Aloha from Kona!
I know a lot of you guys keep up with me on Facebook and my blog, where I try to put up pretty detailed regular updates. But for those of you that don’t, I thought I’d send a quick update. We are now on Week 11 out of 12 of our “lecture phase.” That means we do our first full performance in a week, and leave for Japan 12 days. (On June 29th!) Life is super busy here, with lectures in the morning and rehearsals in the afternoon and sometimes as late as nine at night. Sometimes it’s stressful, but we’re all learning how to be flexible and lean on God.
We’re all getting geared up and really excited for our trip. The show is coming together; we started rehearsing on stage yesterday. We’ve been learning lots about South Korea: (our school is bi-lingual and about a third of our students and leaders are Koreans!) So far all the Korean food we’ve had has been delicious; I’m really looking forward to that! Yesterday a guy who had just returned from Japan came and shared some videos with us. We’ve been invited to perform in a refugee camp on the edge of the tsunami-devastated area. It’s going to be really heart-breaking to see all those ruined homes. God has really been softening my heart and teaching me to care more about things outside my own little world.
A couple weeks ago we went to Hilo, the town on the other side of the Island. We spent the weekend there in a church, performed our show twice and had some really great bonding time. We got to hang out with people and just share with them after our shows. It was a great taste of what it will be like when we’re in Asia. And traveling with 50 people is really fun and crazy. There was lots of fellowship, games, cooking, worship, and our leaders washed our feet and took communion with us.
God is doing lots of incredible stuff around here. We see miracles every day. One night they raised over $100,000 for a building project on campus in about an hour’s time. We’ve been hearing stories of teams back from their outreaches, including some who raised seven babies from the dead! Two the guys in my school are in Honolulu right now getting their visas for Japan and Korea. This morning they were just waiting on one of the Japanese visas, so we prayed during our worship time, and right after we finished, we got a text saying that he had gotten it!
Personally I’m really learning about who God wants me to be. I’m not sure yet exactly what he wants me to do next, but I know I’m meant to be a leader and work in some area of the arts: dance, acting, film, etc. One week we had this crazy speaker and this couple who prophesied over us and some of the things they said for me were arts-related, as well as being a strong leader. It was so encouraging, it really confirmed things we all kind of knew about ourselves I think. My favorite random thing one of them said was that I’m sort of the initiator of parties, the person who brings other people together, which is totally true about me.
I want to thank you all again for all your prayers, love and support. Between what I earned and all the donations you guys gave me, I actually have some extra money, so I’ve been able to help out some of my friends and have a little personal spending money. But there are still several students and staff in my school who don’t have enough money to go Asia. When we first totaled everything up a few months ago, it came to about $88,000. We’ve been doing street performances, selling food, doing car washes, writing to supporters, taking offerings, and of course, praying. That total has now dropped to around $38,000. Just this last week, someone anonymously paid off a girl’s whole fee, and another girl just received $1000 from someone in her church, enough to more than cover her balance. As I was putting the finishing touches on this letter, I got word that another girl’s fees have been paid! However, the final deadline is Friday June 24th, so please keep praying for all these awesome people. I love these people so much and I really want to see them come with us. If you’re interested in sending them any financial support, contact me ASAP and I can tell you how to get it to them. (If you’d like a tax-deduction, we can run donations through my grandparent’s non-profit ministry.)
I miss you all and I can’t wait to get home so I can share more with all of you!
Love and prayers to you,