Worshiping in God’s Creation

Some of our group glad for being at Puna Baptist today

Today has been a great day for me. It started off by the sunrise in my previous post and was followed by church at Puna Baptist Church in Pahoa. The sermon really hit home to me and was illustrated very well. The pastor preached on Matthew 5:13-15 which seems to be following me around wherever I go. In talking about being salt and light he used several examples that I’ve never thought of before. One is the fact that salt was worth so much in ancient Roman society. Roman soldiers were even paid in salt. The next was that, in ancient times, they would put salt under their stoves to help them retain heat but, after awhile, the heat would cause a chemical reaction in the salt that would actually cause it to lose its flavor. Both of these gave me a lot to think about.

Once church was finished we were greeted by the congregation with “aggressive hospitality” (all my Worldview Academy friends will understand). We got to talk to the pastor a bit and get to know the congregation and be asked, several times, where we were from and why we were there and how long we would be there.

Our professor's wife and one of our group with "Just Tom" and Snow White

They got excited that people from the Mainland came to visit them and wanted to worship with them. We also got to meet a man whose name tag read “Just Tom” and he had a chicken named Snow White. He let us all hold her and visit with her. In general the people were very genial and it was wonderful to get to know them and I can’t wait for church next week.

The back of the guys' house... The cliffs down to the water are about ten feet behind me

After church we got a chance to go to a farmer’s market down the street where I got some sweet Hawaiian bread and got the best Pad Thai and Thai Iced Tea I’ve ever had. This experience, however, was marred by a gigantic beetle (seriously, folks, this thing was the size of Godzilla) landing on my shoulder and causing me to throw my chopsticks down which, in turn, spilled Pad Thai all over the table. I was very traumatized by that bug. After our trip to the farmer’s market we went, semi-anti-climactically, to a place where we could go to Starbucks and Yogurtland (guys, my frozen yogurt was $3.99… I couldn’t have gotten the same amount for less than $6 in Spokane), then go to Target to buy groceries and anything we forgot to bring to Hawai’i. This finished out our first excursion off the day and we headed back to the houses.

The whole group at the black sand beach

Next thing we know we’re driving around, kind of getting lost after having changed into our swim clothes and sunglasses with cameras in hand. Eventually we made it to the black sand beach that was around 30 miles away instead of the 15 miles we thought it was. Once we got there we climbed over several miles (okay, I exaggerate… It was more like half a mile) of Pahoehoe lava to the black sand beach where there were hundreds of volcanic rocks all over the beach making a beautiful noise as the waves crashed on the shore. We stayed here for an hour or so while some of us built cairns out of rocks or stood in the waves or sunbathed. While there we were called “haoles” only once by a guy that looked like he had been on the island for less time than we had.

After lecture we were checking notes and getting ready to go home

Once we finished there we returned to “Home Base” for a brief lecture on astronomy, radiation, and telescopes. This turned out to be quite brief as student attention was waning and we were all getting tired. This resulted in us finishing the notes and going back to our respective houses for some sleep. And, for that, I say good night.

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