Saturday, June 27, 2009

70 years!!

Happy Birthday Loloma!
This weekend we celebrated Loloma's 70th Birthday. (Loloma is the dear lady living with us while taking her DTS). Her daughter and Granddaughter flew in from New Zealand, and we had a huge birthday celebration with her family and the entire missions community.
It was a great time of celebrating God's faithfulness and blessing over Loloma's life.

She truly inspires us, like Psalm 145:4 says "One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts."
We are so blessed to live with Loloma everyday, sharing our house and everything with her; amazed by her stories of Gods faithfulness over her whole lifetime. We also praise God because in a few months we'll be able to do the same for our "next generation". Then we will have three generations living in one house.
Hopefully God will give us all 70 years to "tell of his mighty acts".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Excercising our faith

'Osi had a interesting experience excercising his faith lately.
The farmers surrounding our village were burning their feilds, preparing to plant new crops. The other night 'Osi noticed one fire behind the camp was getting larger and seemed to be coming quickly toward our houses.
He noticed one of the staff of our mission running around frantically asking for the Director. 'Osi thought "I don't know where the Director is, but who am I? Who am I in Christ? I know my position as a child of God. I can go ask God for miracles and He will answer my prayers."

So he marched confidently towards the fire at the end of our campus, and said "In the name of Jesus I command this fire to stop by the time it reaches this coconut tree. You will not harm our houses."

Then 'Osi returned to the main chapel building where we were all gathered to have a meeting. During the meeting a few of the girls were watching the fire nervously, saying how worried they were that the fire was coming too close.
But 'Osi told them not to worry, he already prayed about it, it will stop. Most of us kind of laughed at him (sadly) he has such child like faith and confidence in his prayers. But by the time that fire reached the coconut tree, the rain started falling. God quenched the fire and answered 'Osi's prayers. We all have daily opportunities to excercise our faith, are you praying specific prayers in confidence that God will answer?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Harvesting peanuts!

The mission we are serving with in Tonga claims to be the only self-funded YWAM base in the Pacific. We have 50 acres of land that we lease from the Tu'ipelehake, and we use much of it for farming. Everyone living at the mission takes time to serve on the farm. This week we had fun harvesting peanuts! We will sell these peanuts, using the profits to help pay for various ministry expenses.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Join the Peace Corps or be a missionary?

While living in Tonga I (Jen) have had the opportunity to meet several Peace Corp volunteers from America. They are serving in various villages, and we love to talk about life in Tonga and how we sometimes miss American food or hot showers.

I have been told that most Peace Corps volunteers are not Christians. Out of 20 living in Tonga I have only met 2 believers, and they claim to be the only ones. I met these two at church, and try to encourage them regularly because they are very discouraged, claiming to be continually bombarded with ridicule for their faith. Please pray for them.

On the other hand, this is a fantastic opportunity to share God's love with the others! It is wonderful that they have come here voluntarily, to serve the Tongan people. They share that common ground with Christians, to serve and sacrifice for the good of others.
I have started contacting a few of them for casual visits, and hope we can become friends. Hopefully we can all broaden our understanding of faith and the culture we are living in now.

Thank you

For the past 5 years in missions we have been strengthened and protected all over the world because you were praying faithfully.
Sometimes people send us a word of encouragement which is exactly the thing we need to sustain us in a spiritual battle. Your partnership with us is vital, and we want to improve our communication with you. From now on we will try to update this weblog with new photos and stories every week.

One of our main goals in ministry is to proclaim God’s goodness through our testimony.
Revelation 12:11 says the Christians overcame Satan “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
We all want to be counted in that number of Christians boldly sharing our testimonies right?

So what can we do to be in better communication with you? Should we send newsletters more often? Maybe every 2 weeks instead of every 4-6 weeks? We enjoy praying for you every day when you send us your prayer requests….should we send you more letters or postcards?
If you would like to receive letters through the mail we can do that. We apologize because sometimes our mail doesn’t reach America, coming from our remote 3rd world country. But we’ll keep trying. We received our first letter here this week and were so excited. Jen’s Grandma mailed us corn seeds for our garden (thanks Grandma!)
Whatever we can do from our side, we really want to try our best to improve communication. Because we care about you, value your partnership, and need to share more testimonies for God’s glory. Amen?

Here is the exciting news….

We’re having a baby!
This was a total surprise to us, because we planned to wait awhile—but God did a miracle.
This is a blessing and testimony to ‘Osi’s family too. His 3 older brothers have been married for many years with no children. They really want children but are not walking with the Lord. Now they see how we are walking with God and He blessed us with a baby even when we were trying to prevent it. God is so amazing!
So now we are over the shock, and getting excited. God’s plans for us rarely seem “practical” or “safe”. Remember what He called Noah to do? Or David, or Esther? (Check out Hebrews 11 for more fantastic examples of faith). When we put our faith in Him He can show His greatness and do miracles.
This month we moved back to the YWAM Missions compound on the main island of Tonga. We felt we should return here for a bit more Bible/ministry training while helping serve the mission. Because everywhere we’ve lived the past 5 months of marriage we get heavily involved in local ministry, and quickly the Pastors offer ‘Osi a leadership position among the youth or asks us to pioneer a pre-school….random things. But every time we bring it to God in prayer, we get verses about how we need more training and humble positions first.

While we are serving and training here…..

We are sharing a cute cabin with another missionary on campus. She is a darling 70 year old lady named Loloma, who just gave her life to Jesus and wants to be a missionary. We love Loloma as our own Grandma, and are thrilled to have her in our family. She came with nothing to support herself, and no family support. So we applaud her bravery. She is a true disciple, leaving everything to follow Jesus. Loloma is also helping Jen improve her Tongan, because she talks constantly but doesn’t speak English. The only English word we have hear her speak is "enough!" when we give her too much food.

Maybe you were wondering why we took the past 4 months off from our “normal” ministry to do youth ministry in other villages with our family. Truthfully, we have not changed our missions focus or vision, but were respecting the culture we live in. In Tonga after marrying the man is expected to take his bride home to help his Mom and meet the whole family. Indeed we spent a lot of quality time with the whole family, sometimes packed into a 3 room house with 4 different families. Spending our “honeymoon” in the same room with Grandpa was awkward, but overall God used us in exciting ways.
A few of our relatives recommitted their lives to God simply because they saw that we read the Bible and pray together daily instead of screaming and fighting. Osi’s brother and sister in-law have been married, wanting children for years but never could. But when they saw that God blessed us immediately with a baby, they started praying and going to church again….after inviting God into their marriage they conceived 2 months later! Hallelujah!

The most amazing miracle…..

Is that after 16 years ‘Osi’s Dad is finally reuniting with his Mom. ‘Osi’s Dad, Kesomi sat in our kitchen last week crying as he confessed his failure to a group of friends and family. Kesomi had left ‘Osi’s Mom Kelela 16 years ago in Tonga with their 7 children. Then he moved to Alaska, saying he wanted a divorce and had another girlfriend. But Kelela refused to give up on him, and she prayed for the next 16 years. Kesomi said recently he has been convicted by the way his children are missionaries trying to serve God, yet he should be the one setting an example. So he flew back here to Tonga and is currently reconciling with his wife.

Malo aupito! (Thank you very much) for your encouragement, advice, prayers, and partnership with us. We always pray for you, and look forward to communicating with you more regularly.
Love 'Osi, Jenn, Loloma, and the baby.

Eating the neighbor’s dog….. and the never ending Easter Celebration

Life is different in Tonga.
The other day I sent ‘Osi to the shop to buy some milk and he came home holding the neighbors dog by the feet, dead. He found it on the road, and guessed a car hit it, so we can cook it for lunch. We’ve been on a tight budget, since the U.S. economy went down our missions support is down 1/3 what it was before. But God still provides manna from heaven! Jehovah Jireh, our provider.
We know that you may be facing a similar struggle right now, so we have been praying for you and your family everyday. Praying you will experience God’s peace and provision for your family. Tongans always tell me how proud they are of being free, they don’t feel pressured by jobs schedules, time, or bills….just free. Just live, and eat what God provides. Dogs are tasty with salt and onions. Meanwhile the building project continues, as we help our Mom finish her house.

Our brother Viliami also came up for a week to help us build the house. Here is a recent family photo.Here in our village ‘Osi and I helped lead the Easter program for the children/youth in our church. We had to be there from 6 A.M. until midnight the whole weekend, so I was squirming like a little kid on the pews. Overall I didn’t contribute much to the program because my Tongan is not fluent yet, but ’Osi was fantastic teaching and preaching. Several kids gave their lives to Jesus, Praise God!!
♥ ‘Osi and Jennifer Halalilo


'Osi enjoys working on the house, he is learning alot about carpentry. We just installed the plumbing, so our Mom can have her first indoor toilet! We are all very excited.

March 2009 Newsletter

We have so much exciting news to share with you this month, and here are the highlights:
We moved to Vava’u the beginning of this month. Vava’u is another main island in the kingdom of Tonga. ’Osi’s Mom Kelela, and some siblings still live in his childhood home where we are living temporarily to help Kelela finish her house, and renew her farm. ’Osi’s Dad and all 3 older brothers moved away to find work, so Kelela really has to work hard to care for the other children on her own.
I love, Kelela so much. She is the perfect picture of a Proverbs 31 lady. When we first married ‘Osi told me “Jennifer, I love you so much. I love you like I love my Mom.”What!! That’s every American wife’s nightmare being compared to the perfect Mother in law!
But now that I am living with Kelela I understand, I can’t be jealous of an angel. Besides ‘Osi gives me ample reason to feel secure. Every day he scrubs the Tongan mud off my feet and tells me how much he loves me. He is a wonderful husband. Another way God blessed us this month is through ‘Osi’s Dad giving us land for an inheritance. Land in Tonga is passed down from Father to son, and his Father gave us the best piece. We praise God for this generous gift. Hopefully we can build a little Tongan house from coconut leaves so we have a permanent address anytime we need to return from missions.
When I first visited the property I cried and cried. Its everything I ever dreamed about, and ‘Osi was totally confused when I reenacted a scene from Gone With the Wind – grabbing a fistful of dirt I declared “With God as my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!!!”
‘Osi was working as a youth leader for 3 different churches in Tongatapu before we moved to Vava’u. We are still involved in ministry everywhere we go, and I have internet set up at home now to continue mission communications work. Also I finished two documentary videos this month for YWAM Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. But our main ministry now is friendship evangelism with many of our unsaved family members and friends in our village.
Everyone goes to church as part of the culture, but many people don’t have a relationship with God. So alcoholism, abuse, and other problems are common within families in our village.
Village life centers around church meetings. So I really need you to pray for me to learn Tongan faster. I love going to church at home, but going to church Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 in the morning, then again on Sunday 3 times a day is a bit much when I don’t understand the language.
It was hilarious, today was the quarterly giving Sunday, but I didn’t know the protocol. ‘Osi and I were rushing out of the house when I grabbed our tithe, thinking it was a $50 but it was only $2. So the protocol in our Free Wesleyan (Methodist) church is every 3 months we save up our money and bring a large offering to the front. Then the deacon calls out our name and the amount we gave. Man, I was so embarrassed giving our $2 widows mite.
Good thing God and the Pastor are more concerned with our hearts than public displays of holiness.‘Osi has had many meetings with the pastor of our church here. They have several ideas for reaching the youth in our village. Most of the youth are going to church on Sunday as part of the culture, but during the week they are taking drugs and alcohol and falling away from God’s plan for their lives.
Please pray for the youth in our village. It’s difficult to reach people who think they are Christians because they go to church, but they don’t have a real relationship with God. We want to encourage them to see that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life.This promise is true for you as well dear friend.
God bless you as you grow closer to Him,
♥ Jen and ‘Osi
Praises and prayer requests:
1.) Praise God for the opportunity to serve our family and new village in Vava’u.
2.) Please pray for our good health, Jennifer is recovering from dengue fever this week
3.) Praise God for our ministry opportunities to the youth, through ’Osi’s favor with the Pastor 4.) Pray for Jennifer to learn the language and adapt to being the only foreigner in the village, it can be lonely sometimes