March - July 2017 Furlough & Family Reunion Trip
Updated: Sep 11, 2018
At the end of our CMDA/USA medical mission trip this past week, we were graciously treated to some R&R with the team in Cancun. On the last morning, I (Inez) woke up early to take a stroll on the beach before the tourist crowds arrived and reflected on the time serving the Lord during the week with the group. As I prayed, strong winds picked up and blew my hair directly straight eastward, just as the palm tree
branches did surrounding me. Instantly, I remembered words to a familiar hymn:
"I, the Lord of wind and flame; I will tend the poor and lame I will set a feast for them; My hand will save Finest bread I will provide; Till their hearts be satisfied I will give My life to them; Whom shall I send?"
This week showed us once again how the Lord holds his people across different countries together at every joint, equipped and building itself in love. This is mirrored with other groups and local churches we partner with as well, including ministry helpers who faithfully work alongside us. How privileged we are to serve with the people God sends. How blessed we are to see how His saving hand is manifested through their love in tending to the broken. We thank the Lord for sending people who surrender their hearts to Christ and for preparing them to do good works by leading them with his Spirit.
Thirteen quick years have passed since we began ministry, and tomorrow we begin another furlough in the United States. We trust the Lord will lead us safely from Florida across the states to Seattle and then to Hawaii for a large Ahina family reunion. I am especially excited to see my mom and siblings. I have not seen them for 7+ years now!
Our schedule is limited since we return to Yucatan on the same arrival day as our next home building team from Everett First Presbyterian. So, although we may not have the opportunity to visit each of you, please know we remain grateful for your encouragement, support and prayers. Blessings to each of you.
Below, we will be posting photos below on this post during our trip along the way. !Saludos!
We're On Our Way!
UPDATE MARCH 2017 - Furlough
* Late March we started our 4 month, 6000 mile furlough with an 8 week drive across the States to visit supporters, churches, friends & family - a different church each Sunday or Wednesday night. We flew into Orlando, Florida - then on to Birmingham & Huntsville in Alabama - Dayton, Ohio - Reinbeck, Iowa - Wichita, Kansas - Midwest City & Edmond both in Oklahoma - Phoenix, Arizona - San Diego, L.A., & Novato in California - Lebanon, Oregon - then a 3 week visit with our daughter Malia, Adam, and grandson Ethan in Sammamish, Washington. To cap it off we joined in the fun to Hawaii for a 4 week family reunion including for Byron’s 45th high-school class reunion. Gracias for all those that provided lodging, meals & fun along the way. See photos below!
* Thanks for lodging:Both Vic & Cathy, & Dave & Melissa, in Orlando; Mary E. in Huntsville, AL; Bob & Barb in Dayton, OH; Dr. John & family (& mom, Dr. Robin) in Midwest City, OK; Our friend ; Evie and Randy in Phoenix, AZ; Diane & Rick in San Diego; Doug in Compton, CA; Aunty Doris, Moana & George in Novato, CA; Debbie in Lebanon, OR; Malia & Adam in Sammamish, WA; Darcie & parents in Everett; Bill & Chris in Shoreline; Laura & Brian, & friends on Bainbridge Is; Lionel & Yuko in Ewa Beach; Chantal & Ola in Kapolei.
* Special Thanks To:Bill & Les in Orlando for welcoming us back to the U.S.A! Dr. Robert for Inez’s oral surgery in OK; Jeff in Birmingham for providing us lodging in Santa Fe, NM; Sharon Keyser for helping us get around in Hawaii.
BACK IN SEATTLE AGAIN!
BACK TO THE HOMELAND: HAWAI'I NEI!
Byron's 45th Kamehameha High School Reunion
One of the major events we look forward to when returning to Hawaii is Byron's week-long school reunion with events held daily. Kamehameha schools is a private institution which was established by the Hawaiian princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in 1887 to educate children of Hawaiian descent. As she was a devout Christian, her values of integrity and service are still upheld in the school today:
Mission, Values & Vision
Aloha (to have compassion and empathy)
ʻImi Naʻauao (to seek wisdom)
Mālama (to care for and protect)
ʻIke Pono (to know and do what is right)
Kuleana (to take responsibility)
Hoʻomau (to persevere and perpetuate)
Haʻahaʻa (to be humble)
This year, the school celebrated the classes ending in "2" & "7". So having graduated in 1972, Byron celebrated his 45th reunion, sister Sharon her 50th, and sister Ola her 60th. A lot of alumni fly in from out of state and many choose to stay on campus in the dorms. It's beautiful to see the strong bond among classmates and long lasting relationships that were formed since childhood days at Kamehameha. Such a wonderful time for both of us to be with friends that we get to see every 5 years (or when we're able to get back to Hawaii). Mahalo Pauahi for your legacy. Imua Kamehameha!
Ahina / Lavilla Family Reunion - Wonderful spending time with such a fun-loving gang. This group that also gets together every 5 years is dove-tailed immediately before or after the Kamehameha School reunion as two of Byron's sisters are alumni as well. And to explain: the Ahinas are from Byron's father's (Joseph Ahina Jr) side, and the Lavillas are from his mother's (Sophie Lavilla) side.
Celebration of Life for Herb Weatherwax at Pearl Harbor
Byron's classmate from Kamehameha '72, Mary Elizabeth (dancing the hula in top left of photo collage below) invited us to the celebration of life in honor of her late father, "Uncle Herb" Weatherwax. He died at 99 yrs of age and would have turned 100 yrs old on the day of the celebration. A native Hawaiian Pearl Harbor survivor, he later would be often photographed as a volunteer greeter at Pearl by visitors. He also wrote an autobiography, "Counting My Blessings" and was featured on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's show Rock The Troops. The ceremony was held at Pearl Harbor, and we were honored and blessed to be among those who loved him dearly. Thank you M.E. for allowing us to be there. It was truly a highlight of our trip back home.