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.




July Update

13 08 2014

July was a great month for partnering with others to reach Hawaii for Christ!

Prayer Walking

prayer walking team We were visited by a group of young people from Chinese Baptist Church in Honolulu and the Chinese Baptist Church of Orange County California.  They spent an afternoon with us prayer walking some neighborhoods of Ewa Beach and inviting many people to our church.

Baptisms and Waianae

Throughout the past year, we have partnered with Darla Richardson and her work with Chuukese teens in Waianae.  We are making plans to bring Matt Lincoln on as a church planting intern for the coming year.  Our purpose is to work with Matt to prepare for a church plant in Waianae in the future.blog baptism

Matt is off to a great start! We were invited to join with Darla, Matt, and a team of summer missionaries to celebrate the baptism of three young men.  These young men are being discipled by Matt and are attending Aloha Community Church.  I cannot think of a better reason to look ahead to a church plant, even in an unlikely place among unlikely people!

Moving Forward Individually and Together

Aloha Community Church is recognizes that everyone is on a journey.  Some are merely curious about Jesus.  Others are Christ-followers.  Some are making disciples.  We walk this journey together and invite others to join us.  This has become evident throughout July as we have watched many take on ministry and seek opportunities for growth.

Hurricanes and Prayer Requests

I want to thank everyone for their concern and prayers as two hurricanes threatened Hawaii.  They did not amount to much on Oahu and for that we are grateful!  We live daily by the grace of God.  We do ask that you pray for communities on the Big Island that are still without power.

We also ask that you pray for:

  • We have spoken to many people recently that need the Lord.  Pray that we can see a harvest!
  • Matt Lincoln is currently trying to raise support for his year-long internship with us.  Please pray for the work he is doing in Waianae.  If you are interested in helping, you can send donations to Aloha Community Church, 91-596 Makalea St, Ewa Beach, 96706.  Please be sure to designate that your support is for Matt Lincoln’s ministry
  • I have been dealing with a herniated disk in my neck.  I had surgery for a herniated disk 5 years ago and now another one is giving me problems.  I am currently going to physical therapy.  My therapist is excellent!  (He is also a great teacher in our children’s ministry!)  Please pray that this can alleviate the problem and surgery will not be needed.  I also began showing symptoms of a kidney issue.  However, tests revealed nothing and the symptoms went away.  Praise God for healing!  Please pray for the Lord’s provision as these tests were an unexpected expense.
  • Please pray for Kerry and his case.
  • Please pray for Caleb.  Please pray that the Lord uses him in school, baseball, and all of his many activities.
  • Please pray for Samantha.  She leads a ladies Bible study.  Pray that many can be reached through this.
  • Please pray for the Lord’s continued blessing on our work here!

Aloha in Christ!

Aaron and Samantha Davis





June Update

3 07 2014

Still in the Park

Many people ask if we are still in the park. The answer is yes, and that is a good thing. In the past month at the park, we have been able to reach out and minister in ways we would not have if we had not been there.

Of course, we would love to have a permanent place to worship and minister, but Hawaii real estate is a tricky thing and we are content with whatever the Lord has for us.

Seeing Growth

I am happy to see solid growth. By this, I mean that not only are we growing in size, but we are growing spiritually as well. We are teaching, emphasizing, and encouraging the small steps of the everyday walk with Christ. In doing so, we are seeing new growth in our people and a desire to be on mission. This is very exciting.

Networks and Exciting Plans for the Future

Recently, I have taken on the task of networking Oahu’s church planters. We have had two great meetings. One in which we met and discussed one planter’s new work and another where we ministered to seafarers and prayed for a future ministry at Honolulu Harbor. This network is good for fellowship, increasing awareness of the needs on Oahu, and supporting one another in ministry.

Further, we are in the early stages of planning for an internship that will eventually result in Aloha Community Church planting another church on the island. We are excited about this possibility.

Prayer Requests

Our church has military families that are currently dealing with overseas training and deployment. Please pray for these men and their families.

For two years, we have constantly prayed that God would lead us into the lives of those who need Christ. We are seeing it at every turn now. Please pray for these opportunities as they arise.

Recently, our foster son’s mother asked us to care for him permanently. We are more than happy to do so and overwhelmed with her trust in us. Obviously, the case in court is slow, but as always, we ask for prayers for the case, for this little boy, and his family.

Over the past two weeks, I have dealt with two medical issues. One we now know to be a herniated disk at the base of my neck. The other is still unknown. There are no tumors, so we are assured that it is not major, but we still need answers. As for my neck, this is familiar territory. Please pray for healing and guidance. Please pray that the ministry of Aloha Community Church does not slow in this time. Is it any wonder that as we see the Lord working, we are hindered in such a way? Pray that this is a time of great work for the church!





April Ends With Promises of BIG Things To Come!

5 05 2014

Aloha!

Let me show you a picture. 

Image

On the left is Easter 2013.  After meeting for a while in home groups, we decided that Easter would be a great time to head over to the Beach Park, set up a canopy and have a time of worship.  It was great.  On the right is Easter 2014.  That took two pictures, because not only did we have several visitors, we had a full children’s service as well!

It was a real blessing not just to see the growth we have experienced in a year, but more so in that at least 5 families brought visitors!

The following week, we had a booth at Pride for Ewa festival.  There, we gave out over 200 bags of cookies (they were labeled with our church information), 20 Bibles, and a ton of “Lifebooks” (youth oriented publications of the gospel of John).  We also gave out a lot of balloons to the kids who came by to play our game and we were able to speak with a a lot of families.

April has been a great month, but it is only the beginning.  We are looking forward to some very exciting things on the horizon.  Here are some things we are planning.  Please be in prayer for them:

  • Setting a calendar full of ministry and outreach to our community where everyone in the Aloha Community Church ohana takes part!
  • Beginning a Church Planter Institute to begin training our members to plant churches
  • Partnering with Child Evangelism Fellowship to offer 5-day clubs throughout the communities of the Ewa Plain.
  • We have arranged to rent space in the busy Kunia Shopping Center for our Sunday worship services!!!  Please pray for us as we work out all the details and as we enter a new phase in the life of Aloha Community Church.
  • Spearheading a network or convention wide effort to begin mission work and establish a church on a remote island in Chuuk.
  • It is exciting to try to imagine what the Lord has in store.  I hope you will continue to pray for us.  Please pray for our Aloha Community Church family.  Our people are facing surgeries, illnesses, births, combat deployments, weddings, and much more.

Aloha in Christ,

Aaron Davis





Update and Prayer Requests

19 03 2014

This latest update comes at a peculiar time (middle of the month) because February and March were not normal months for us (what is normal?).  We spent three weeks in Missouri attending the Global Missions Conference at Second Baptist Church of Springfield, MO and visiting friends and family.  This was a much needed time of rest and recharge.  We were blessed to participate in the conference and to speak at Trinity Baptist Church of Willow Springs and First Baptist Church of Birch Tree as well!

Meanwhile, Aloha Community Church continued forward with our overseers at the helm.  I am happy to report that during my absence, the church saw 12 visitors!  When we returned we found everyone excited with new ideas for the future.

Now, I want to dedicate the rest of this update to our biggest prayer requests for Aloha Community Church.  I listed them last month, but I want to explain them and ask you to pray earnestly with us. 

Regular location to meet for worship

Most of our mainland friends envy us for having our worship services in the park.  However, the park has its disadvantages as weather frequently disrupts things.  We need to find a place that will consistently be our meeting place.  This is very difficult to find as the most affordable places are either in use or not available and the available places are not affordable.  Please pray that the Lord leads us to the right place.

More and more people come to know Jesus

When planting a church, it is easy to focus on attendance numbers or finances.  However, the primary reason we are here is to share the Gospel and see people come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  Please pray that our church becomes a mobilized force of evangelism, sharing our faith with those around us.  Pray that the Lord blesses us by letting us see changed lives. 

People to serve faithfully in the church

Please pray that everyone in Aloha Community Church uses their gifts to serve.  We do not want to be a church of one or two people doing while the rest watch.  Pray that from the very beginning we are all working as a team. 

Opportunities to serve in our community

Please pray that we see and seize opportunities to serve in our community. Pray that we can be a light in dark places and truly show the love of Christ. 

Our long range planning

Samantha and I are deeply convicted that ministry in Hawaii CANNOT be temporary.  We must be committed for the “long haul.”  Please pray for us as we make plans both personally and in ministry to ensure that we can be as committed as we need to be. 

Partnership opportunities with other churches

Please pray that as we work with other churches, both on the island and on the mainland, we will find ways to serve together for the Kingdom.  Pray that we will see effective mission teams join us from the mainland and pray that local churches will join us in spreading the gospel as well! 

Future church plants

Even as we are getting started, we already discuss the possibility of more churches.  In fact, just last week, two different members of Aloha Community Church spoke to me about planting churches.  Please pray that the Lord makes us a church that plants churches! 

Leadership training for new leaders 

In order to accomplish our goals, we want our church to have well training leaders.  Please pray as we implement training.

New small groups form and are successful

Please pray for our small groups.  Some of our members have said that these groups are a lifeline for them.  Please pray that these groups exhibit true Christian fellowship.  Pray that these groups grow and multiply. 

The health and security of our family

As always, pray for our family.  Pray for our health.  Pray for our spiritual health.  Pray for Kerry’s case in family court.  Pray for Caleb as he lives in the unbelieving world of school and baseball.  Pray for our finances that we can meet this ever-present challenge of life in Hawaii.  Pray that the Lord keeps us safe, secure, close to Him, and provided for. 

Aloha in Christ,

Aaron Davis





January Update

13 02 2014

Coffee, Conversations, and Volleyball

People are willing to discuss spiritual matters if we are willing to reach out and listen.  This is what we learned in January when a college group from Second Baptist Church of Springfield Missouri came to work with us for a week.  They spent most of their time in the coffee shops of our area talking with people.  They also reached out to homeless people at Hau Bush beach and even played volleyball with the local fire department.  All of this reinforced what I have long said affects Hawaii: isolation.  Oahu is an island in the pacific, far removed from anything.  The culture of Oahu has similar characteristics and loneliness becomes an everyday part of people’s lives.  For this reason, it is imperative that Christ followers reach out in love, be willing to listen, and become genuine friends of those around us.  This genuine love for our neighbors will grow a church far more effectively than any event or strategy.

 There is No Status Quo

We learned a vital lesson in January.  When it comes to advancing the gospel, there is no sitting still.  As we faced illnesses within our church family and several off-island job assignments, it became easy to coast; to maintain the status quo.  From this we saw that no such place exists in a church.  Instead, we must always move forward and that is exactly what we intend to do.  We are reaching out to our friends, family, and neighbors.  In fact, throughout the month we saw three visitors in our worship services!

Ministry in New Places

Recently, we have partnered with NAMB missionary, Darla Richardson.  Darla works with the Chuukeese people in Waianae.  We have come along side Darla to work with teenagers there.  This can be a difficult ministry, but it is going well.  We are excited about the potential here and are making plans to invest in this area  for the long term.

Letting God Put it All Together

We are seed planters.  All Christians are called to seed planting ministries.  Granted, I really wish that it was a miracle-grow ministry or even a harvest ministry, but we are seed planters.  Only God can grow that seed and then the harvest is His. I am beginning to see how this works.  Consider this.  I plant seeds in different ways.  One way is that I serve the community as a CASA (court appointed special advocate).  Now, in that capacity, I am not allowed to discuss matters of faith with the families I work with.  Yes, they know that I am a Christian.  They know that I am a pastor.  But that’s all I can really say.  The rest I can do only by loving them.  Can this possibly result in any fruit, you ask?  Remember, I’m a seed planter.  As I have stated, we also have a ministry to teens in Waianae.  Imagine my joy when I learned that the latest addition to our ministry there is none other than one of my CASA kids!  Friends, the Holy Spirit puts such things together.  Go, plant the seeds, and let God put it all together!

Here we come, Missouri

In February, we are participating in the World Mission Conference at Second Baptist Church in Springfield, MO.  This will be a great time to celebrate what God is doing in Hawaii.  We look forward to speaking about our work here as well as visiting with family and friends.  This will be a time of rest and refreshment for us.  Meanwhile, our lay leaders here are taking over and I can’t wait to see what they do!

Please pray for the following:

  • Regular location to meet for worship
  • More and more people come to know Jesus
  • People to serve faithfully in the church
  • Opportunities to serve in our community
  • Our long range planning
  • Partnership opportunities with other churches
  • Future church plants
  • Leadership training for new leaders
  • New small groups form and are successful
  • The health and security of our family




Are You Praying?

15 01 2014

Image

Last month, we asked for prayer for a few specific things.  I want to address those in detail for this month’s report.

A facility

Currently, we meet in a park.  This works great for us now, but its limitations are showing. We have had to relocate twice for rain and met in my garage instead.  We’ve lost a canopy to winds.  The space in the park is first-come first serve so we never know if we will be in the shade or the sun.  We would love to have a regular place that meets our needs.  This could be a school, community center, or retail space.  Please pray that we can find something that will be affordable.  We believe that establishing something more permanent will make it easier to publicize our worship services.

Small Group Leaders

ImageWe believe that small groups are going to be the key to growing a healthy church that plants churches.  With that in mind, in March, we will begin using curriculum from the Timothy Initiative to train small group leaders.  We hope to train up everyone in our church to use their gifts for ministry, but especially train up small group leaders.  Many are hesitant, feeling that such a ministry is reserved to a pastor.  Pray that people answer God’s call to make disciples in this way.

Finances

I am proud that Aloha Community Church is a giving church.  However, we are a small church and growth will come but it will come slowly.  Please pray that as a church, we can have the resources we need to do the ministry to which God has called us.

Personally, I am well taken care of.  We are blessed to have sponsor churches that provide for our needs.  However, I do have two requests in this area as well.  First, please pray that as our current sponsors taper their funds down, new sponsors will come along side of us in this work.  Second, though our daily expenses are provided, unexpected expenses can catch us off guard.  Please pray for the Lord’s continued provision for our family.

People

ImageWe desire to see people come to know the Lord and join in the fellowship of Aloha Community Church.  I was very excited by a couple of things this month.  The first was our Christmas party.  It was great to see so many people gather for fellowship.  We are a diverse bunch, but the love we have for one another is evident.  Also, we have seen some visitors in our weekly services.  Please pray that this continues all the more.  Please pray that each person in Aloha Community Church will begin to invite others and to share the gospel.

We are also involved in outreach to Chuukese teens in the community of Waianae.  We partner with NAMB missionary, Darla Richardson in this effort.  We were glad to host a Christmas party for these kids and begin weekly Bible study.  Please pray that this can be used to change lives among the Chuukese.

Clear Vision

Plans change.  A lot.  I know that when you are a church planter, you are supposed to have a clear and concise plan and stick to it.  However, with every step we learn more, we adjust and sometimes, we just have to find a different path.  Please pray that as Aloha Community Church journeys together, we will be granted a clear vision for all that we should do.

Finally, I ask that you continue to pray for my family.  Please pray for our foster child’s case as it moves through family court.  Pray for us as we make travel plans to visit Missouri in February.  Pray for our continued health and safety and pray that daily, we grow closer to Christ.

As I look back over 2013, I am overwhelmed with the love and support we receive.  We cannot say enough to express our gratitude for all of your prayers, gifts, and messages.  2014 is sure to be a huge year in the life of Aloha Community Church.  I am glad that you and I can watch this together!