s been awhile. I know. I’ve started writing 3 or 4 times, but felt words insufficient for what I needed to say. Many things have happened since the last time I posted an update of our faith journey. Many, many mountain tops. A few valleys too. Much to say about all that, but God has been faithful. A house sold, a car sold, a going away party, extravagant generosity of friends. Our family, humbled by the outpouring of love from our brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve wanted to share all of this, but every time I sat down to write, it felt like it wasn’t time to share. Until now.
I’m sitting on a futon couch in a two bedroom home that sits halfway between the mountains and the ocean on the island on Oahu. Small, even by Hawaii standards, this little apartment is nestled down a side street just a few blocks away from the bustling vacation headquarters of Waikiki. With the verdantly green Ko’olau Mountains a few miles in one direction and the clear blue waters of the Pacific ocean equally distant the other way, this cozy home is ideally located right in the heart of Honolulu. Our friends, Keali’i and Juanita (names have been changed, as they wish to remain anonymous), live here with their two children.
Before flying over to Kauai, we knew we would need to spend a few days on Oahu to ship some goods over to Kauai and to attempt to find a car to purchase. As you could imagine, finding an affordable place to stay on one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world is no easy task. After scouring travel websites and reading page after page of craigslist ads, we were feeling pretty defeated in the whole “where are we gonna stay” conundrum. A couple weeks before we were set to leave North Carolina, we had a random meeting at church one Sunday with a man visiting his daughter. The visitor was an army chaplain who was stationed on Oahu. We “coincidentally” sat beside each other at Sunday morning service and upon hearing our story, he offered us the use of his home and car while we were on Oahu. We were, of course, absolutely blown away by this strangers generosity and extravagant offer. Unfortunately, a handful of events conspired and at the last minute, he regrettably informed us that we wouldn’t be able to use his home and car as planned. Disappointed and stuck in a position of really needing a place to stay, we started praying that God would somehow provide a place for us to stay on Oahu.
On Sunday, January 25th, we boarded a military plane headed from Virginia Beach, VA to Long Beach, CA. Arriving in California, we spent a couple days in SoCal meeting with friends and trying to help the kids adjust to the time change. The night before we were slated to fly to Oahu, I received a Facebook message from my friend Juanita asking if we had found a place to say. I told her, no, that we hadn’t and within moments she replied offering us a place to stay at their home. Thankful and excited at the prospect of spending a few days with a sweet friend and her family, we accepted the offer and jumped on board a plane the next morning. Arriving on Oahu after a 6 hour flight we secured a rental car and drove the 20 minutes to our friends house.
After squeezing our rental van into a parking space that allowed us barely enough room to open the sliding van doors, I unlocked the door to the grey cinderblock built bottom floor apartment; one of eight tenements packed into a tiny city building. Opening the door, I felt my eyes tear up. Somehow, within the 500 square feet that this family of four shared, were two bedrooms, one bathroom, a tiny kitchen and a small living room. The sacrifice this family was making to allow our family of five to crowd this tiny home for the week hit me like a ton of bricks and I started weeping in thanksgiving. If anybody had legitimate reason to graciously decline our request for housing, they had reason. Four people living in 500 square feet would be hard enough, but to allow five more in……I was just floored. In offering to let us stay for as long as we needed, they had agreed to let their children sleep in their room and to give up their space and privacy to help us in our time of need.
The last 3 days we have spent living in this little crowded home have been absolutely delightful. Hearing Keali’i and Juanita’s passion for sharing the gospel, living simply, and being a light in the community they are in has been a refreshing spring of encouragement. Seeing the way they take the command in Acts 4:32 literally has challenged and convicted us. I am so thankful that God brought us to this tiny home this week so we could be reminded of what it looks like to be the kind of people who daily live in light of the gospel.
This afternoon, we will board a plane for our final flight to Kauai. I don’t know yet where we will live, what we will drive, or how we are going to get settled in our new home. Amidst all the unknowns, though, one thing remains. God is good. He has been faithful through this journey in ways that have left us astounded and amazed at His goodness and provision. I can’t wait to see how He continues to pave the way for us and can’t wait to praise His name for being our all-knowing, all-sufficent Father!