Dear Friends:

We are praying that you and your family are staying safe during this difficult time.  Three weeks ago, three of our men contracted the Covid-19 Virus. All three were exposed to the same individual. We immediately scheduled tests for the entire staff. Fortunately, we all tested negative. However after consultation with the Department of Health, we canceled five-night meals because four of the night workers had been exposed. Those four were quarantined and safely returned to work. We are grateful to the Lord for watching over us during this time.  As of Monday, September 14 we are all back at work.

Earlier this year I wrote about the possibility of River of Life Mission moving to a city-owned building in Iwilei.  Finally, a couple of months ago we declined the offer. I would like to give you an explanation based upon a biblical example.

In the fifth chapter of Joshua following the crossing of the Jordan River, the Israelites were poised to attack Jericho. We are told that the Kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast had heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over. The hearts of the kings melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites. Now you would think that this would be the perfect time to attack Jericho. The leadership was fearful, and they had no courage to face the Israelites. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to attack. Everything looked to be in their favor. However, God had other plans.

During this past 40 years of wilderness wandering, none of the men born during that time had been circumcised. Now circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God had with the nation of Israel. Yet no circumcision had taken place during all those years. They also had not celebrated Passover. Even though it seemed like this was the perfect opportunity to attack Jericho and strike while the iron was hot, there were things that God needed to set straight with Israel prior to battle.

In the natural, the move to Iwilei looked like a great opportunity. During this process, we were faced with the possibility that this move would hinder our primary mission. We have been called to Chinatown to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet the needs of the poor. We concluded that our primary mission would be better served at our present location. It was a difficult decision since the opportunity looks so good. However just because something looks good, does not mean that that’s the proper course of action.

Later, in Chapter 5 of Joshua, we find Joshua outside the camp and he encounters a man with a drawn sword.  Most scholars believe that this was what is called a theophany. A theophany is a visible manifestation to humankind of God. What is interesting about this encounter is the question that Joshua poses to the man. He asked the man are you for us or for our enemy? What’s interesting is the answer that he received. The man simply said NO.  I think what this indicates is that God was not choosing sides, but He was looking for those who would be on His side.

Over the last few months, we have had a lot of criticism from some people in the local community. Homelessness has increased, especially since the pandemic. Many of the businesses are closed due to the lockdown and those that are open feel like the homeless are affecting their businesses.

We have had numerous discussions with local businesspeople and elected officials concerning the problem. It is a many faceted problem that will require a many faceted solution. We believe that the people we are serving have a special place in the heart of God and we are called to minister to them and meet their needs. We are sympathetic to many of the complaints that we receive from those in the community. However, there doesn’t seem to be any solutions coming from government leaders. Therefore, we are called to continue to meet their needs. We would appreciate your prayers as we continue to do so. We appreciate the support that you have given us this past year. We pray that you and your family stay safe and your needs are met.

Note:  Remember Foodlands “GiveAloha”, our number is 77264

In His Service,

Bob Marchant