Anointed With Hope
Thousands of pounds of free food and goods and dozens of services were given away on Molokai last weekend during what has been called the largest humanitarian event in the island’s history. But more importantly, organizers of the Weekend of Hope said the event was a celebration of fellowship, unity and helping your neighbor.
The Weekend of Hope, held Friday through Sunday at the Kaunakakai Ball Park, was the culmination of months of planning and the efforts of 11 local churches as well as organizers nation-wide. The weekend included three major events: the Convoy of Hope that provided a host of free food and services; the Concert of Hope, featuring well-known musicians from around Hawaii and the country; and the Message of Hope on Sunday morning — a unified church service that spoke directly to the true intention of the weekend’s events. That message, in the words of event coordinator Pastor Cameron Hiro, was the “spirit of unity.”
”This is not a onetime thing, this is a movement,” said Hiro, adding he hopes the Weekend of Hope is just the beginning of similar events that serve residents and bring the community together. The main goal of the Convoy was to meet the needs of the people and have the churches working together, according to Hiro.
The event offered free haircuts to CPR training, groceries to music, family portraits to a kid zone. Nearly 3,000 residents attended Saturday’s festivities, and an estimated 400 volunteers took part. Seven desktop computers were given to local families, along with shoes, backpacks, socks, light bulbs and many other necessities.
Pastor George Nagato, a Convoy greeter and volunteer leader, showed a passion for the event’s mission that uplifted fellow volunteers. The event impacted people “physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually,” according to Nagato.
The Convoy of Hope is a nation-wide humanitarian effort to provide food and services to those in need that has been held on Oahu since 2011. Organizers said they have also done work in Haiti, Japan, and other international locations. Convoy of Hope not only helps in places of poverty but any place in the world where spiritual uplifting is needed, according to Staff Volunteer Hugh Duncan .
This is the first year that the Convoy has come to Molokai, and local organizers combined the event with the existing annual Molokai Concert of Hope.
Convoy Senior Director Ron Showers, who has been actively involved with the effort for eight years, said the Convoy of Hope normally selects locations through the invitation of a government body or community leaders to get the local people actively involved. As Showers puts it, the Convoy’s mission is “neighbors helping neighbors.”
Lynette Eastman is a Convoy organizer who helped greet and count incoming guests. She said she truly felt “anointed” to be on Molokai and to be part of this effort. She said she felt that God chose Molokai at the right time for this event.
Award-winning Hawaii musicians Barrett and Tara Awai have toured all over the nation and performed at Molokai’s Concert of Hope. They described Molokai as “different” and a completely unique experience. They felt the crowd was welcoming and brought a huge feeling of satisfaction.
Amid the free services and music, the message of Christ remained a cornerstone of the event, and prayer circles offered families a spiritual grounding. Jaia and Malia Waits and their son were among many prayer circle participants. The couple shared their experience finding the right church for their family. Having recently switched to a new church, Malia asked their son how he felt about it, and he said he enjoyed it because “they love me” and he feels a warm embrace when he arrives.
Similarly, many Weekend of Hope attendees said they felt welcomed by the event’s spirit of togetherness. Local organizers called the event a success and said they hope to make it even bigger next year.