Missions Retreat 2010: Forging Unity through the Power of Diversity (Part One)

God is a diverse God.  He is multifaceted.  The moment I try to search Him out is the moment I find myself with more treasures to seek answers too than when I first began.  He is unfathomable and yet precisely simple.  Highly exalted above all and yet found in the very tissues of the cells in our human bodies, giving life, exuding energy.  He is the life and essence of the Christian.

Day 1: We started off on Saturday with a huge buffet spread in the ARC (Adult Recreational Center).  The selection was refreshing and we received a vast array of gifts such as magazines, lotions, books, a shirt with the theme of the retreat: Shining Your Light for Him, and many other goodies.  What a blessing it was!

Our theme-cake.

We made our way over to the hotel to begin a partial tour of the island.  On the way, our transporter, David, was kind enough to take a detour and we got to see a huge Military Cargo plane preparing to take flight.  Awesome!

Everyone boarding the Jambo-Jambo (as the Marshallese call it) to begin the island tour.

Our hearts were all immediately on the same page.  God was in the midst of the group and we were already enjoying each others company.  The missions group was comprised of about 20 Spirit-filled, on fire, energetic individuals who had one goal in mind…to eat and have fun fellowshipping together!  And yet I saw, for a brief moment, a small replica of a huge expanding vision:  Germans, Americans, Filipinos, Chinese, Slovakians, Africans…Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Charismatics, Catholics… It’s amazing what a common goal and a little freedom and flexibility can do to bring people together.

One of the first stops was a bunker that the Japanese used when American warships first began their push to overtake Kwajalein during WWII.  This bunker had several bullet holes in the concrete and was blown entirely off in some places.  The island has many historical sites including where the first initial shots were taken when our troops landed in the amphibious assult.

Japanese Pillbox which was reconstructed by the U.S. after heavy damage.

Here is an excerpt about some of the fighting taking place on this side of the island:

“During the day, most of the Japanese had fought from inside bunkers and pillboxes.  As night fell, the Japanese emerged from their bunkers and pillboxes during a chilling rainstorm and attacked American forward positions.  The first night for the Americans was long and dismal and filled with terror and confusion.”

Malte (near left) and AnnElise (near right) discussing the map of battles in that area.  AnnElise was a faithful, fearless guide throughout our entire stay.  She was a wonderful hostess.

This is a Japanese Memorial dedicated to the nearly 3500 Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen who died defending Kwaj.

Detail of the stones with names of some who lost their lives.

There were satellite globes everywhere it seemed.  If you look closely, there is a rope that covers the entire globe.  This was included so that snow could easily be swept off…go figure.

Same principle applies below.  See waaaayyy up there at the top, a door…with no steps to it?  Yes, that door.  Built to spec according to another warehouse facility in the states that was partially underground, so the door was functional, it left much to be desired here.  This facility (the most expensive warehouse in the world) was built above ground…but no one questioned the necessity of a door at the top of a building with no way in or out.

The group looking out over the ocean, Justin (not pictured) was interested in the surfing potential of this particular place…he deemed it worthy.

Another globe at the top of the hill.  But this hill is different.  This hill launches big fiery missiles up into the crystal clear sky…

We cruised over in the Jambo-Jambo to the island Country Club where the Senior Prom was getting ready to be held.  There was much decorating and chatting going on about the decorations.  We stayed for a moment and then headed back to the hotel.

From left, Lenka and Emily.

We got to check out the Marshallese Cultural Center and then back to get ready for the evening; dinner seaside at Emon Beach.  But these events will be picked up next week in Part Two.

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