“Wherever the river flows, life will flourish… The river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds… Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47 8-12
As I struggle to find words to express all God is doing at River of Life Mission, I am reminded to just let God’s Word do the talking. The verses above are so beautiful and bountiful. It is the absolute promise and reality that “wherever the river flows, life will flourish.” River of Life Mission is flowing so strong right now, all over Oahu. And we are absolutely seeing the fruit of the food we share, and the leaves are powerfully bringing healing in ways that move us to great praise of our good and gracious God.
8 people. 6 days.
Bobby – who I wrote about in our last newsletter, has successfully moved through 45 days of sobriety. He is leading a Bible study at the home where he is currently living, and he is interviewing to go on staff with a church that has a heart to care for the homeless. Wow, how amazing is that? Please keep praying for Bobby.
Katlyn – came to the mission a few days ago in desperate need of help. She had just done drugs in a local park and was sensing she needed an immediate change in her life. She also knew her husband needed to make changes too, but she also couldn’t go back. Her husband would talk her into doing drugs too, so her mind was not clear, and then he would tragically pimp her out.
Katlyn was in a rough, rough place and our staff jumped into immediate action. To make a long story short, over the next days our team facilitated Katlyn seeing her children for the first time in 6 months, and took her to an amazing female Christian leader to be prayed over for demonic activity she was sensing in her life. Then getting her into a top-secret recovery home for women at risk, where she can get her life back together in the safety of a healthy environment.
Darvin – Darvin’s mother lives in Las Vegas with Darvin’s siblings. Darvin came to Hawaii with his girlfriend to start a new life together. After a few short weeks here, they broke up and it was devastating for Darvin. He was left with nothing and nowhere to go. Broken-hearted, and with nothing left, he ended up on the streets. Darvin’s family was desperately trying to reach him, but couldn’t track him down. Darvin’s mother found River of Life Mission on the internet, and went straight to our website, clicking one of our immediate engage buttons “I need help”.
David, our Pastor of Outreach, who lives out his title and role at the mission in a way that is so powerful to watch, starts connecting with this mom in Las Vegas to see if he can find her son. Now think about this for a minute. We had never seen her son, and we know all our thousands of guests by name. This compassionate mom from Las Vegas just had a guess at a city where her son might be currently living on the streets. So David headed out to that guess of a city, and as ONLY God could do, David finds her son, Darvin. Now think about this one again for just a little bit – on a big island, with a million people and over 60 cities, David finds a son of a destitute mom. This alone is a miracle for the ages, but we are seeing this kind of thing every day at the mission right now.
David talks with Darvin, and connects Darvin with his family. They are all crying for joy, and David immediately gets Darvin on a plane to fly home to his family in Las Vegas. David played for me an audio message from this mom in Las Vegas, and as she is weeping, she expresses her great gratitude for River of Life Mission, our team, for David, and asks God to bless the mission exponentially as they truly help people get off the streets and back together with their families. Best of all, they sent David a picture of the meal they had on the stove to welcome Darvin home, and let me tell you, it was a feast.
Jordan, Nalaja, Noah, Kai and Brandon – found themselves without a home, but still trying to work and survive. They would pitch a tent in a Kailua park and wake up early, pick everything up, and go to work and school. A woman who saw this happening, knew about River of Life Mission, and she also went on the website and clicked “I want to help.” However, she expressed that she was afraid to help and really didn’t know what to do. Our team jumped in immediately to help and work with this concerned and caring woman, to make something happen. And over the past few days, things are still moving forward to care for and help this family.
Caring woman’s first email to the mission several days ago:
“I need some help or advice. In the last month I noticed a houseless family of young people and kids. I would make contact, but I am afraid….”
Message from caring woman just 1 day later:
“Honestly, I am not a social worker, just a born and raised Kailua girl for 51 years. I believe almost everyone is one paycheck away from being houseless, no one is exempt from that reality. If I cannot extend compassion to our fellow Kailuan’s, who will? This family has 2 children they should never have to worry about where they will sleep or when they will eat, but unfortunately, that is their reality. We need to raise awareness – this is our Aina, this is our Keiki, this is our future. I can help! It takes a village. I can’t thank you enough.”
Her subsequent emails were all about how she would take it from here, and thanked us at River of Life Mission for not hesitating to help, and jumping in immediately in a way that inspired her. She is now pulling together her own neighborhood and community to keep helping this family until they are transitioned back into a home and stabilized. She went from “I am afraid” to “I can help”.
For months I have been talking to people about a simple mission: “Love Hawaii. Better Together”. Let me be very honest with you right now, I do believe we can absolutely change our entire island. I do believe we can make a radically broad impact in seeing people transitioned off the streets, out of drugs, away from sexual devastation – and first and foremost, saved by the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How? By simply acting now and all taking part in the best mission ever – seeing people’s lives changed, moved to hope, and having an opportunity to know the Jesus who changed us too!
The river is flowing, and life is flourishing – and your generosity, even now, will grow the flow by providing fruit for food and leaves for healing.
Pastor Paul Gates