Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii
This brings us to the spring of 2022. The announcement came that this year’s conference was going to be held in the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii; right on Waikiki Beach! God does work all things together for good! The Hilton Hawaiian Village was chosen as the venue in honor of architect and pastor, Francis Oda. Francis has been with TOW for many years and this year’s conference showcased his design. The layout of the hotel includes several tall towers with rooms, along with everything you would need for a small ‘resort’ village surrounding the towers; all of this is spread along Waikiki Beach. One of the features we liked best was that the local residents were able to get passes for free parking at Waikiki (whereas it would have been $51 a day for us to have parked a rental car on the premises). They have fireworks on the beach every Friday night, and it was such a great experience to walk around with the local people, as well as with those who were staying at the hotel. It was also the closest that either Richard or I had been to the ‘repercussions’ from fireworks.
On the Monday night before the conference officially kicked off, the TOW Conference team hosted a free luau for any ‘early attendees’ at another one of Francis Oda’s newest designs; the Henry and Jeanette Weinberg Center. There is no parking available there, so three large tour busses full of attendees loaded up at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for the ride to the venue. This property had been a rundown building that had been used by fishermen to keep their nets in—even though it is snuggled between Waikiki Beach and an inlet for smaller commercial boats. The property had turned into a hangout for those on abusing substances. It had definitely become an eyesore. Francis’ was approached to envision a ‘redo’ for the property and the result was amazing.
The luau was wonderful and included entertainment by a well-known Christian singer. Volunteers from several of the local churches treated us like royalty, including serving four different types of local entrees and local desserts. This luau was definitely one of the highlights of the conference!
There is so much more to share from five days of teaching, from the speakers, as well as from the rich fellowship with other attendees. Nonetheless, I will end with just one more highlight—part of the story of the history of Christianity in the Hawaiian Islands...
At one time in the history of Hawaii, it was a Christian nation. In fact, throughout the conference we were reminded that “Aloha” represented the breath of God. The Hawaiian people would great each other with Aloha. They would put their foreheads together and breathe the ‘breath of God’ into the mouth of the one they were greeting (they obviously were not germ-conscious in the early days). They were literally blowing the ‘breath of God’ (or the Holy Spirit in modern terms) into the life of the one they were blessing.
Near the last part of the 1800’s, Hawaii had a Christian queen who ruled the nation according to the Bible. Eventually, speculators from the United States came to Hawaii in search of land for sugarcane plantations. These men ‘worked’ their way into the government of the queen in an attempt to encourage her to unite with the United States. When their conniving didn’t work. they physically removed the queen and put her in jail. Even then, she pled with her people to never confuse Americans with Jesus; but to continue to faithfully follow their Lord!
Please pray for the Hawaiian Islands. There are many huge buildings being built, but we were told the average Hawaiian is struggling to keep afloat.
Aloha, may the breath of God rest upon you, and, as always, we are able to minister in Cabo San Lucas, MX because of all of your prayers and faithful support. Thank you.