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pain, grief, heartache...and a message of HOPE from Hawaii...
we had such an INCREDIBLE week in Hawaii.
you wouldn't know it from the title, would you?
but i had to do something to get you to
READ ALL THE WAY TO THE END...
it was a beautiful Easter morning...
Easter sunrise service at Waimea Bay Beach,
put on by the North Shore Christian Fellowship.
what a blessing to see that big tent on the beach,
on a beautiful Easter morning,
filled up with people of all ages and races. Aloha i ke Akua = Loving God
Aloha i kekahi i kekahi = Loving One Another
greetings of "Aloha...Happy Easter" and big smiles.
a greeting by the youth pastor, who informed us there was
an Easter breakfast after the service,
followed by a beach baptism...
followed by a paddle out to catch a few waves.
(hey...this IS the surfing capital of the world...
AND, the surfing ministry here has reached many over the years so...:)
the minister stepping up to share the Easter message,
one of HOPE.
because with the Resurrection, we have hope...
and there comes a time in all of our lives
when we realize our Faith...and Hope...are what we need.
ALL we need.
in fact, all we HAVE.
when i say this man spoke from experience,
i really mean it!
he wanted to thank the people of the church for their prayer, support and for lifting him up when he needed it most over the past year.
he wanted to speak of HOPE, FAITH and God's LOVE.
he went on to tell us what a year it had been.
ever since last May/June...
you've probably heard the story.
while this man of God was spending time in California
attending a minister's conference,
he received a phone call from back home in Hawaii.
actually, the call came while he was at Disney Land with his wife and grandchildren.
there he was, in the "happiest place on earth",
when he got the call.
tell me, what is the WORST phone call you can think of getting?
is it that someone you love passed away?
i experienced that this past year and let me tell you,
it's plenty PAINFUL.
is it that your child has been in a car accident?
or is it that call saying the lump you found is cancer?
all of the above are pretty much the worst calls we can think of getting,
i would bet.
but this man received one that might have us all beat.
you see, his call included
death, senselessness, hopelessness, PAIN and the loss of a child.
the loss of a child as he knew it.
last May in Honolulu,
there was a 28 year old man who went on a random
shooting spree for 17 minutes,
injuring two and killing one.
causing PAIN to MANY...
including this pastor,
who was told that the shooter was his son.
and the woman he randomly shot and killed,
in front of her 16 year old daughter...
was also a much-loved mother of TEN.
he rammed cars, shot at police officers...
for no reason.
in addition to grieving for family members,
i've often wondered how a parent of one of the criminals must feel.
what they think...
what they must go through.
because he also lost a son.
of course, the news reports ALL over the world usually
start with the shooter's name, age and the fact that he is the son of a local Pastor.
apparently, he was a troubled youth growing up.
he had been battling drugs and his parents were so hopeful.
FINALLY, at the age of 28,
their beautiful boy showed signs of settling down,
completing a treatment program.
getting his life together.
until the phone call.
until they knew he had taken the lives of innocent, lovely people...
and he would pay dearly.
he SHOULD pay dearly.
that crazy guy, wandering down the freeway...
in beautiful Hawaii, of all places,
randomly shooting a gun,
was somebody's little boy.
we sat there under that tent on the beach,
this was NOT the Easter message we were accustomed to hearing.
but it was by far the most powerful message we heard.
because on Easter Sunday, he spoke of hope.
the hope we all have because Jesus died on the cross and rose again,
to give us hope...and life.
some of the reports you may have read,
( and may soon hear, since the trial finally begins on June 12)
may have you thinking that his family wants him to be free of all guilt.
we don't always know the real story...or what attorneys plan for a client.
but let me tell you, that is not the case.
this man and his wife raised their children to know and love God.
the verse he always used to encourage his children was Jeremiah 29:11,
which happens to be a favorite verse in our home, too.
but as this minister said, the "plans" God has for his son now include jail...
most likely for the rest of his earthly life.
and he did not make excuses...or shy away from any part of the story.
after the shootings, after hearing it was his son,
he thought of the woman his son killed, and her beautiful BIG family.
and he reached out to them and other crime victims.
the church has had fundraisers to give money to the family.
there has been a lot of criticism to come their way, but they stay strong.
not even the family want to excuse the horrible things he did.
they have hope that God will use him in some way.
it all comes down to hope, doesn't it?
and they do love their son...but not what he did.
never what he did.
he asked us to please continue to pray for them,
all of them,
especially as the trial starts.
particularly for the woman's family, who have to relive this horror.
i'm not sure what angle the press/ courts/attorneys will take.
maybe you will hear a completely different story.
but this is one man's story,
shared with us in a church service on the beach,
Easter Sunday morning.
i wish y'all could have been there.
about 30 people out of the few hundred who were there,
walked down the aisle to receive Christ that morning.
many would be baptized in the waters of the Pacific later that day.
it was something to see...to be a part of.
a real blessing!
even though i am not a writer, not a theology student...
i hope that by reading this, maybe you were blessed as we were...
or that no matter what you are going through...you know that there is HOPE.
please forgive me if there are little inaccuracies here and there.
i truly didn't intend that.
i just wanted to begin telling you about our little trip to Hawaii.
how a one week trip, with nothing special planned,
turned out to be one of the best, if not THE best, trips we have ever taken.