How Summer and Joel started their own Hub Spot

And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  – Revelation 21:5

This Easter, I’m celebrating that our God makes “all things new.”  Now—God doesn’t make all new things, but He does make all things new.”  The subtle, but distinct play on words, expresses a great truth.  Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we celebrate the greatest of truths – that God could have just started over, but He chose to take our brokenness, and make us whole and new again with stories of redemption and beauty from ashes.

We are also in a season of celebration at River of Life Mission, because Jesus has made “all things new” here too.  It has been exactly one year since we transitioned to going fully mobile around Oahu.  We have seen miracles, and God has moved in a way we would have never expected.  In my letter one year ago, I encouraged you to pray for God to move significantly beyond our dreams or expectations.  He truly has done that, and even more.

In the last year, a wave of enthusiasm has swept our island in support of our new approach to outreach.  Everyone is talking about what The Mission is doing. We are touching more lives than ever before, both numerically and transformationally.  We are seeing more people’s lives transformed from death to life, with a significant growth in people on the streets making the decision to accept Jesus Christ. We are seeing more of our guests being baptized than ever before.  We are giving out more Bibles than ever before.  And we have significantly more people, churches and organizations working with us than ever before.

For the last 35 years, so many churches have come to serve with us here in Chinatown.   We praise God immensely for that!  But as homelessness continued to increase daily across our island, we felt that in order to truly make a difference in the situation, we needed all hands on deck.  God was calling us to take the incredible ministry God had established here in Chinatown, and multiply it.  Our prayer became: “God, we want to see this type of care for people happen all over our island.”  Our new mobile approach is now helping more people where they are, and enlisting more partners and volunteers to make a difference for Jesus.  Patrice, an elderly volunteer with a heart for River of Life Mission who served as a long-time missionary to the Philippines, recently put it to me this way when I shared about the success of our mobile efforts: “Pastor Paul, this is exactly what we should be doing—going out and meeting people where they are. Praise God and good for you, this is the best thing I could have ever heard about River of Life Mission. You are going out. That is what God wants us to do.”

Because of our decision to go mobile, families and churches are being activated to serve their local neighborhoods in new and significant ways. 

Summer and Joel are a young couple with a beautiful family on the West side.  Their love for Jesus pours out, and their dedication to their children is amazing.  Their family commitment to care for people has become a shining example for me.  Joel would drive all the way from his home on the West side to our North Shore hub spot to cut hair for people living on the streets. Even after the outreach tents were torn down and everyone was gone, in an empty church parking lot, you’d find Joel still “talking story” and cutting someone’s hair. The last man standing!

Recently, I got a video update from Summer and Joel.  They are now activating our meals & ministry (M&M) plan for their own community on the West side!  They’re meeting people with the most basic of needs—a meal—paired with the love of Jesus through ministry.  Along with their children, Summer and Joel have started ministering to the teenagers in their own community and it is changing lives.  They have told us that the young people’s language has changed.  The cursing used to flow like rivers, and now even the neighbors are telling them that they see a major difference.  Their young daughter had such joy on her face as she recounted sharing Jesus’ love with her teenage friends over a delicious River of Life Mission meal.

Our partnerships across Oahu are growing exponentially!  This new mobile outreach approach enables us to work alongside precious families like Summer and Joels as they do incredible ministry in their own neighborhood, with keiki leading the way in sharing the Gospel.  How incredible is this?

All things really are new at River of Life Mission.  God’s work on our island is leading to radical growth, and more people are “jumping in the river” with us to impact lives in their own communities. To watch the special video message from Summer and Joel’s family, head to our Instagram or Facebook page (@riveroflifehawaii) right now!

Friend, will you consider giving a generous financial gift this Easter to continue this new work God is doing at River of Life Mission?   We believe that God has even more for all of us in this second year of going all mobile.  We have big dreams and if you feel led to give, above and beyond —please know that it will support deeper church and community partnerships and help more guests receive resources, meals and the love of Jesus.  There is a wave of momentum around this new mobile plan that we need to catch and expand in this season—all for the purpose of seeing more lives changed.  We need more vehicles, we need more staff, we’re building resources to help people and churches better care for people in need.  We’ve been praying for a significant outpouring of heaven in giving, that would allow us to seize this monumental moment for Jesus.

Would you help us by going above and beyond right now, in your giving, to help us push this all forward in a way that changes lives for eternity?  Every bit counts.

May you and your family have a Happy Easter, and may God bless you this year… in ways you do not see coming!

Pastor Paul Gates

Executive Director