I have been in Hawaii for a week. Can you believe it?! I woke up IN Hawaii this morning. And I am going to KEEP doing it for a while.
I have been assigned to serve in the Kaneohe 1st Ward! It is on Oahu. It is the rainier side (which makes it the cooler side! and the frizzier side...) and my companion's name is Sister Sorao! She is from the Phillipines and companions don't come any sweeter or any spicier! She may only come up to my elbow but she is a spark plug for sure! And she cooks the BEST food. So I am destined to come back as big as a barn!
Okay. The flight TO Honolulu seemed eternal. WAS eternal. Flying over the city was so worth the ride though. For a while you can't really distinguish the land from the sea. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you see the light blue beach and palm trees, big houses, small houses, a LOT of houses. It is all so green! I remember asking the missionaries in GA what the biggest adjustment was and they would always say "all the trees. It's so green here!" and I remember thinking that was weird. I also remember thinking that I CAME from a green place. Then I got here. Y'all there are flowers EVERYWHERE. Palm trees and bushes. Big fat leaves. It all just comes up without permission from anyone and it's so beautiful that no one has the heart to cut it down.
We stayed with the mission president in his home. It was a DREAM. Made some really good friends. Then I opened my "Christmas Letter" and found out I would be in Kaneohe! So happy!
I met Sister Soriao the next morning. She can't drive so she handed me the keys which I thought would be scary, but the fastest speed limit on the island is 45 and if you need to switch lanes, you just throw a shaka out the window and people let you over. Seriously!
We live above a member, Auntie Kao, and when we got here the apartment had been trashed by some previous missionaries. So we spent a while cleaning it all up. There isn't any air conditioning but with windows all around and the breeze, it's not so bad. Sister Soriao is teaching me how to play Ukulele.
We invited someone to church yesterday and they CAME! There are a lot of less actives here in Kaneohe. The ward was the first in this area so there are LOTS of Kapunas and they don't hesitate to sign up to feed us. The days here seem long. I was thinking about it, laying in bed the other night, everything around us feels so temporary. Especially here. our car ,our home, people move in and out all the time, we don't have many earthly possessions. But I KNOW the work that we do is eternal. The people we meet are people we can never forget. God is so good. To me. To others. I am grateful for this time to focus in on the one thing that will last forever. And that is my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My strength in communicating with the Spirit growing. This is all I need. All anyone needs! I am so blessed to be here!
So after the long days of knocking on doors and getting no answers, after walking and talking and working, I get to come home and open all the windows, hear Sister Soriao play hymns on the Ukulele, I feel the wind and I feel God's love. Really feel it. And as I hear everything going on around me, the warm and thick air, the neighbor kids playing, see the sun going down, I know that this is my place. That I am working the hardest I can. There is NO better feeling. I fall into bed with the sweetest peace and I rest in knowing that He hears me.
I love you all!