Making the Rough Edges Smooth

I will go before you, and make the rough places smooth.” God to us in Isaiah 45:2

As many of you know, we have made the biggest shift in River of Life Mission’s storied history. We decided to flip our ministry model on it’s head, clean the slate, and in some ways fully adjust how we do what we do. While not neglecting a constant reality that we have an amazing staff and team of volunteers who love to extend Jesus, and create some pretty amazing meals – and lots of them – for people desperately in need.

When we started to make these changes, I began to petition everyone to pray that God would go before us. One of the key foundations of the mission has always been prayer. And I wanted everyone praying for us, because I knew it was going to be a daunting task, and the only way it would happen successfully is if God leads it and goes before us. Several weeks ago, I was on a call with a close friend, and he asked me how the transition was going? And what quickly came out of my mouth, is why I am writing you this letter. In response to his question, I simply said:

“Well, we have all been praying that God would go before us, and now I feel like God is already a mile ahead of us down the road, and we are just trying to catch up.”

After I said that, we both chuckled in laughter, mostly celebrating all that God was doing. But after I got off the phone call and reflected just a bit more on our conversation, I quickly thought to myself – but that is how God always works. You see, our God is so good, and He is always working, and He is always out ahead of us. This is our great God that I have come to know, who leads us and works ahead of us, and many times we just need to catch up a bit.

And we are absolutely loving trying to catch up to all God is doing. We keep praying, and we keep putting everything we were doing on the table and asking hard questions like, “what can we do better, and how can we care better?” Even in a recent meeting, one of our young staff members who just graduated from an influential Christian University said, “Pastor Paul, I am so proud to work at an organization that is willing to ask the hard questions, and willing to adjust and change to be better.”

This was one of the best compliments I think we could receive at this point.

So what is the plan? Well, I want to tell you, but I will just give you a little teaser. And if you want to hear about it from me directly and unpacked even more, we are going to have a Gala on November 3rd, 2022 where you can come hear about “Our Boldest Vision Yet”. I know you will be radically blessed and inspired. In fact I guarantee it! You can see more details and get your tickets at It truly will be a night to remember.

So here is the teaser and a bit about the plan. I wrote this recently about the mission and I share it with you here:

“We now serve over 800 guests per day, at hub spots around the island, where we serve a sweet combination of meals + ministry (M&M Plan). Most importantly serving an opportunity to know Jesus!”

We have said that we would have been happy to launch out in serving and doing ministry around Oahu, in 3-4 locations. Currently after only 5 months, we are working in at least 15 locations. And the ministry piece of above is what I am so incredibly excited to share with you about in more detail at the Gala. In just the past 5 months we have served alongside over 1,500 people around Oahu, helping people in need with a ministry of serving: serving joy, serving a hot meal, serving Jesus, serving worship, serving prayer, serving services like shower trailers, mobile medical, haircuts, mobile vision and glasses, mobile veterinary services, intake and guest management to see services utilized, discipleship programs, and helping people get into housing and stabilization services.

God is leading the way, and I believe it is a season where we will see people working together in a way like never seen before. And people are flocking back to River of Life Mission to see what we are doing, and to be a part of a significant movement that only God could create. These are the most exciting of times and we are so thankful to all of you who truly are hero’s for people in need. Heroes because of your generous prayers, support and giving. You really are a hero, and without you too, none of this would happen.

We will be talking about this more at the Gala, but you’re giving even now, will help us tap into all God is doing. If you even feel led to increase your giving or give a special gift at this time, please know that this is a season that it will go toward a new plan and vision that I fully believe will be having an impact for many generations to come. It is a very exciting time, and we will keep sharing all God is doing. And thank you for sacrificing to give, support, and play a part!

I know God will go before you, and God is going before us. And what an amazing promise – “I will make the rough places smooth.” The first thing you do when you are about to build, is smooth out the ground, even before the foundation is laid. God is making it smooth, and we are ready to build…


Pastor Paul Gates

Executive Director