Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Laundry Day....

Every day is laundry day around here, with 230 or so rooms, and 300 or so beds, but yesterday we really hit the jackpot! All of our 46 special VIP guests have gone now, & the participants rooms got a complete change, so you can see how it acumulated! And I thought I did a lot of laundry at home! Every sheet, pillowcase, placemat & tablecloth is ironed, folded in a certain way, & put on shelves. The guy resting on the bin of towels is Richard, & we would be lost without him--he is the Maitre'd of Housekeeping, does all the laundry(all we do is bring down the dirty stuff as we do rooms), & then we work at folding the clean stuff, and putting it away. But many hands make light work, and slowly we are getting through it. You can see the group of us hard at work in the accompanying photos! Three couples left today, so had yesterday off, and two new couples have just arrived, with 3 more coming this week, and we need all the help we have here.

It is hard to believe that it is December tomorrow, the Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringers are out at the malls & grocery stores, but it just doesn't feel right! We will arrive home in 3 weeks tomorrow, the Lord willing, so our time is quickly coming to an end. We must get a little more sightseeing done befor then.

Our meals have been exceptionally good while all the guests were here, but I notice a real shortage of vegetables and fruit. When I see the prices in the grocery stores, I can understand why!

The weather here has been nice, rather humid, but it is cooling off, the pool also cooling, unfortunately. By the way, nearly all our work is done in areas without air conditioning, especially the laundry! Each room has its' own unit, but it is to be off when we leave the room, and if it is on in a room we are cleaning, we turn it off.
So many of the participants tell us over & over, how amazed they are when they see us do what we do, and how much they appreciate it, which makes our day!

Amy is back on American soil now, as of Sunday AM, she & Katrina are having a good visit in New York City for a few days, and tomorrow, Katrina will return to Kingston, and Amy will go to visit her boyfriend in Indiana, befor going west again.
The Canadian Post Office has a stamp with a nativity scene, but you must ask for it, for your Christmas cards, etc. Sales this year will determine if it will be done again next year,so please spread the word to your churches, and friends.

This is all for now, I pray that you and yours are well & safe--Blessings to you!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday-Nov 27/05

Grey Cup Day - but the Americans were not too excited about it!

We went to the high country today to church and visited a plantation after where we had lunch. It rained most of the day which is very unusual for this part of the island. In fact it started raining last night around eight o'clock and yesterday was our day to work/be on call. This happens about every six weeks and if there is an emergency you are expected to deal with it. Well one emergency is rain since you need to close the roof over the two atriums in the facility. By the time we found out it was raining, it was pouring and we got drenched getting the roof closed.

One of our perks is the use of four vehicles, three Ford vans and a Toyota truck with an extended cab. We can use these for shopping, sightseeing, church and other trips. The stipulation is that it is on a first comebasis, and you must post a sheet and extend an invitation for others to join you. I am not a big fan of Ford, but theyare better than walking. The two in the picture is older, but the third is realitively new and the truck is the newest, and probably the most dependable.

We had another convocation on Thursday and the picture of Marlene and me is from this evening. The valedictorian from this group was from Nigeria. He gave an excellent speech on behalf of his classmates. It is very hard to describe the quality of these participants. This fellow runs a Christian TV network in Nigeria which covers the African continent. For him to be chosen by his peers, gives some idea of the quality of the people coming out of Africa to be trained here.

I mentioned in a previous message about a former CIBC colleague and his wife being here for the Thanksgiving holiday. The couple in the picture are Henry and Eleonore Esau who now live in Winnipeg, where he grew up. Henry spent five years in Frankfurt, Germany, but otherwise the furthest east he came in his 38 years with the Bank was Thunder Bay. Henry is on the Board of Haggai in Canada.

We are starting week #9 of our stay to-morrow and we will say goodbye to nine volunteers this week, four couples and a single young lady. There will be four new couples arriving, then only departures9including us) up until Christmas. There will be about 10 couples remaing here over the Christmas break, and we understand the paint store will be getting plenty of business. There are two more weeks of classes, then a three week break until early January.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

International Praise Night

Another interesting night last night when each region presents a worship presentation, either in song, dance, or a combination. As usual, the Africans stole the show. They are the ones in the picture in the more colourful clothes. The evening started with a wonderful poolside dinner, especially when the caterer try to outdo their previous best.

Marlene and I lingered at dinner with two participants, one from Malaysia, the other from Jordan, both of them pastors. Their course will end this Thursday with convocation. I asked what was the highlight or surprise of the four weeks study here in Maui. Their answers were quite different, but I thought very revealing.

The pastor from Malaysia said he was surprised by the "vision" of the Haggai Institute. Notwithstanding all he had read and learned, he was really impressed by what the Haggai program is doing in the world to further evangelism.

The pastor from Jordan was equally surprised by how much his "perspective of the Christian community had widened", because of his exposure to participants from 34 different coutries. When you consider and think of his situation, pastoring a church in an Arab country, it sure makes sense. This fellow is very well spoken and he is also very defensive of the US involvement in Iraq. His position is one that is challenged by many of his classmates.

Dr Aldo, the VP of Program & Development had some witty comments to close out our evening. He complained that he believes the Africans only have four words in their songs, plus they are 7-11 music worshipers, seven songs which they repeat eleven times.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


A quiet Sunday afternoon, maybe the quiet before the storm. We have many guests here, most of whom are staying for the big US Thanksgiving holiday. Some suggest it is a bigger holiday than Christmas. A sign at Walmart advertised that they will open at 5:00am this Friday. We also have a Convocation on Thursday, so it will be busy. No half day off this week. One of the people I met this week was Randy Menary, a former NHL hockey player who grew up in Leamington. He played for Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta. He works for Haggai now in Atlanta and he oversees fundraising. Since it costs Haggai US$9100 for each participant they train, Menary has a very important job.

We went to a church on the beach this morning and it was a different experience. Good message, but the music was not our type. That seems normalat many churches here, the worship team performs moreso than leads, and this morning it was "heavy metal".

The bottom picture was taken from our room. There certainly is lots of beauty in the scenery around the island. Having the camera with you to get it in picture is the challenge.

We are now into week eight, and it is time to start making a list of the things we want to do before leaving. We will rent a car at least once to see the parts of the island we haven't yet seen.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Routine

It has been a very busy week here, and will be so until after Thanksgiving , next weekend, as we will have a very full house, half of whom will be leaving, [participant, that is,] and most of the special guests. That will mean that we will have all those rooms to Deep Clean, [unless we have to Spring Clean them, which is even more detailed than normal]. Today, we are both on "PM On Call", until 10 pm. Tomorrow we have to do the Costco Run (we take film to be developed for the participants), instead of today, which we now do twice a week. Next week is my turn to do the Coffee Break preparations & clean up, and warm up whatever is available for lunch , for we volunteers ,and clean up again. So, after our poolside dinner this evening, or tomorrow, I need to do some baking. Not fun in a foreign kitchen with foreign flours, etc., but our budget doesn't allow us to buy everything.

Sometime soon, we will rent a car, and go up to the top of the volcano, about a 2 hr. drive. Ralph wants to see the sunrise up there, so that will mean getting up in the middle of the night. We are more than half-way through our time here, so must put our available days off to good use. Next week no-one gets the half day off, and we are on call again next Sat., 6am to 10 pm. The days and weeks just fly by!

Almost forgot, last night we and another couple went for a drive down the road to an area with a boardwalk by the ocean, and walked for some distance, by moonlight, torchlight, and footlights along the pathway, watching and listening to the waves come crashing in, and seeing the whitecaps on the dark water, 2 nights after fullmoon. The sky was very clear, and the moon was bright, and all the hotels and shops had lots of lights on, so all the beautiful palm trees were so clearly silhoueted [sp ?] outlined, t'was loverly!!!

It is so amazing to be here, and be a part in some small way, of The Great Commission! It is so effective, it is astounding that this wasn't done before in this manner! We hope you are all well, safe and warm, may God surround you with His love and peace!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hawaiian Sunset

Marlene has been looking for a perfect Hawaiian Sunset since we arrived and while not perfect, the attached pictures may be as close as we get. The whole process in these attached pictures took only about four minutes, and that will shorten by December 21st, when the sun reaches the southernmost part of its journey.

We took a drive to Lahainia today. It is a former whaling town on the west coast of the island. Marlene thinks there are unique shops there, Ralph thinks the shops in one town are the same as the next. Another volunteer couple from High River, Alberta (Joe Clark country, but not fans) went with us, so it was a nice afternoon, on our half day off.

I went to Rotary at lunch today and we had a speaker from Maui Economic Development. A startling statistic that she passed on was that only 16% of the population was born and raised here. No wonder I have been having trouble finding these people. One of thier goals is to retain their culture and with so few natives, it makes you wonder how successful they will be.

The facility here is very busy this week with visitors. Some 40 are expected including senior employees from Head Office in Atlanta, board members from various countries and major donors. There are two Canadian directors expected, one of whom I understand is a retired VP of CIBC.

One of the two classes in session is giving their regional presentations this week. They segregate the 50 participants into five regions of the world, and each as a group give kind of a "SWOT" analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) on their area of the world as it relates to evangelism opportunity. They discuss population, politics, religions, culture, hindrances, etc. While you only get the perspective of the participants that are here, there is a question and answer session at the end of the presentation and these can be very revealing. There is a participant here from Jordan, and he was questioned extensively about the situation in Iraq. On the other hand some of the discussion is very lighthearted, such as a participant from Nepal who explained that his country is squeezed by the two most populated countries (India and China), is very mountainous, but if you unfolded the mountains, Nepal would be four times bigger than the USA.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Thursday evening was graduation night for a class of 57 men from 34 different countries. It was our second experience of convocation, the initial was 60 ladies the first week we were here, but having helped to welcome the Thursday class, and watching the change in their attitudes and how they interchanged with each other, made this one much more meaningful. It is no secret that some come here with some misgivings/hesitancy. When they start to experience the benefits and the learning, you can see a change start to happen. Also, none or very few know or have even met each other. By the time they leave, they are "brothers" in Christ and there are bear hugs all around.

The fellow in the picture with me is Samuel, a banker, (Vice President of CitiBank), from India. He was voted valedictorian by his classmates. I told him bankers were not that popular in Canada, and I was very impressed thata banker would be voted valedictorian. He and I have had many interesting conversations about banking and also his work with the Salvation Army in his home city. He has a very dry sense of humour and he has been a pleasure to get to know.

The fellow in the centre of the picture with Marlene and I and the other couple, was the "Resident Coordinator" (RC) of the graduating class. The RC is kind of the "mother hen", responsible for the smooth sailing of the class. He deals with scheduling, side trips, coachs any difficulties and the like. This fellow, "Lovejoy", is an alumni of Haigai, and a real gem. He is from South Africa, grew up in Zibaubawe, lived in the USA for about 15 years, went back to South Africa to start a ministry and is now moving back to the states. The reason, as we understand it is that his kids are too American to live in South Africa as blacks.

The third picture is a choir the participants put togther during their time here, and I think recruitment was helped by the fact they had one of our volunteers, a very attractive 28 year old young lady from Oregon as their pianist.

We worked today (Saturday) which is very unusual, because we have a new class moving in today, tomorrow and Monday. Their classes start on Tuesday. This is the first time a class has come in the same weekend a class was moving out, while a second class is in session. There were 35 rooms to turn around, so the ladies were busy. We still had time for a visit to the pool so it wasn't too bad.

We are now six weeks into our 12 week stay which is hard to believe. It has been a wonderful experience to date and we both look forward to our remaining time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

International Night Entertainment

To-morrow is the final day of classes for one of our group of participants and convocation will be in the evening. So we had an International evening Monday when each country or region struts their musical or entertainment talents, and it was all pretty reserved until along came the Africans. All they had for music was the Egyptian on his guitar , but that's all they needed. Besides being very colourful, they sure had a good time. The South Koreans brought in a very colourful group from a local church (see picture), but they couldn't match the Africans. It was a wonderful night to see the entertainment offerings of each group. It was also an education on the various cultures.

We had a very interesting discussion tonight with two fellows from Bangledesh. They couldn't believe we have a daughter living in Aphganistan. Why on earth would someone choose to go there, unless they were forced to. That's a very good question and neither of us had the answer, if there is one! The Christian population in Bangledesh is .02% of the population. Then along came a fellow from Pakistan and theChristian population there is all the way up to 2.0 %.

We have a new volunteer couple this week from Iowa and they will be here until February. There are three couples departing this week, two from Canada and one from USA. The couple in the picture are the Americans and they live in Mesa, Arizona. When not here, they live in a motorhome and volunteer with RVICS (Roving Volunteers in Christ's Service). This group is very similar to SOWERS in that they do building/repair projects at Christian camps and schools. They have been part of the volunteer renovation team here doing upgrades to all the rooms and hallways on one flooor of one wing. This group is headed up by the couple from Moorefield, Ontario, who are here for the fourth time.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Yesterday we took a day trip to an outer island, Molokai, which is a 1 1/2 to 2 hour ferry ride from Maui. We travelled with another volunteer couple from here at Haggai, they are from near Comox, on Vancouver Island. We all thought the boat trip was quite rough, especially in the open waters, but the ferry employees only gave it a 4.5/5 out of 10. We took a guided tour of the island which has a population of 7000 people.

The island is mostly known for a "lepers colony" which still has 15 to 20 patients. While they are now free to leave, they have decided to live out their lives in the colony on the island. A Belgian priest by the name of Father Damien is quite famous for his work here in the late 1800s and he was actually sainted by Pope John Paul in 1995. The colony is located on the Kalaupapa peninsula (see picture and plaque), which is a 1700 foot drop from the lookout point we stopped by. It looked very peaceful and the scenery was spectactular. Separate tours to the colony are available, but they are lengthy and we were busy with our island tour.

Molokai used to have a thriving pineapple industry, but Dole pulled out about 1990 and the local economy has been depressed ever since. Our guide told us the hourly salary at the time Dole left was $0.95 per hour, but they moved to Mexico and the Phillipines were they could get labour at $1 per day. I'm sure the company has a different slant to the story. The only two businesses we visited were a "macedamia nut farm" and a "coffee plantation". The nut farm was quite small (the tree in the picture grows the nuts), the owner and two part time employees. The packaging for coffee they sold at the cooffee plantation said it contained only10% Hawaiian coffee, the remainder came from South America??

The island is very laid back, two cars at an intersection are considered a traffic jam, and our guide seemed to know everyone. The beaches are of course beautiful, which seems like a given over here.

We left Haggai at 6:00 in the morning and arrived back at 6:00 in the evening, so it was a full day, but well worth the time and the expense.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Africa is Alive

We listened to a report tonight here at Haggai from the African participants - these are called regional reports. Christianity is really on the move in most of these countries. Quite a few of the African participants are full time employees, which means their evangelism efforts are on their own time. They wore their national dress for their presentation, so it was also very colourful. I am amazed as to how good their English is. It is no problem to converse with them.

We said goodbye today to a volunteer from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was my Michigan Wolverine partner, so it may be harder to get the only TV which has cable, in the future, for Michigan games. My hope of getting over to Honolulu to an NCAA football game is not going well. They play most of their games Saturday @ 6:15pm and the last flight back is at 9:00pm, which would mean staying overnight. That might be pushing my luck just a little too far. Also, I have not been able to find someone to go with, either at Rotary or here at Haggai, which I find surprising!

I am posting some pictures from the Rotary meeting I attended yesterday. They had a very interesting speaker from Tourism Hawaii. She told us, very bluntly, they don't want more tourists (roads, etc are very busy), but they do want tourists who spend more money. She then showed statistics of how much people from USA West, USA East, Canada, Japan, and Other spend, per person per day. You guessed it, Canada was on the bottom (about $158 per day). Since I was the only one in the room from Canada, I was looking for a side door to make my exit. Oh well! Rotary meetings are held at a "five star" Japanese owned resort - The Diamond Resort - and the lunches are very good, pricey, but good. However, they don't have Loriann Rowe's lemon pie matched though!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mid Week

Tomorrow is Wednesday, a half work day. It is actually more than half since we normally start at 7:30 and finish at 3:30, so the morning is usually 4 1/2 hours and the afternoon is 2 1/2 hours. Nonetheless it is nice to be finished by lunch.

Yesterday we had a bunch of people (locals) trimming our palm trees here at Haggai. I think the primary goal is to cut down the coconuts so they don't land on someone's head from about 25 feet up. It was fun to watch them go up those trees and do their thing.

Our new class of particpants have started studies today, but three have yet to arrive. Hopefully they will show up, but it is quite surprising the success rate they have in getting people here. It is interesting to get their first impressions. For most it is a "top of the mountain" experience. The class has six particpants from Brazil, the most represented country. There are approximately 12 from the African continent, so that will add colour to the surroundings.

We have two Canadian volunteer couples leaving in the next week, and one American single. There are some new volunteers coming in over the next few weeks, so already we are losing our "rookie" status.

One of my new jobs is to sell "throw away" cameras and film to the particpants and take to Costco twice a week for processing. Marlene will not mind the shopping opportunities with this new role.