The past few days we have had numerous reminders of the unique and wonderful Providence of God.
Over the past two days we had a chance to get together twice (and then a chance encounter at Costco to boot!) with our friend Dr. Sharon. She lives here in Kauai. She had been Asian Access staff before I was – for many years I had heard about her and seen her picture but we had never met.
Here is part of an email that she sent to us today:
Spent time this morning thanking God for you and your family and the incredible way that the Lord has allowed us to partner. For years, I had been hearing your name from Teri, Alene, Mary Jo, etc. Always with the same incredulous exclamation, “What??? You don’t know [each other]?”
So, I started to pray for the chance to meet you…. And, then, while scouting a project in Okinawa, the Lord allowed us to cross paths for a couple of hours. Oh, the incredible goodness of our Beloved. The Okinawa project never worked out, but I believe that our meeting was a big reason for His sending me just at that moment….
And, now, as this “new day” is dawning on Japan, as the Harvest is whiter than ever, I can’t believe how the Lord has called GoHawaii to join the Takamotos in HIS fields. I stand amazed at such a God who weaves our hopes, answers prayers, and satisfies our longings.
Sharon heads up a non-profit organization that helps get relief and short-term workers to needy places. She is an M.D., but works part-time at her “real” job so she can spend a large part of her year serving overseas.
When the tsunami/erathquake happened, Sharon began praying about how God wanted her to be involved. She contacted us, and in July she brought a counseling team over to work with us and Be One. One more before that, a friend of hers who had come several years ago to Sanda came and spent several weeks with Eric and others up in Ishinomaki. Randy then brought a team from Kauai in September — Pastor Tom, his family, and four others from Breath of Life church here. Pastor Tom was so moved by the experience that he got on the Christian radio and made a plea for all the pastors across Hawaii to bring teams to Ishinomaki and partner with Be One. In December, he brought back a team of five guys, who went up with Eric and our Sanda friend George and volunteered together. We met with this last night, and briefly tonight- they are on fire and hoping to bring another team soon!
Another couple who we met through Dr. Sharon, Tim and Yukie, just spent two weeks up in Ishinomaki in December. They brought another friend, Russ. I talked with her tonight. She said, “I feel like God has made me just for this!” They are all planning to return in April; as well as hoping to raise support through their local town of Hilo to help provide playground equipment in Ishinomaki neighborhoods. In the meantime, another small team of contractors/carpenters is hoping to go up in the next month or two to help with some building projects still remaining on the Be One home.
Tonight, we had dinner with another group of new friends – contacts of Dr. Sharon’s as well. This newly-formed Reached Church, led by Jerry Terui, is planning to send a team of families and individuals of 12-15 members in late May, also being joined by Randy’s wife Karen.
In addition to words of encouragement, Sharon passed on to us an amazing gift – a check for $7000, given sacrificially to help our relief efforts in Japan. Blown away!
It has been wonderful to see how God has created such wonderful partnerships with old and new friends in Hawaii. Four teams and another individual visit so far; five to seven more in planning stages. God does weave our paths and prepare our steps in such unexpected and beautiful ways! We never know what God can do with a few hours’ meeting that may feel, at the time, not very fruitful.