After not returning home for one year, I finally spent my winter break in Hawai`i. Once I became an Oregon resident this past summer, all I thought about was getting past Fall term as quickly as possible so that I can once again be reunited with friends, family and island life fun. On the plane ride home, I told myself that I was going to make the most of my winter break. Reflecting on my trip, I can proudly say that I lived up my trip to the fullest with no regrets.
When waiting for my sisters and our puppy Mocha to pick me up from baggage claim G, I stripped my heavy jackets from my body to resist them from sticking to my skin. Although I had only been away from home for one year, the humidity felt familiar yet foreign to me at the same time. I knew that it was going to take time to be accustomed to Hawai`i’s weather again. When my sisters pulled up to the baggage claim curbside, I heaved my luggage bag into the trunk, jumped in the backseat and embraced my sisters from behind as Sara drove towards home. That moment felt unreal especially when I had only seen my sisters in pictures and videos on FaceBook and Instagram in the past year. When Sara pulled up to our parking stall, we hurried upstairs to our apartment to greet my parents. My family was just as thrilled as I was to see them!
That night, my mother invited me to her work place’s Christmas party. My mother is currently employed at Job #1: IBM Maintenance Company as a janitor and Job #2: Nippon Restaurant as a cashier. Each year, my mom looks forward to attending her work places’ end-of-the-year parties. That night was the IBM Christmas Party. As a child, I enjoyed these parties and later grew tired of them as an adolescent. In high school, I was reluctant to attend these parties but now that I’m older, I now understand that I need to be there for my mom and support her and the events that she wants to go to. I understood that the reason why my mom loves attending these parties was because she rarely has free time to relax and have fun. With that, I willingly told her that I would love to attend her party. I ended up having tons of fun! It felt nice to be around a diverse crowd of people again. I was happy that I ate lots of good, legit Filipino food!
The next day, I woke up early to attend Grace Bible Central’s 9:30 am Sunday service. This was located inside Honolulu Community College’s cafeteria. I saw my sister Sara sing for their worship team for the first time. Sherina and I walked in on them practicing before service started and I decided to snap a few shots of their rehearsal. I watched her in admiration as she sung songs of praise and glory to God. She sung to the heavens with her eyes closed and hands raised high. Passion. I looked to my left at Sherina and saw that she did the same thing as well. In retrospect, I was in awe of how “free” they both were and pitied myself for not feeling the same way.
My sisters and I were raised knowing God and His teachings. A few years ago, my faith was rocked with conflict and I strayed away from Him. I have to admit that as much as I love the college culture, it has taken a toll on my spiritual wellbeing. I came back home to Hawai`i with critical mind and weak faith. The things I’ve learned in college had kept me from experiencing the same kind of spiritual liberation my sisters felt. Having to struggle with the question, “What is truth?” placed me in discontentment with myself. I wanted the same kind of freedom my sisters have which is why I promised myself that before returning to Oregon, I wanted a closer relationship with God. This marked the beginning of my spiritual healing process.
I also recorded their performance during the service. Click on the link below to view.
Shout to the Lord- Grace Bible Central Oahu
Took a quick picture with my sisters after service.
Later on that night, Sara and Sherina invited me to their YoungLife Christmas social where people shared food, sang Christmas carols praising the birth of the King and read aloud bible scriptures. The last time I sat in a large group reading bible scriptures was back in high school when I had Confirmation classes. I first felt kind of awkward because I hadn’t been very involved in Christian communities in a while and on top of that, I barely knew anyone. Overall, I ended up having a great time especially at the end when people were dancing and taking lots of pictures. This was a high energy crowd and I was honored to be part of it.
Part 2 coming soon.