We arrived at the Kahului airport on Maui last Wednesday evening where retiree and associate minister Bob Harp met us warmly, wished us “Aloha,” placed leis around our necks and led us to “the cottage” (parsonage) that is our home this month of September. At Bible study that night, Tim Shiroma led us in singing before I led our discussion. On Thursday, the primary window unit A/C in the cottage began leaking water inside the house, and Tom Hickox “jerry-rigged” it on Friday to get us through the weekend.
On Saturday, several vehicles pulled into the church parking area, and people scrambled out to begin a variety of tasks. Carlyna Tosie cleaned and straightened the meeting-house while grandson Orlando mowed the yard. Meanwhile, Roman Czerwinski led a crew that also included Akira Tosie, Orlando and Edgar Larin, planting flowering bushes around the building. Roman left briefly to purchase a new window A/C for the cottage, which Tom Hickox installed on Sunday afternoon, assisted by Steve Annis.
Later Saturday evening, Tim and Barb Shiroma led us to a homeless shelter, where some 20-30 men and women enjoyed a dinner of chicken enchiladas and trimmings prepared primarily by Jana Womack and Barb Shiroma, supplemented and served by Jana, Cussandra Prentice, Tim and Barb Shiroma, Bill Hong, Roman Czerwinski and his two daughters. Bob Harp missed that because he was phoning people who were not at church the previous Sunday, encouraging them to join us this past Lord’s Day. Steve and Carol Annis missed the shelter dinner because they were busy writing and making copies of the church bulletin, as well as class materials for Sara Faye (children) and for me (adults). When we gathered on Sunday morning, Jane and Malcolm Hickman adorned the podium with large tropical blossoms from their yard in Hana, a two-hour drive distant.
Tim Shiroma escorted the teenagers to a nearby nursing home to visit a man in his 90’s, then conversed with the teens about what they might learn from the experience. Still others stepped up to serve in a variety of ways, but you get the picture. The spiritual unity was even more striking in this case because of the obvious physical diversity. One in Christ, these brothers and sisters include an ethnic spectrum of English, Irish and Polish, Micronesian and Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese, African and Filipino. Truly this is a microcosm of Christ’s body as portrayed in Romans 12, First Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and elsewhere — individual members interrelated and interactive, each contributing from his or her own gifting for the good of the whole and the benefit of their larger world. (9/8/09)