Photo: Waihee Valley Maui
When you pick up a tube of toothpaste, take off the cap and squeeze it, what happens?
Whatever is inside comes out.
I was bike riding with my dear friend last week out on the south side of Maui. It was a beautiful day with magnificent views of Maui, Kahoolawe, the Pacific Ocean, and even the peaks of the Big Island of Hawaii poking through the clouds. We put the bikes in the car and headed back. On the way, we passed one of my favorite coffee shops on Maui- Grandma’s Coffee in Keokea. It’s been closed since March, but I noticed the front door open. “Let’s Stop for a cappuccino”. We pulled in to a parking area and there was an older man painting some shelving next to us.
As I started to get out, he shouted: “Go on. Leave. Why are you stopping?”
Surprised, I said “We are going to Grandma’s”
“It’s closed. Everything is closed. Why do you think it is open?” he growled.
“Because the door is open.” I answered.
“No, it’s closed. Go on. Get out of here.” He said loudly.
I thought for a microsecond, and formed my response. I planned to ask this grumpy man if he was the owner of Grandma’s, and then point out I was a loyal 20-year customer, and that I had actually helped the barista fix the espresso machine last year. Even if he wasn’t the owner, I was intent on wading through his hostility in an attempt to arrive at civility.
Just as I was opening my mouth to speak, my friend sitting beside me said in a rather loud voice “Hey, why are you being so hostile?” It was at that point that my strategy suddenly evaporated and I put the car into reverse, and began backing out. The painter looked at us with surprise. I put the car into drive and began to move forward onto the road.
It was then that my friend yelled to him “We are very peaceful people.”
We began driving down Kula Highway. I was indeed surprised at the grumpiness of the old man. But I know that the quarantine has put many of us in a position where we have been squeezed. Many of us have had not been allowed to work, and our social interaction has been severely limited. We have been not been allowed to visit our gyms, offices, favorite restaurants, and churches, and see many of our friends. Our civil liberties have been curtailed, and we don’t know who to believe when it comes to accurate health information. Most of all, wearing a muzzle / mask over our mouths whenever we go into a store causes all sorts of feelings to arise.
Frustration, fear, helplessness, rage. Just some of the emotions that have been boiling beneath the surface for many during these extraordinary times.
The toothpaste tube is being squeezed.
As I thought about this, I said to that beautiful, sensitive, compassionate, godly mother of my four children, “I think there might have been a better way to handle that.” Laura looked at me and we began laughing, and laughing hysterically.
That night we had some dear friends over for dinner. Laura told her story. “We are very peaceful people!” Our friends were pounding the table and almost falling off their chairs with laughter.
This all has provoked some deep thinking. I have been diligent to have a social media presence that expresses my perception of truth, my support for the right of all to life, the hypocrisy of the media, and a forceful stance on our Constitutional rights. I too have felt the frustration of these times, and the need to express my feelings. I also have felt the need to correct others’ perceptions and present the accurate point of view. It is amazing to me how some that I consider to be reasonable people and friends of mine can have such a different political point of view!
Lately the Lord has been showing me that my natural reactions to all the injustice that I see happening is really not effective in promoting His agenda. I thought standing up for the truth was one of God’s mandates for me as a Christian, but then I realized that He has a higher value for me, His ambassador.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5:17-20
As I mediated on this, I realized that I would have to give up my right to be right. I actually have been wrong on a few occasions. I also decided that my inherent desire to irritate and poke my political and moral opponents would have to cease. Giving my opinion on a political point of view would also have to change. Everybody has an opinion, right? Who really cares what mine is? What value is there in a conversation where I only tell everyone what I think? Very little, I decided. Instead, I must point all my conversations to the only solution for the immorality, corruption and sinfulness that is evident in many corners of our political, economic, and ethical culture: The Good News of Jesus.
Christianity was revolutionary in the Roman Empire where there was racial hatred, privileged upper classes, rampant oppression, gender disparity, and all the problems we are encountering in our times. Because of the message of the Cross, the forgiveness of sins, and the open invitation into the Kingdom of God, along with the kindness shown by the followers of Christ to people from all strata of society, many entered into the Christian community. They all came to share a common faith, a common hope in eternal life, and a common divine power to overcome the challenges of this life. It was astounding to many that women and men, slaves and masters, Jews, Greeks,
Photo: Our Family- Miskito, Black Jamaican/Miskito, Haole, & Japanese.
Romans and other races were all considered equal before God, and could meet together, worship together, share meals together, learn together, and actively love one another.
The witness of the early church demonstrates that through the message of the Cross, true reconciliation is possible. In fact, it is only through the Cross, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that reconciliation is achievable.
If only we would be filled with God's Love for our brothers and sisters, and treat them with honor and respect! It is only with His power that we are able to do it!
I have a college buddy whom I follow on Facebook. He has very different political views. I decided that I would never say anything to him that would infringe on our friendship. I took it a step further a few months ago and sent his office a box of Rio Coco Beans Coffee. I think he was surprised.
I have a friend from Utila whom I like, but who has said some offensive things about us in years past. Lately I have been able to have a friendly dialogue with her, listen and express my friendship with her.
I am convinced that these times offer us many opportunities to actively take up this ministry of reconciliation. This will only happen if I focus on maintaining my relationship with my friends (regardless of their politics or morals) and building bridges of even deeper friendships, being even a better listener, and trusting the Holy Spirit to lead me in my conversations.
Join me please. Pray for a least three of your friends. Reach out to them. Build a bridge. Share your hope in Christ.
Photo: "We Are VERY Peaceful People
In one of my Ohana groups here on Maui, we were asked to come prepared to answer 4 questions to discuss at our Tuesday night meeting.
- What was your greatest fear during the pandemic/lockdown?
- How did you struggle in your faith?
- How were you victorious?
- How are you doing now?
My greatest fear has been and is my own negative reactions to people while intermingling with the current society. For reasons I am only now beginning to understand and confront, I have a defensive mechanism that rises up within me when I feel accosted or pushed….reminding me of a moment in time where I was surprisingly & wrongly pushed into a large fist of a girl that wanted to fight me over a guy she liked, but he was taking me to a banquet.
This false crack in that fight along with being pushed into her gave me no chance to actually defend myself. There was a shove from behind and my left eye got hit so hard it left the blood vessels broken in my eye turning the whites to red and left me seeing stars to where I couldn’t even stand or have a chance to defend myself in anyway. I decided that day to never be the one to wait to be hit first.
Somewhere in my psyche I made a vow that is now being realized and broken. I went to the banquet with a black eye and red eye whites …I think more out of spite than actually wanting to be there.
I have been challenged in numerous situations in this pandemic…feeling unnecessarily policed and made to feel like a germ that has to follow some rules that make no sense whatsoever to me. Being yelled at by someone even in the middle of following rules while exercising outdoors on the road with no one around….”Stay at home!!!” Unnecessary words being aggressively flung around.
All conjuring up these ungodly thoughts and actions, but usually having the self- control to contain my own ugliness in public. I realized how I was being challenged in this fear when we were peacefully holding signs to support the opening up of small businesses and the overreach of our government here in Hawaii where last we checked we are up to a 44% unemployment rate and a ghost town of an airport here on Maui. An island that runs on tourism… My friends are millions of dollars in a hole that we wonder whether we can recover from…the struggle is real all the way around.
Anyway, as I stood on the side of the road in front of the county building, there was a local guy that came up aggressively and started spewing all kinds of sentiments that I was not enjoying at all. I was thankful that a friend of mine was standing right there with her American Flag and answering him kindly…as I stood there trying to be friendly on the outside but just wanting to slap his stupid nonsensical head.
Instead, I finally asked him his name when he said I looked familiar (I had not said a word yet until then much to my delight)….I tried just relating to him on a few points we could actually agree on in a personal manner. Then he carried on not so hostile anymore. Right after that a woman in a jeep honked by yelling and cursing and sticking her finger up at us and it was not the friendly thumb and baby finger shaka…it was clearly her middle finger and anger spilling out of the vehicle as she passed. I stood there not saying anything at all and I didn’t answer her back in kind with any of my fingers….Good girl right?! WRONG!!!!!
In my head and heart, I had my violent movie playing….and when a close friend asked me what I did when she did that I said,
“Well, when her vehicle came to a stop, I calmly went up to it , opened up her door, pulled her out by her hair and started to pound on her head …not to draw blood on the concrete but just to startle her and ask her why she had to be so aggressive?”
He said, “REALLY????”
I said, “No not REALLY….ONLY in my heart I did it."
Well, just when I thought I was kind of “winning” in the self-control department another incident occurred after having such an uplifting time at our friends ranch talking and being all joyfully spiritual and then going on a beautiful bike ride with Michael…great scenery, peaceful, worshipful heart…thanking God for His goodness and amazing creation all around.
After getting into the car, Michael said, “Grandma’s looked open…want to get a cappuccino?”
“Yes”, getting all excited to go into one of our favorite places.
I won’t bore you with the details since Michael told you about his “very peaceful loving wife already” squeezing her tube of toothpaste and having its dirt fill the car and splashing out on that angry person who was rude at us for no reason.
The only thing Michael didn’t tell you was the last thing I shouted when I said, “Hey, Why do you have to be soooo Hostile? We are very peaceful people…..Brah (I can’t say why I added this, but if you are being stupid , you might as well go all the way in my stupidity & sarcasm)
As we kept pulling out, I noticed his mouth and he was saying, “brah” under his breath as sarcastically as me. Then, thankfully, my calm husband said quietly, “I think there is a better answer we could have given.”
And why was I so thankful?
Because I was about to use the symbol of aggression that lady used on me from her car (I learn by example), but I calmed down when Michael spoke what his answer would have been.
We started laughing at my hysterical ways…..yeah right…..very peaceful people…You know what’s funnier ?
We went to our friends house right after and sat down to have our coffee with him and from the side screen door came a person with two pieces of chocolate cake and Michael and I from a glance thought it was the same painter guy we just encountered at Grandma’s.
I felt this sinking feeling in my heart because of my misbehavior…Michael and I looked at each other and laughed when we realized…whoa, thank God it wasn’t him….
Needless to say, I am not a good candidate to stand peacefully on the street or interact with any hostile population (I cannot be trusted)…so I asked the Lord to please allow me to do something more constructive. He said, “You keep praying and try to come out to play nicely…”
So, I invited all my protesting friends for lunch on the next protest day and confessed my inability to stand there with them, but I could stand with them in prayer. So we ate together shared our woes and prayed together for our nation, government and leaders. I had to repent and pray for myself to behave in my heart better. Confession and revelation of ourselves is always victorious and helps my faith.
Presently, I am also battling to victory the walking out of this season with my ailing dad and trying to keep myself under the watchful care and dominion of the Lord. Takes moment by moment trust and faith….Without faith, it is impossible to please God. And without humility and prayers, we can never make the progress that pleases His heart. My goal is to please his heart and glorify His name. Thus my living and breathing is constantly stayed on ,
“If we confess our sins , He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Photo: at Punchbowl cemetary with Ron in front of the Uyeda Resting Place.
This month please pray for:
1) Ron Uyeda's health. We are arranging home care for Ron now at his home in Honolulu and all his children are meeting there this next week.
2) The Covid Virus has arrived on the Rio Coco and and many are sick, with some deaths. Please pray for protection for our team and families.
3) We have great opportunity to share the love of Jesus in these days. Pray for opportunities with your friends and those who need a touch from Him.
4) Pray that God will meet all our financial needs these months for the school project in Nicaragua as well as our missionaries.
Seek The Lamb Giving.
We encourage you who are with us to join the effort through your gifts to our schools as well as our missionaries.
To make a contribution to the school project, click here:
If you would like to support our missionaries, you my do so here:
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
We are roasting extra light roast coffee now, along with our traditional light, medium, and dark roasts.
All are delivered to your door, and you are sending money to the school project with each purchase, aside from enjoying some very delicious coffee.
Thanks for spending time with us this month.
If you have any comments or questions, please contact us at