As I walked to the start of the beach and began to pick up the pieces of plastic, rope, and various other items that had either been washed up from the water, or left there by the many daily beach-goers, I quickly noticed the many looks I was getting from the people around me. You need to know that there are two types of people in Hawaii; the “Locals” and the “Tourists/Haoles” Local, meaning you are from Hawaii and somewhat a descendant of the Hawaiian people. “Haole” is used in Hawaii to describe all white people. The beach we were at was a very “local” beach in a relatively low income town, where drug and alcohol abuse is very common. There are many locals and tourist that regularly come enjoy the beautiful beach there. As I began moving down the beach collecting trash a “haole” woman began following alongside me picking up trash. Then I noticed another tourist couple picking up a few pieces of trash as they walked the beach. It really took me by surprise as I realized what I was witnessing around me. Were these people working with me out of guilt? Or maybe it was their conscience that prompted them to join in? And what about the many who just sat by watching us picking up the trash?
As wonderful as it was to see those people help me, I began to think about how much our culture, or the environment we grow up in, teaches basic principles like picking up trash. It is so easy to judge people for being “lazy”(not picking up their own trash), when what I am actually seeing is a result of being raised in a place where these basic principles are not taught. In fact, the opposite is demonstrated. Instead of teaching responsibility, often times all that is demonstrated to them is brokenness.
In Hawaii it is not uncommon to see broken families, teen pregnancies, as well as alcohol and drug abuse. What I have come to realize is that many times the actions, or lack of actions, are a direct result of the extreme cycle of poverty and broken family units often seen in the communities we live in. Instead of judging or developing stereotypes, we should show others with the same grace we have been shown.
It was a joy to be able to clean up God’s wonderful creation with our team and the others who joined in with us. Picking up trash on our Anniversary would not have been my first choice, but we did have a lot of fun serving the people of Kauai in this simple way.
Please continue to pray for revival amongst the families and youth of Kauai!
Kilauea Elementary School!
We have had a great time working with the teachers preparing there class rooms for school to start. As we worked with them, we were able to share with them about YWAM and what we are doing as well as pray for a few of the teachers.
Here is a quote from a teacher we were able to bless: “What a blessing to have YWAM help today setting up my classroom and all 35 computers! After helping me, they also helped a kindergarden teacher- (Mrs. Gasper) who was also blessed with all the help. Before they left, we prayed for the students and the year to come. I was so thankful, God is good all the time and meets our needs.” -Maureen