The Hawaii Aloha first sailed into Kona on September 21, 2013. Since then it has traversed thousands of miles in the Pacific Ocean bringing DTS outreach teams, medical workers, Bibles, and materials to the remote islands of Micronesia.
Jonathan Spainhour, who served as a director on the maiden outreach voyage to Micronesia, recounts the story of inoculating the entire island of Lib. This small atoll in the marshall islands is so remote, even the local government had not been able to visit it due to a boat that had fallen into repair. The team was asked to go to Lib to administer much needed vaccinations. Based on the last census, approximately ten years ago, the population was estimated to be between 200-300 people. That was the last time the island had received outside healthcare. when the team arrived, they found the population had dwindled to only 122 occupants. All but two of islanders, who refused treatment, were vaccinated.
The team also made contact on Washington Island but for logistical reasons had to move on to other islands with a plan to revisit Washington later in the deployment. Jonathan gave some pre-recorded Bible study videos to a local church pastor during the interim, but was admittedly skeptical as to whether they would actually be used. When he returned a week later he discovered not only that the videos had been viewed but many had taken notes. The pastor wanted more resources to help in leading the people of his church! “It was really impactful for me to see this. If we can translate this passion for the Bible into the entire community, it gives us potential to see real transformation,” Jonathan says.
Everywhere the teams went they were welcomed and embraced. Jonathan is hopeful that genuine change will come with continued contact and the establishment of relationships.
Brett Curtis, director of YWAM Ships Kona, is well aware of he need for the establishment of a long-term YWAM presence in the Micronesian Islands. Even now plans are underway to plant seven bases in the island groups – one in each geographical language area.
The goal is for at least five fully deployed vessels to maintain a constant pretense and move about the islands in a cyclical pattern to facilitate the movement of team members and supplies. The ships would be deployed for nine months of each year, returning to base only for servicing and safety during the annual hurricane season.
What were the accomplishments of the inaugural nine month long outreach of the Hawai’i Aloha? Over 35,472 volunteer service hours logged, 73 villages visited, 47 churches encouraged, 336 vaccinations administered, 97 OB/GYN patients assisted, 2,312 local residents trained, 55 local caregivers and other up-skilled, 461 primary healthcare patients treated, 31 service projects undertaken, one audiology patient provided with hearing aid, and 307 optometry patients fitted with glasses, bringing a total of 3,720 outcomes to these precious people in some of the most remote places on the planet. What an amazing accomplishment for one lone sailing vessel and a host of dedicated, selfless people faithfully giving of themselves to minister God’s heart.
Brett Curtis notes, “Our training here at port YWAM in Kona must be intentional, focused on actual needs such as healthcare, inductive Bible study methods, and other practical skills. We want to teach the local people to be able to study the Bible themselves and to be able to follow the basics of good personal care and hygiene. “Isaiah 58:7 says, “share your food with everyone who is hungry; share your home with the poor and homeless. Give clothes to those in need.” Imagine what can bee done with more full-time ships and able staff! The long-term goal of YWAM Ships can be summed up in this statement: Forty ships on seven seas deployed year round – reaching the least, the last, and the lost. If you are interested in the adventure of a lifetime reaching to the corners of the earth, consider joining with YWAM Ships. Spainhour says, “There is no better way to grow your faith than to get out of your comfort zone and go places where most people will never go, or ever see – and give of yourself.” Many opportunities as part of the YWAM Ships crew exists. Come adventure into the remote places of the earth bringing much needed awareness, assistance, love, and hope of the gospel.
To read about YWAM Ships’ ministries and latest developments, visit http://www.ywamships.net.