Tragedy at sea:
Its with heavy hearts that we write this first post of the new year. On Saturday morning around 9 am I received an emergency text from our director asking all of the leadership team to assemble in our conference room. Once gathered we were informed that our sailing yacht the Hawaii Aloha had capsized off of the Kona coast and one of our crew members was missing (for a more detailed account of the incident, and status of our crew please visit ywamships.net).
My job was to gather staff and volunteers to go to the site where the vessel had run aground (at the four seasons hotel north of Kailua-Kona), and begin to pick up debris, and clean up whatever may wash up on shore. For the next two days I helped organize 100 or so volunteers to clean up debris, and to gather the crews belonigns that had washed up on shore.
For three days following I was at the boat site from early in the morning to late at night as I worked with reporters, insurance people, police, fire search and rescue crews, coast guard, and boat salvagers.
Its been a long few days. We are worn out physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Aaron: Aaron is a 24 year old man who was crew on our sailingvessel. Aaron had been crew on The Hawaii Aloha as it sailed through Micronesia last year and he was committed to spending the next two years sailing through Micronesia, Australia, and Hawaii.
Aaron went to Redondo Union, was a skateboarder, and used to listen to punk rock music. He reminded me of a lot of south bay kids I know and grew up with... kind of had an attitude, super funny (borderline innapropriate), and extra raw in his young faith. Aaron was on fire for Jesus. He had come out of a party lifestly, but had gotten wrecked for God, in a good way, when he did a YWAM school in Australia a couple of years ago. Most of our conversations centered around Hebrews 12... what weights and entaglements could he cast off so that he could run the race before him. This was a young guy oozing with passion.
It was surreal being at the beach, with the boat crashed on shore, fire guys searching the boat, than searching the coast, coast guard helicopters buzzing off shore, Aarons parents showed up, they mostly ministered to us... heavy.
Wednesday was the first day they didnt search for Aaron, and thursday was the first day I didn't go out to the site. They haven't found Aaron, which makes it hard to let go of a little glimmer of hope... but the parents decided to have a memorial for him Tuesday night, it was a lot like the one we had for our daughter (almost two years ago).
In 2004 I was in New Zealand when I found out some devastating news. One of my best friends, Ryan Thomas, died suddenly on a Humboldt basketball court from a heart condition he didn't know he had. It was through that incident that I realized my need to surrender to Jesus, and to live for him. It was through that that God grabbed hold of my life.
Today is the start of a new quarter. Fifty young people are showing up to go deeper with God, to get equipped so they can go out and spread the flames of revival. Some of them were going to serve on that ship. Pray for us... its a somber way to start a new quarter. But God often moves much deeper in brokeness than hype... so who knows what He will do.
Pray for us as a ministry: we have to deal with lawyers, insurance companies, salvage companies...
pray for us: we have lost a crew member and a friend.
One last thoguth: Aaron could've died drunk driving, or doing drugs, but God had changed his life majorly. Instead he went down sailing on a vessle that was loaded with gear to reach out and bless some of the most isolated peoples on the earth. It is a total tradgedy.... but his life wasn't wasted.
For more information go to ywamships.net
Lisa and I have a lot of things we want to share about what else has gone on, but for now we feel to leave it at this.
feel free to write to us with any questions you may have.
We love you guys