The Final Update

22 12 2015

It has been a few months since we announced that our work in Hawaii was coming to a close.  As we enter in to the Christmas season, we decided to make one last update to let everyone know how and what we are doing.

Kerry was legally adopted on October 5.  We celebrated and a couple of days later, he and Samantha made the move to Missouri.  Meanwhile, Caleb and I flew to Los Angeles.  We spent a few days there visiting family and seeing the sites.  This included some pretty intense roller coasters at Magic Mountain.  After that, we spent 4 days driving our car to Missouri.  We had a lot of fun seeing the country along the way.  Some highlights included the Grand Canyon, Cadillac Ranch, and a somber tour of the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum.  We arrived home around October 15.

The boys are now in school in Springfield.  Caleb is attending the same middle school that Samantha did.  He is doing great and in the second semester, he will be placed in advanced classes and begin attending WINGS (the gifted program).  Kerry is involved in the Wonder Years preK program.  He is really learning a lot and is on target of Kindergarten next year.  Kerry has also started bowling.  He is learning to bowl at Sunshine Lanes just like I did at his age.  In fact, we even have the same coach!

Samantha is working for the Springfield Public Schools nutritional services as a substitute cook.  She works every day at different schools and really enjoys it.  She has also been doing a lot of stained glass work.

I am working as a financial representative of Modern Woodmen of America.  I do life insurance and financial planning and I really enjoy it.  The company is very impressive and I really find myself more in the role of helping others rather than just pushing a particular product.  It has been slow to get started as I build a client base, but overall it is very rewarding.  I have a dream of not only using this work as a career but also a way of impacting our community.  If you aren’t sure how a financial services company can do that, give me a call!

I am also very happy to say that we have found a great church family to join here in Springfield.  We are attending Hope and Anchor Church and we really love it.  The past 6 months have been difficult for us and Hope and Anchor has turned out to be a great place of rest and healing.  We look forward to serving with them.

Finally, I want to add a work of thanks to all of you.  Especially to those of you who supported us during the final months.  I hope you do not feel that your gifts were in vain.  You allowed us to see the completion of Kerry’s adoption.  You helped us wrap things up and you helped to bring us back to Missouri.  I cannot thank you enough.  You were there when we desperately needed you.

Finally, I ask for you to pray for the following:

For Kerry:  Transitioning Kerry’s support from Hawaii has been difficult.  The Hawaii government is responsible for his health insurance throughout his childhood.  They are also obligated to provide a stipend.  Please pray that we can get these things on track now that we have moved.

For Caleb:  Pray for his transition as well.  Pray that he will make good friends here.  Pray for the fledgling youth ministry at Hope and Anchor.

For Samantha and Aaron:  Pray that we can get a steady income soon and find a place of our own.  We are grateful for Samantha’s parents taking us in, but we look forward to being on our feet in our own home.  Pray for our jobs.  Pray that Samantha’s opportunities increase.  Pray that my client base grows.  Also pray for me as I will be having oral surgery on Dec 31.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Aaron, Samantha, Caleb, and Kerry

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So What Now? An Update

2 09 2015

So what now?

Since our big announcement, many people have asked me, what is next.  The simplest answer is that we do not know.  We do know that we are moving to Missouri.  Samantha and Kerry are set to arrive in Springfield on October 8.  Caleb and I (who are bringing a car home) will arrive a week later.

After that, my first priority is to find a job.  Samantha will be looking too, once she can secure a preschool for Kerry.  Once we have an income, we will begin looking for a place to rent in Springfield.  Until then, we will be staying with Samantha’s folks.  We most certainly plan to plug into a church.  Hopefully the Lord will lead us to a place where we can help and serve and be the kind of members we always appreciated having in our churches.

Anything after that is the big unknown.  We are considering a couple of things.  One plan is for me to go back to school.  I realized this past year that our churches can really be lacking in how we handle mental health.  That is a story for another time.  However, one possibility is that I may pursue a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  This is not to say that I am leaving ministry.  Far from it.  I have seen a ministry need and it may be that the Lord is leading in that direction.

It will take some time time to get settled in, so schooling is probably a year out.  In the meantime, I will also be working on some writing projects.  My novel, “Street Preacher,” is complete, but rough.  I need to polish it up and then see if anyone is interested or if I can publish and sell the thing myself.  A couple of other novel ideas are in the hopper.  I have learned a lot in the past three years regarding ministry and church planting.  Once I get my head clear, it would be nice to share those things.

What about from now to October?

We have not quit yet!  Aloha Community Church will still meet twice in September.  Once for worship looking to the future, and one final time for worship, fellowship, and testimony.  By the way, if you would like to write anything to the members of Aloha Community Church, feel free to send it to gospelforhawaii@gmail.com

We also have much to do before we leave.  I have two interns who work tirelessly with at risk kids and teens in Waianae.  They go where many are afraid to go and they work with gang members and others in the fringe of society.  I must find them a church to sponsor them and they need financial support.  Interested?  Let me know.

And finally is the major transition that is ahead.  We need to pack and plan.  We need to ease our children through this.  We need to complete Kerry’s adoption.

During this time, we need your support.  Your prayers and donations will get us through this time.

Here is a prayer list:

  • Pray for Kerry’s adoption.  It has been delayed twice.  It really cannot be delayed again.  Pray that October 5 is the day.
  • Pray for Caleb.  He just got used to middle school here and now he must get used to another middle school in Missouri.
  • Pray for jobs for Samantha and I.
  • Pray for a smooth move and transition.
  • Pray for peace of mind.  This has been an emotional time for all of us.
  • Pray for the Waianae ministry, particularly Matt Lincoln and Celeste Williams that they are supported.
  • Pray for the members of Aloha Community Church that they find places to plug in and serve
  • Pray for Ewa Beach and West Oahu, that the Gospel is preached.

Donations for Aaron Davis, Matt Lincoln, and Celleste Williams may be sent to:

Aloha Community Church
4913 B Mokupea PL
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Please be sure to specify how you want the donation to be used.

Aloha in Christ,

Aaron Davis





A Difficult Decision

30 08 2015

Recently, we made a very difficult decision.  After three years in Hawaii, we will close the work of Aloha Community Church, and my family and I will return to Missouri.  This decision has not been an easy one for our family or the people of Aloha Community Church.  I have been through frustration, anger, fear, and great sadness over this.  However, after much discussion, thought, and prayer, we rest in the fact that we are being obedient to the Lord.

As you know, in July the vast majority of our external support was reduced.  This created a deficit between our income and our required living expenses.  A recent survey on Oahu concluded that a family of four must make one hundred and twenty thousand per year in order to live comfortably.  We have always lived on much less, choosing to rent a town home, own a used car, rely on a moped, etc.  In July, we attempted to cover the deficit in three ways:  We sought new church partnerships, we asked our prayer partners (and anyone else that would listen) for help, and I found a full time job in retail.  The retail job provided several great new friendships and replaced our insurance, but it did not come close to our deficit.  Several small donations and a few large ones got us through until now.  We have not been able to find any new church partners or ongoing donations.  Meanwhile, as we expect a decrease in our funding from the North American Mission Board and an increase in our rent, the deficit grows wider.

Thus, we concluded that it is simply no longer economically feasible to remain in Hawaii.  In 2012, several church planters arrived on Oahu to start new churches.  Of that group, only we remain.  This is the reality of church planting in “paradise.”  I hope and pray that a new method can be found to reach this island and I look forward to being a part of that discussion.

Reflecting on what the Lord has done in three years, I am happy to report six baptisms, much discipleship, sending one family to seminary in order to study international church planting, people finding the courage to lead out in ministry, and much more.  No one is leaving Aloha Community Church the same way that we came in.

I realize that everyone who contributed to our ministry may be disappointed in our decision.  I share this disappointment.  Three years ago I used a poker illustration and said that I was “all in.”  I walk away from the table empty handed.  A good friend of mine, an avid poker, player tells me that many times one can have a good hand, go all in, and get “taken down.”

To those of you who have very recently contributed, please let me assure you that your donations have not been in vain.  We live by your support.  We have and will continue to be witnesses here until the day we leave the island.  During this time, we are assisting our members through this transition, helping to secure new positions for our interns so that their work in Waianae may continue, and remain until Kerry’s adoption is final on October 5.

After that, my family and I will relocate to Springfield, Missouri where we will seek out the next chapter.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call me at 808-551-1908 or email gospelforhawaii@gmail.com. We appreciate your prayers and support during this difficult time.

Aloha In Christ,

Aaron Davis





Ministry, Life, and The Future!

17 07 2015

Aloha!

In this update, I want to let you know about all that is going on in Aloha Community Church, our everyday life, and what we are looking towards in the future.

Ministry

We continue to grow at Aloha Community Church, but we are also in a time of transition.  It has been three years, and we are seeing our original families move on.  In just a few weeks, a member of our leadership team, Sam Graf, will be leaving with his wife and daughter to attend Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.  Sam will be studying International Church Planting!  We are sad to see them go, but we can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store!

We have also had a great time this summer with our Summer missionary, Max Bolin.  Max is a high school student from Gadsen, Alabama.  This summer, he has helped with our Waianae ministry, hosted a backyard Bible club, helped out with Wednesday night small groups, and made lots of contacts in the community.  This has been a chaotic time for us, and he has been a Godsend!  This Sunday, he will be preaching at Aloha Community Church, and all next week, he will be leading out in several small outreach projects.

We are bringing our homeless ministry closer to Ewa Beach.  We have begun to reach out to the homeless communities in Waipahu and Hau Bush Beach Park.

Our Waianae Ministry is growing, thanks to our intern, Matt Lincoln.  He leads a teen Bible study every Friday and a children’s group on Tuesdays.  He is reaching a marginalized people group there and we hope to see this grow into a church someday.  We just welcomed and addition to his team: Celeste Williams.  She just moved to Oahu from Memphis, TN in order to minister in Waianae.

Life

Things are a bit crazy these days, but they are good.  A couple of big changes are ahead in just a few weeks.  Caleb is about to begin 7th grade.  We just completed registration and he is ready for the big intermediate school.  Meanwhile, Kerry will begin head start.  This year, they opened a head start program in our neighborhood school so it will just be a short walk.  He is excited to go to school.

Another exciting moment to come is August 10.  Lord willing, this is Kerry’s adoption hearing!  It has been delayed before, but this time, all the paperwork is in, so we think this will be it.  We are excited and thrilled to finally make Kerry’s place in our family official.  He has been with us for two years now, and its hard to imagine what life would be like without this little guy.

Samantha is also looking forward to the school year.  It means some free time for her.  She is planning to work on her stained glass projects which will be for sale in the near future.  Let us know if you are interested.

Things are really different for me these days.  I recently took a second job.  I work full-time at Petco in Pearl City.  I really enjoy the people I work with and we are thankful for the addition income.  This does make things a bit difficult with available time, but we are figuring it all out.

The Future

If you are on our email list, then you already know that we made some pretty desperate pleas for financial support.  When a large portion of our support ended in June, we were not sure how much longer we could afford to continue here.  Churches grow slowly here and expenses are high.  At the end of June, we did not know if we could last another month.  However, many have given and we are now good into October.  We are committed to this ministry as long as the Lord provides.  However, we still need your help.

Here is what we can use:

For individuals:

  • Pray for us often
  • Consider a one time or regular donation
  • Share our updates on your facebook page, with your Sunday School class, and your friends!

For churches:

  • Remember us in your prayer meetings
  • Get to know us with video chats, letters, etc.
  • Consider giving through your missions budgets or a love offering.

To send donations:

Either go to http://www.alohacommunitychurch.net/online-giving and give safely and securely using the “church planter support” option.

Send checks to:

Aloha Community Church

4913 B Mokupea Pl

Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Aloha in Christ,

Aaron Davis





Updates

8 05 2015

Aloha!

It has been a busy couple of months at Aloha Community Church.

On April 12 we officially launched with our Grand Opening service!  This was an exciting day with a lot of visitors.  We have seen new families continue to attend as well as more visitors each week.  Growth is slow, for sure, but it continues, and we are excited about that.

We also celebrated Easter with TWO BAPTISMS!

We have a lot of other things going on.  Please take time read about them:

Ministry Connections

There are more important things in churches than numbers and we are seeing them.  Recently, S. began attending.  I know him through volunteer work I do in the courts.  S. is working to get his children back and to stay clean and sober.  We were able to introduce S. to a man in our church who has been down a similar road and can mentor him and witness to him now.

One woman in our church is letting her pre-Christian life to be a burden for ministry, leading us to new ministry.  This is exciting!

One young man in our church is about to transition out of the military.  He and his wife (and by then, their daughter) will be relocating in order to attend Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.  He will be studying International Church Planting.  We hate to lose them, but we are excited to see what the Lord does.

Mission Trips and a Summer Missionary

Lately, we have had a lot of people helping us.  In April, we had a group from Louisiana.  We also had Dalton Patterson from Second Baptist Church of Springfield, MO serving with us.  In May, we will have a group from Georgia and a group from Arkansas.  These groups are a huge help.

We are very excited to have a summer missionary this year. Max Bolin from Alabama will be spending eight weeks with us.  He will focus primarily on youth and children outreach.  We are looking forward to his arrival.

Ministry Beyond Ewa

Looking forward, we see two locations to focus on ministry beyond Ewa.  One is our on-going efforts in Waianae through our intern, Matthew Lincoln.  Each week, Matthew leads a Children’s ministry in the housing projects there.  He also conducts a youth Bible study.  Lately, we have seen as many as 17 teens in his youth Bible study, with a handful involved in regular discipleship.  He has had as many as 30 kids in his children’s ministry.  This area is the often forgotten side of Oahu and it is far from “paradise.”  Matt’s work is with disenfranchised people groups, primarily Micronesians.  Our hope is to build this work.  In 2016, Matt will become a church planter and we will transition this ministry into a church plant that can continue to serve the community for decades to come.

In May, we will begin ministry to a homeless community in Waipahu.  Our church has some personal connections to this community.  We are dreaming big with this outreach.  It is common to do homeless ministry by providing food and water but can it be more?  Can we conduct a worship service in the community?  Can we plant a church in the community?  Dream with us as we embark on this road.  Pray for leaders to carry out a big vision.

Prayer Needs

  • Pray for growth to continue in our church.  Pray for visitors and new families.
  • Pray for God’s provision.  As we approach 3 years in Hawaii, much of our funding decreases as scheduled.  Please pray that these funds are replaced in other ways.  Also, our intern, Matt Lincoln receives very little support and his ministry expenses come out of his own pocket. Pray that the Lord provides for him.
  • Pray for some of our original core group as they leave the island.  Ricardo and Kristen Hosein are ending their term with Child Evangelism Fellowship and are seeking what the Lord has planned for them.  Sam and Faith Graf will be leaving for Seminary soon.
  • Continue to pray for Kerry’s adoption.  It should take place within a few months.

We appreciate your support!

If you would like to donate to either the Davis Family or Matt Lincoln, send your support to:

Aloha Community Church

4913 B Mokupea Place

Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Please write in the memo the intended purpose of your support (eg. “For the Davis Family” or “For Matt Lincoln”)

We also enjoy cards and letters!

Aloha in Christ,

Aaron Davis





February Update!

6 03 2015
Aloha!
It has been a while since I have sent out any updates. A lot is going on and it gets hard to keep up sometimes!  But that is a good problem to have.
Much has happened
Here are some highlights of things that have happened in the last couple of months:
  • We lead our church through our New Members class
  • We constituted as a church on February 22
  • We began a new series in one small group and used the opportunity to invite new people.  4 new people began attending!
  • We began a preteen class on Sunday Mornings
  • We have seen 3 new families attend our Sunday morning worship services
A lot coming up
  • On March 29 we will host a Preview Service
  • On April 5 we will conduct an Easter celebration in the park
  • On April 12, we will host a grand opening service
  • We have at least two people waiting to be baptized!
  • We will participate in the Pride For Ewa festival at the end of April
  • We will have a summer missionary joining us in June and July

Thank you for praying

I want to thank you all for praying.  When we sent out word that Samantha was having abdominal pains, you responded with prayers and encouragement.  She is doing well.  The doctor’s believe that it was a cyst and then an infection.  Both are being taken care of.
I also want to thank you for praying for our intern, Matt Lincoln, and his father.  He has told me of all the encouraging emails he received from you and I was proud to have you on our prayer team!

Prayer Requests
Please be in prayer for the following:
  • A church member who is recovering from surgery
  • A church member who is witnessing to his coworkers
  • Kerry’s adoption, set for May 18
  • Financial provision as we transition away from outside funding.  Our NAMB funding is being scaled back over the next few years.  Our funding from Second Baptist Springfield will end in June.  We are confident that the Lord will provide.
  • Our launch in April.
A final thought
Earlier this week, I road my scooter (JonWay Neo, 4-stroke, 80cc) on a 147 mile ride around the island of Oahu.  One thing I noted.  Hawaii has religion.  I passed historic church buildings, I passed buddhas and other idols.  I passed a Mormon temple.  Hawaii has religion, but Hawaii needs Jesus!  Remember Luke 10:2 and pray that workers are sent to the harvest!
Aloha in Christ,
Aaron Davis




September Update and Prayer Requests

1 10 2014

The past couple of months have been a time of new ministry and a lot of excitement about the future.

Homeless Outreach

Delivering water in the tent city in Kaka'ako

Delivering water in the tent city in Kaka’ako

Recently, we have been spending one afternoon per month in the “tent city” in Kaka’ako.  Here, hundreds of homeless people live in a sort of shanty-town community, forever worried that the rising real estate prices will cause the government to push them to a new location.  It is eye-opening to say the least.  Yes, we can have all kinds of discussions about the problem of homelessness in Hawaii.  Yes, some of these people are there because they are on drugs.  Some are mentally ill.  Some may be trying to “fly below the radar” of the police.  We do not go to judge nor do we imagine that we have found the solution to the problem.  We go to say, “God loves you and so do we.”

“I always thought I’d kill myself before I wound up here,” she said.  After losing her job and seeing her family leave the island, she is clinging to the last things she has, an old minivan.  It has become her home.  We met her on her birthday, but she did not want to celebrate.  She cried as our ladies prayed with her and we are making plans to see her again.

“I had a job,” one man said explaining that he and his family had just set up camp three days ago.  They are one of many make-shift houses comprised of tents, tarps, and pallets.  One of our men knows what it is like to work your way up from rock bottom, so when he heard this, he made some calls.  There are entry-level labor jobs to be had if you know the right people.  Not only did we pray with this family, but we let them with two very strong employment leads.

These are the kinds of things we encounter in Kaka’ako.  We fill our wagons with water, diapers, and snacks for the kids, and visit each tent to see what is needed.  Our hope is that in doing so we can share the gospel as well.

Now some might say, but what does this have to do with a church in Ewa Beach?  We believe that if we serve near the heart of God, he will bless us in Ewa Beach.  Furthermore, as a pastor, I am seeing how this work outside the comfort zone of our church is prompting us to more and more outreach in our own neighborhoods.

A Growing Congregation

This outreach is resulting in growth.  Our average attendance has passed the “30 barrier.”  This came largely because people have been doing two things: inviting their friends, family, and neighbors, and talking with them about the message.  They ask questions and listen and we are seeing more people join us.

Our prayer needs

  • Pray for our intern Matt Lincoln as he reaches out to young people in Waianae.  Matt hosts two Bible Studies per week, earns his room and board by working at the Baptist conference center, and is trying to get a job as a substitute teacher.  In his free time, he can be found in the streets, basket ball courts, and beaches of this infamous neighborhood trying to show young people a better life than the gangs are offering.  Please pray for his ministry as well as the support he needs.  Pray that people here will join him in his work.  Pray that he will see the fruit of his efforts.  Pray that people will financially support him.  If you would like to support Matt financially, please send donations to Aloha Community Church, 91-596 Makalea St, Ewa Beach, HI 96706 and be sure to note: Matt Lincoln in the memo.
  • Pray for a regular meeting location.  We still meet outdoors in a park but this has two problems:  1) we can always be forced to move if a family reunion or other gathering has a permit.  We cannot get a weekly permit, and 2) Rain.  It rained last week and we had a good time of worship anyway, but it can be difficult to invite people in this setting.  Please pray that we find an affordable location in which to meet.
  • Pray for our family as we move toward adopting Kerry.  We hear different timelines on this.  Some say as early as December, others a year from now.  Pray for all involved.  Also please pray for Kerry’s mother and family.
  • Pray for transition and provision.  We have past the two year mark, and in the church planting world, that means a time where funding is cut or phased out draws near.  We know two things:  1) that the Lord has called us to this work.  2) this work will not fit the typical church-plant time line.  For that we are praying that the Lord provides as we make these transitions.  If you would like to contribute to our support, you may send donations to Missions Office, c/o Second Baptist Church, 3111 E Battlefield Rd, Springfield, MO 65804 and note: Aaron Davis on the check.