Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sister Macey Lane Smith
84-590 Kepue Street
Makaha, HI 96792
Transferred!                                                                                               February 1, 2016
The west side! 
It is so so seriously different from Kaneohe. 
Lots of Micronesian friends and locals and homeless people. 
The best sunsets probably ever.
This place is dusty and full of potential! 
I have found parts of myself all over this town. 
Walking along the worn out 2-lane road (the only one in town) as the sun starts to go down, surrounded by kids in State housing as they fed us fruit snacks with salty brown fingers,
walking into the small chapel on Sunday and sitting among about 60 faith-filled people, 
singing hymns with my companion. 
Such a tangible magic.
It's like I am picking up the pieces as I go. Nothing is ever random. Ever.

Saying goodbye to Sister Carlsen was kind of a drag. We were the best of friends! And the Kaneohe 1st ward. Swoon! Those people are deep down good. Especially Bishop. He serves humbly and diligently. I will miss the Ko'olaus and the rain. 

Maybe that is why it is so easy to love Makaha, because they are quite completely different. Parts of Makaha look like Pocatello... or maybe Ogden. I still am trying to figure it out! 

Both of us are new in the ward and it is not always easy to find your bearings... but my gosh. It is SO fun! We are always learning and laughing and seeing new things. We live with 2 other sisters so it's like one big, strung out sleep over most of the time. We have driven all over this place trying to meet the important people in the ward (leadership, investigators, members, e v e r y one) and we got kind of dizzy by the end of the 2nd day. We had big boxes of food that some of the sisters in the zone had dropped off after service at the food bank. I think we go just about every week and we don't even really grocery shop because we get so much food! We are talking like 25 boxes of fruit snacks... 

Earlier that day, the sisters had driven us around trying to orient us. They told us about this patch of trees along the highway. It is known as "the bush" and pallets line a pathway back into the trees. The sisters told us it was a community of homeless people. The stretch of trees cover a pretty big area. 

After a few appointments had fallen through and at that awkard time right before dinner, I was feeling pretty ineffective! I mean, it just comes with starting fresh. We HAVE to stumble around for a few days because neither of us know the place or the people. I just didn't want the sun to go down on us without having done something... good. Something that helped another person. So we grabbed the boxes stacked up by our kitchen and headed for the bush. 

The side entrance is next to the boat harbor, a big space of dirt and litter before you get to the dock. We parked, prayed, and put the boxes on our shoulders. As we got to the entrance, we met two men smoking. We asked where we should go. The boys told us to take it to Aunty Twinkles just inside the bush. As we walked back behind the trees, I was really pretty curious. 

As we got through the walkway of pallets and tarps and sticks piled up, we heard the radio playing reggae music. There was a make shift porch in front of a big tent. On the porch was (who we later found out was) Aunty Twinkles. Her daughter had just finished dying her hair and she was putting an old bread bag on her head as she was singing along the the radio. 4 or 5 granddaughters danced and played with a volleyball. As soon as they saw us coming, they smiled. The girls each took a little food and then Aunty said "bless you. You go on and see if any one else needs." 

Walking down the dirt path, I have never seen so much need. Some people seemed to expect us as we approached they took the boxes with a nod, some said they were fine, others cried. I still can't shake the look on a young Tongan mother's face as she took a bag of candy for her boys. She told us we were the most beautiful girls she had ever seen and gave us flowers for our hair. 

It is hard to explain the tragedy and triumph of this place. A million broken hymns were gathered together from all different places and situations. Many women who ran from abusive relationships, people who had addictions that made them forfeit everything they had, one man a successful business man who said he had become so sick with society that he had done all he could to leave it. All around me, I saw Christ. He was there. With these people, loving them though many didn't know it. Never before had I had the opportunity to walk some of the path that He may have, but standing amid that place with all those who had been so broken down, I felt Him.And I felt a need for Him. As we found our way out, tears filled my eyes. I looked back to see the young mother, who waved as she counted out candy for her boys.   

So many have told us, as we have prepared to come, to be careful, to watch out, to keep our belongings close to us. We pray for safety and protection. But I so look forward to this season of giving like I never have before. These people are starving for it. They walk the streets looking. And we have the answer. We have the end all be all to heal them. For this I am grateful. My heart is full. I feel Him.  


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