Go and Grow!

“He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.” – Deuteronomy 10:21 (NLT)


Dear Friends, 


Some of you by now have seen River of Life Mission in the news. Many of you have seen stories for years about The Mission.  Some news reports have been full of praise, and some have been full of problems.  At River of Life Mission, we are celebrating one thing above all – the work of God.  His countless “mighty miracles” over the last 35 years have been nothing short of amazing.  To put this in perspective, let me share one simple statistic, telling a miraculous story:


River of Life Mission started by giving out a couple of dozen PB&J sandwiches from the back of a pick up truck, to the point now where after 35 years we have been blessed to give out over 12 million meals – for free! Wow, now that is a mighty miracle. From a few zip locks, to 12 million hot meals, and every day 800 people fed for free in the name of Jesus.


We are praising God, because it is only because of Him, that this miracle has happened.  But in the miracle, because we grew to the size we did, we started drawing a massive crowd.  Which also started to draw massive criticism from our neighbors here in Chinatown.  Even though our heart was to do good, we were constantly seen as drawing a crowd that was having a challenging impact on the community.  Also, the board has been sensing for years that the season of River of Life’s ministry in Chinatown in its present form was coming to an end and that a brand new chapter was coming.


It is on that note that we have decided to step into the next great season of ministry that God has for us at River of Life Mission, while also desiring to be a great neighbor to our community here in Chinatown.  For years we have been praying about what is next.  There was some conversation in the news about a building that the government wanted us to move into and start feeding outside of Chinatown, but we just felt that God was not moving us in that direction.  But to be a good neighbor to our Chinatown community, we have decided to start feeding completely mobile and remotely, out of Chinatown.  


For some of you this sounds like an adventure, and it is.  For some of you this sounds amazing and new, and it is.  For some of you it sounds like a significant new impact all over our island, and it is.  For some of you this sounds like a major change and how will our guests in Chinatown be fed and cared for, and it is.  But I will try to explain simply below how this will all play out tangibly and how this sets us up for a trajectory that is full of growth and Jesus being extended on a much, much broader scale.


Tangibly we will still be feeding at remote locations close to Chinatown. We will communicate to our guests exactly where they can get meals and it is in close walking distance from Chinatown.  We will also comfort them by letting them know that they will see the same faces.  We will also list other great ministries and service organizations that provide food for people in need.  In many ways we are just spreading out the crowd a bit to have a much smaller impact on any community we serve in the future.


Trajectory for this change is hands down significant.  We have been praying that God would show us how to be true “Rivers of Life” to even more around Oahu.  And we believe this change is actually God moving us into a season where we are ready to GO and GROW.  Feeding remotely and starting a system of getting food out to multiple locations, sets us up to grow exponentially.


But in all of this, the one thing that we assure you will never change – River of Life Mission solely exists to extend Jesus to everyone, especially those who are down and out and desperate for hope.  We will continue to stand behind our mission that “hope is here”, and extend hope to all – hope that is only found in Jesus.  This will never change, and this is why we are excited to GO and GROW. We want to see more miracles, we want to see Jesus extended to more people around our island, and we want to do more alongside you.


So in summary:


  • We are not moving, we are going mobile.
  • We are more passionate about our power-packed and simple recipe than ever before: meeting basic needs + Jesus = mighty miracles.
  • Our launch date to go mobile is March 31, 2022.
  • Sharing Jesus in smaller contexts will provide more focused and individual care, while also having less impact on neighborhoods and communities.
  • We are sensing and already seeing that churches and organizations are excited about this plan, and everyone is ready to collaborate and work together again.
  • We are starting to look for a campus, providing more space to care for people in need.  Housing, food distribution, job training, farms, chapel and more.
  • Our work training focused chocolate factory, will have an all-new street level presence in Chinatown. Visit www.chocolateonamission.com and support change for people ready to work.   
  • We know that to grow you have to decentralize and we are excited to become true “Rivers of Life” around Oahu and beyond.
  • We know we can’t do this without you! Your prayers and support, even now, will help us do more for the Kingdom than ever before.  


Let’s GO and let’s GROW: with Jesus, loving Hawaii, and holding true to the fact that we are better together. 


If you feel led to help us launch into this next season at River of Life Mission, there are some significant and simple ways to help below.  And as always – thank you for helping us extend Jesus to those in desperate need of hope!

Pastor Paul Gates

Executive Director