Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
This past Sunday the Hawaii to Haiti team took over the Café to say thank you to New Hope Diamond Head! The support that this team received was so overwhelming and we are SO blessed to call this church our home. The support through love, prayers, encouragement and finances is SO unbelievable and we are truly and humbly thankful for each and every one of you. Stay tuned about for info on the next mission trip!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Well, it’s happened – I’m going back to Haiti. But this time it’s to serve God there full time. Hard to imagine that this would be what God has for me, but I am sure of it. I thought maybe God was taking me in that direction from the very first moment I set foot in Haiti - it almost felt like home. I was so “comfortable” there – not physically (it’s very hot and muggy !), but inside I felt so peaceful. The mission trip there with our church team was wonderful, but all the while I was also trying to “listen” for God’s voice. Am I supposed to come back here to work full time ? It’s hot, there’s no hot water for showers, living conditions are uncomfortable and it’s not Hawaii !! Yet, it seemed like God was saying “go”.
After talking to Pastor Fernando (my pastor in Honolulu) and praying about it quite a bit, along with a couple other church leaders, I felt I had to go. When I informed Pastor of my decision, he told me he agreed. He had also been praying and felt like God was saying the same thing to him. Others in the church leadership also agreed, so I began to make plans.
I will be working with the ground team in Haiti at the Foursquare base camp in Tabarre – only a few miles from the airport. My main focus will be coordinating mission teams from all over the United States who come to help Haiti through the Foursquare denomination.
Building structures and building people – that’s what I’m all about. I love to be a part of building things – been in the construction industry most of my life. And I love to assist in building people up in their walk with God. Matthew 7:24-25 says “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” The Haitian people need help rebuilding their homes, their churches and their businesses. But much more, they need their lives built on the Rock, Jesus Christ. What a great opportunity to participate in what God is doing in Haiti.
This past Sunday, September 15, 2010, we informed the entire congregation of my plans and I began to really focus on the details of leaving Hawaii. There is so much to do, but I know God will work it all out in the few short months I have left. Leaving Hawaii and my church family will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. They have seen me through so much over the past few years and I can’t imagine what it will be like without them close by. But somehow I know God will fill that void in my heart. New Hope Diamond Head will continue to be my home church and Pastor Fernando will continue to be my pastor. A couple years ago another brother at New Hope Diamond Head felt called to serve in another church in Honolulu. Someone said that he wasn’t leaving, he was just going to be, “on the other side of the church”. I feel the same way. I’m not leaving New Hope Diamond Head, I’m just going to be on the other side of the church - it’s just that other side of the church will be almost 6,000 miles away !!
Funny how things have changed for me over the past few years. It was just a little less than six years ago that I decided I needed to try to find my way back to God. I’d been away from Him for a number of years and knew I needed Him in my life again. It took quite a while, but I finally attended New Hope Diamond Head in February 2005. I wondered if God would accept me back – if He would allow me to do anything for Him. But God’s mercy and grace are impossible to understand and I felt His love and acceptance right way. In the last five and a half years, God has allowed me to do so many wonderful things in serving Him.
This opportunity to work full time in mission work in Haiti is something I would never have dreamed would happen. In fact, five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go at all. But now I am so excited about what God has in store for me in Haiti, I can’t wait. God has opened the door for a miraculous work to be done in Haiti as a result of the earthquake last January. The nation of Haiti is ready for change and we have the opportunity to rebuild an entire nation for God. I pray that God will continue to call others to the nation of Haiti to help in the work. It may be years before we are able to measure success, but I know it will be worth the effort and the fruit we harvest will last for eternity !
Pastor Mark Olson