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Five Miracles and an Answered Prayer
by David Milotta
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Five Supernatural Stories and an Answered Prayer

There were powerful supernatural forces at work that enabled the mission to Hawaii to be so successful. You may call these events  coincidences , but I see these all as  God incidences . In addition to the Hay Stack Revival, the marvelous movement of the Holy Spirit to motivate churches in New England to support foreign mission, and the personal inspiration of Henry Opukahaia, there was another amazing work of God.
When the first company of American missionaries left Boston, Massachusetts on October 23, 1819 in the 85 foot long Brig  Thaddeus , they prayed that God would prepare the way for them. Previous mission efforts to the South Seas had met with mixed results. The majority of the early British missionaries to Tahiti had returned to Australia after a few years, starved and defeated. Three of the missionaries to Tonga had been massacred and the other  went native . Two remaining missionaries on Tahiti married non-Christian women. Yet the experience of the missionaries in Hawaii was totally different. The following quote is from A Residence of Twenty-One Years in the Sandwich Islands, by Rev. Hiram Bingham, the leader of the first missionary band. They had just arrived off the coast of the island called  Hawaii on April, 4 1820, and sent out a team from the ship to report on the local situation. After being at sea for 164 days this is his account:

Waiting nearly three hours, we hailed their return, eager to catch the sound of the first intelligence; and how were our ears astonished to hear, as it were, the voice divine, proclaiming on the hills and plains,  In the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord,make straight in the desert, a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3 King James Version) How were our hearts surprised, agitated, and encouraged beyond every expectation, to hear the report:  Kamehameha is dead---His son Liholiho is king--- the tabus are abolished---the images are destroyed,---the heiaus of idolatrous worship are burned, and the party that attempted to restore them by force of arms has recently been vanquished! The hand of God! How visible in thus beginning to answer the prayer of his people, for the Hawaiian race.

God had answered the prayers of the missionaries and their supporters to provide a foothold for the Christian faith in Hawaii. The old Hawaiian religion was destroyed, and the new rulers were open to the presence of the missionaries who could begin the work of evangelization and education.

This powerful account of the faith of the early missionaries made me more aware of the reality of the supernatural. I believe in a God who literally answers prayers just like in the missionary days. I believe that the events depicted in the Bible that concern angels, miracles, spirits, and demons are literally real, too.

I have had some supernatural experiences that have shaped my faith. I first wrote these accounts of spiritual happenings in my life during my sabbatical leave from Waialua UCC June through September 1998, four months total. (The church has my undying gratitude for this educational opportunity.)

We all have a way in which we understand reality and look at the world around us. This world view is determined by many factors; age, sex, marital status, children, religion, culture, education, health, economic status, emotional stability, are but a few. All these together are the tools that we use to understand our reality, to explain life.

In many cultures this world view includes a belief in the supernatural. In much of the developed world the belief in God or the supernatural has diminished. My point in these stories is that if you do not have a place in your  world view tool box for the supernatural, then you are missing some vital tools for a comprehensive grasp of reality. God and the supernatural are very real.

I ve come to realize that there have been guiding hands, spiritual forces, that have made their way into my life so that what and who I am is not totally a product of my own doing. These forces are here to prepare, direct, and eventually call me home to heaven. These spiritual forces have intervened at crucial times in my life to help me out. After twenty five years as an ordained UCC minister, with an earned doctorate in my field, this is how I have come to believe in supernatural events. These are events beyond scientific investigation, yet they are real experiences in my life.

Dedicated to God Before Birth
My mother and father wanted to have children, but were married for ten years before I was born. Perhaps it's the red wine of Italy, but both my sister and I were born in Naples, Italy, while Dad was stationed at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters.
My mother is of German extraction but has olive skin, black hair, brown eyes, and looks like some pretty Italian actress. She is very artistic, paints, speaks Italian, is a great cook. At this time she was depressed over not being in Paris, the real Mecca for aspiring artists. Culture shock, demands of Army life over seas, and unfulfilled artistic zeal started to draw a dark cloud over Mom.

My dad was sent on NATO business to Paris and Mom went along for a visit. Mom wasn't feeling so well, queasy and all, when she should have been like a hound with its nose in the air. She was in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris when she realized that she wasn't sick, she was pregnant. She prayed and dedicated the life within to God's purpose from beginning to end. Thus, I was dedicated to the Lord from even before I was born the same as Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to the Lord.
 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and
not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life. I Samuel 1:11
Hannah acted as a faithful woman pushed to extremes by cruel family pressures. As a barren woman Hannah had less status than the more fruitful wife, Peninnah. After much diligent prayer for a child, a son, Samuel was born. He was to be a blessing, given to God and raised by Eli . Samuel would become the great anointing prophet for God's holy purpose in history. Samuel, the vessel of God, anointed King Saul and David.

Growing up, I assumed "being dedicated to God before you were born" was something every mother did for her child. Later, I learned that it's really not that common at all. For a long time I felt that this spiritual commitment by my mother sort of violated my civil rights and my freedom to choose my own path in life. There a voice in our society that says  I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul. We are taught by the world that  You play by your own rules, you reap what you sow. Finally this grows to the folly of thinking  God should have no business in my life. My mother and God have no business telling me how to live my life. Later I was to learn that my freedom of choice took me down places that were not so good.

My Conversion Experience- January 4, 1971

On January 4, 1971 I got down on my knees and prayed and invited the Lord into my life. I was eighteen years old. This was the best decision I ever made.
I was raised in a Christian family. We said grace at meal times, and the family went to Sunday School and church regularly. Both sets of grandparents were Christians. Sometimes during my mother's dark period of depression she would say things like "If I hadn't had kids I'd be a successful artist by now. The kids have stood in the way of my art career." Sometimes my parents would fight, and as a child I'd run upstairs and hide under the bed. Life is not always perfect. I remember praying out loud that this would stop and things would get better, and never hearing God speak out loud to answer me. I thought of God calling young Samuel and I wanted to hear a voice from God, too:
Then the LORD called Samuel.
††††† †Samuel answered, "Here I am." I Samuel 3:4

I decided to boycott God. If He wasn't going to talk to me then I wouldn't talk to Him. I guess I was about eight years old. I had made some other bad decisions already. Three years prior I had decided that parental authority was unfair and faulty. It sucked. I still like the bumper sticker that says "Question Authority". I even tried atheism as an extreme spiritual rebellion. The concept of no God was too alien and cold and scary to embrace for long. It means no life, no heart, humor, or soul. Just dead logic. Atheism is a logical self-deception resulting in spiritual lostness.

Before my conversion my relationship with God was similar to that of C. S. Lewis, the noted British author and theologian, who writes prior to conversion "God and I were like acquaintances who you'd see on the bus, we'd nod but not speak." I too, gave grudging awareness of God, but with enough self respect to never surrender. I didn't take communion because I knew that I wasn't a "real Christian", yet.

On January 4, 1971, in my room at my parents' house in Kaneohe, Hawaii, I became a "real born again Christian". This was after my first semester away at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. Things had not gone according to my plan. The girls had not worshipped me. The ones I loved didn't love me. I failed accounting, the draft for Vietnam was on, I didn't have a number yet.

I thought about how my mother had dedicated me to the Lord before I was born. I looked at the miserable job I was doing with me life. I thought about how all my family; my mother, father, and sister were all saved. The song "Will the Circle be Unbroken" made me cry when I thought of myself on the outside of the family circle of faith. I took a risk. I prayed to God. I laid my cards on the table. My prayer was something like this: "Lord, I know you have dealt me certain cards to play in this hand of life. I feel like all my best cards are getting trumped, because I can't see their hands to know what card to play. Lord, please play the rest of the cards for me."

I took a shower and felt baptized. I felt the burden of my sins being washed away. I went to the kitchen and told my parents, who were drinking tea; "I met the Lord.

They dropped their teacups. They had me call Hannah Smead, a mature Christian missionary, who led me in a prayer of confession and faith. I was anointed from above, I felt light and happy and free. My hands automatically rose above my head. I felt like a helium balloon tied to earth by the thread of life.

I said, "Lord, cut the thread and let me fly home." He said, "Later son, I still have some work for you."

I am one of those people who can state the day and time when I got saved. My wife, Sandy, says she met the Lord early in life. She gave her heart to Jesus sometime between when she was three and five years old. It does not matter what the particular feeling you may get when you get saved. The point of life is to make the decision to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit with Tongues

The turn from  drugs, sex, and rock and roll was complete and dramatic. I went all out in this new life, even attending Wednesday evening Bible study at Perry White's home, a Whitworth Administrator. Here I was exposed for the first time to Pentecostal teaching and a second experience apart from conversion. This other experience was called a Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit was varied with the phenomenon of glossilalia, speaking in tongues. I read a book by Rev. Dennis and Rita Bennett, Nine O'Clock in the Morning, where they recount their entrance into the charismatic movement. Dennis left the Episcopalian church over this issue. I earnestly sought this gift through prayer and desire to be used by God more mightily.

At this time I was into personal witnessing, much to the chagrin of my "non-saved" friends. I guess I was a bit of a zealot. In early 1971, in Deer Park, Washington, there was an outdoor tent revival meeting. During the special prayer time afterwards there were two groups formed. Dennis took the newly saved and Rita those who sought the gift of speaking in tongues. We stood in a row, praising God. Rita came down the row and prayed and lay hands on each believer, and they would "go off", starting to speak in tongues. My turn came and just two phrases, "Kilur Kildy" came to mind. Rita encouraged the repetition and soon more sounds poured out. A regular prayer vocabulary soon emerged.

I took this new experience of speaking in tongues to my parents and prayed for them along with the laying on of hands. They never uttered a syllable in an unknown tongue. I attributed my parent's failure to speak in tongues to "unconfessed sin in their life". There was still a lot of spiritual maturing that was to come my way. Speaking in tongues was a big deal to me in 1971, but not so much today. When I do pray in tongues it is a private prayer language. I feel like my spirit that is trapped in my sinful body is crying to get out and talk to somebody who really understands.

My Call to Ministry
The day before Thanksgiving, November 24, 1973, my senior year in college, Jesus appeared to me. He walked through the walls of my room, sat down in my chair, turned himself on like a dazzling light bulb, and told me that I was supposed to work for him full time and that the girl I was dating, Sandy McLarren, was to be my wife. I called her on the phone and she was somewhat skeptical.
It happened like this:
I was living off campus my senior year at Whitworth College. I had to go over early to Spokane that summer to work at an internship at Washington Water Power to complete requirements to graduate in Environmental Studies. I shared a house with Julie Henderson and Holly Seamans, two ladies from Montana who were good friends to me.

I answered an ad shown to me by Holly who knew a family, the Deissner's, from her nursing work. They lived on East 313 Indiana Street, three blocks from the Spokane River near Gonzaga University. Norma was a polio victim, very personable, and mother of her son Dusty. Dusty attended Gonzaga. Both were very obese. I lived in the earth floor basement in a clapboard room with vinyl on the floor over the dirt. Water would drip down the sides of the walls and freeze at night. I took care of Norma; shopping, cruising, driving, and bathing, in exchange for free room and board. It was a good deal for both of us.

During that Thanksgiving holiday time I'd been thinking how I had been dedicated to the Lord by my mother before my birth. I thought about my future and my draft status as a conscientious objector. I also thought about the Bible verse in I Corinthians 6:19-20 where Paul writes "You are not your own; you were bought with a price." I considered God's claim on my life because of His sacrifice on the cross. My self-will rebelled within myself, yet there was a part of me that yearned for more of God. I wrestled in mental turmoil until I thought I was going to go insane. Then it happened. Jesus came into my room. I had this awareness of someone walking down the stairs to my room. Then He walked through my walls, sat down in my chair, and turned into a brilliant blazing light with huge spiritual presence and power. I was terrified. I was so ashamed of my sinfulness in His presence that I hid under my down comforter. When the other side of reality, that which we call "supernatural", decides to cross dimensions for awhile and be over here, our human experience systems have no grounds of comprehension. I know how the shepherds felt in Luke 2:9 when they were told of the birth of Christ.
 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

For the shepherds and for me the presence of the supernatural was  mind blowing . All our "scientific rational training is of no use before supernatural reality. We have no reality grid with which to measure this new experience. There is nothing in our background to prepare us for the shock of the supernatural. The usual tools we use to shape our world view are of no value when the rules of  nature are violated by God.
Jesus said I was to work for him full time and that Sandy was the girl I should marry. Sandy was at school at the University of Washington studying to become a physical therapist. I saw Jesus with my eyes shut while hiding under the covers and heard Him in my heart, not in my ears. As He left I felt that the presence of my sin made him sad. Am I wrong on this?
I came upstairs feeling awed and relieved. I told Norma about the experience and called Sandy. Sandy did not have the same confirmation about marriage. That Christmas I was home in Hawaii with Sandy. This was her first trip to Hawaii. I met Dr. David Hubbard, the President of Fuller Theological Seminary(FTS), at Fort DeRussey and told him my story of Jesus's visit. He said I should go ahead and apply for admission to FTS and that I would see him in the next semester. FTS was looking for students who had a sense of calling as a first priority for admission.
The Rev. Dr. Chester Terpstra, then Conference Minister of the Hawaii Conference of the UCC, the Rev. Richard Dufressne, my pastor at Pearl Harbor Memorial UCC, and the Rev. Bill Kaina who was in charge of ministries to our Hawaiian churches, all recommended I go to FTS because of its academic reputation of requiring Greek and Hebrew of its Master of Divinity students. Many other students from Hawaii attended there, also.

The following two experiences happened to me years later while I was serving at Koloa Union Church on Kauai from September 1978 until February 1987, a total of eight and a half years. I served as Associate Pastor under the Rev. Steve Amsden at my home church, then called Moanalua Community Church, on Oahu from September 1977 through August 1978. I was ordained there in February 1978. Koloa Union Church was my first experience as a Head Pastor. I was twenty five years old when I started serving at Koloa.

Angels in the Church
This incident occurred during one of the first funerals I conducted at Koloa Union Church

It was a hot, sunny, August afternoon for a funeral. The church was packed with family, members, friends, and relatives. The men who owned suits wore them, mostly heavy, worn and shiny. Most of the attendees were Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA).

I was holding forth about the need for salvation in Christ and our calling as Christians to provide comfort for those who have suffered loss. All I remember is that I was about half way through my message when some elderly gentleman in the congregation just keeled over and slumped down. I could see that people were starting to stand up and make noises, pews were moved,and I was not going to finish my three points and story. I thought to myself,
"How tacky, if you're going to die, don't do it here and now
in the middle of the service, at least crawl off to the side
office to die."
This was not a very spiritual train of thought, but it is what I was thinking. All this happened in seconds. I closed my eyes and prayed: "God help me now!" When I opened my eyes I saw two giant warrior angels standing from the floor to the ceiling in the back corners of the church. These were not gentle cherubs, these were the ones the Lord uses as the angel of the Lord. These were experienced killing warriors. I instantly knew they were the ones who slew the one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians recorded in Isaiah 37:36:
 And the angel of the Lord went forth, and slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians.

These warrior angels radiated an aura of power, influence, control, experience, and authority. I got the impression that they had turned their glory down like on a dimmer switch for a light. They could go to full blast at any moment and kill with their glory. They stood on watch with their arms folded. The angels looked like men in armor that the Israelites wore. They had swords, beards, and helmets. If they had wings, I did not notice any. They were greenish and not bright. My guess is that they were on low intensity, not set on full glory. Their appearance in a toned down form was an accommodation for me.

Because of their presence I was immediately strengthened and given the right words to say to take command of the situation.
In the seconds that this transpired, God gave me "plan B" where just seconds before I had no plan or experience about what to do. If you've ever spoken in public, you can imagine that dreaded "out of control, lost, fear feeling." I felt that I was losing control of the crowd before I started praying.

After I saw the angels, I immediately led everyone in prayer; for the stricken man as well as the deceased. The church organist, Jo Duvauchelle, was a nursing instructor at Kauai Community College. She rendered immediate aid to the stricken man. The fire department was there in minutes and took him to the hospital. The man had fainted because of the heat and didn't have a heart attack. He wasn't admitted at the hospital and went home later that same day.

Many people went home thinking how well I, as a young pastor, had handled a difficult situation. Only I knew that there had been angels in the back of the church and that they had imparted to me something supernatural that had given me poise and composure. I told the church members of the experience. I had seen something they had not.

Spirit Leaves Body at Death
This also happened while I was serving at Koloa Union Church on Kauai.
One afternoon I got a phone call at the parsonage "Come quick, grandma's dying!" I went to the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihue to meet the family. On the way I prayed:

"Dear Lord, you'll have to take over. I don't even know these people. I put everything in your hands"
(This is a very good prayer for emergency situations.)

Grandma was an elderly Issei (first generation immigrant from Japan) Christian. She was a believer in Christ but spoke no English. The family were members on the church rolls for many years. Likewise, for many years they had never attended church. Some of the family members lived on Oahu, and had just flown over to Kauai.

I met with the family outside her room at the CCU. The eldest son was older than my father. Grandma must have been in her 90's. I read scripture and prayed with the family, giving thanks for her life and the hope and power of the Christian faith. The eldest son escorted me to grandma's bedside. She had an oxygen mask on. I told her who I was, the minister from Koloa Union Church, and that she was going to be with Jesus soon in heaven. I held her hand and prayed. She looked at me with such sensitive, thankful eyes that I knew she understood me. Somehow the Holy Spirit made my words meaningful to her spirit.

I sat down at the foot of the bed on a chair facing her. I prayed a short while. I watched her breathe her last breath and exhale and noticed a slight leg tremble. I turned my head away out of respect, as this was the first person I had ever seen die. When I looked back, much to my amazement, I saw her spirit leave her body! It proceeded from her chest like a vaporous handkerchief being drawn up from its center. I was shocked. I didn't know this sort of thing happened. Her spirit spoke to me as it departed and said:

"Thank you David. Heaven's just as you said, even more wondrous. Wouldn t you like to see?"

My spirit within me leaped out at the suggestion, and then like a yo-yo, returned knowing that my time for departure had not yet arrived.

I told the family that I saw grandma's spirit leave her body at death, on her way up to heaven, and that it spoke to me. From this experience I have concluded that at death Christian souls fly home to heaven across dimensions instantly drawn by Christ's power. I felt light and free when I first got saved. This is the natural condition of the soul when we have our sin removed. Christ's blood frees souls to fly home.

Attacked by a Demon
This happened to me while I was working at Waialua UCC from February 1987 to 2003. I first wrote this while I was on sabbatical leave on August 24, 1998.
One of our church members, Lori Baysa, married Kelvin Oishi, whose family is from Captain Cook on the Big Island. Lori is the only daughter from a family that has five sons. Her mother, Laurena Baysa, is a good friend of mine and was the first one to take me on mission to the Philippines. I performed the marriage ceremony for Kel and Lori. The Oishi family has a coffee orchard on the Big Island and they give me Kona coffee beans from their own farm. This is a big treat for me.
Kelvin's dad died and I went with the Baysa family to Kona to express sympathy and support for the family. They held the funeral at the Buddhist Hongwanji Church at Captain Cook. The priest I recognized as serving at the Koloa Hongwanji while I was serving at Koloa Union Church.

I was dressed in my black clergy suit, complete with Bible, Hawaiian cross, and white clerical collar. I was the only haole (Caucasian) present and felt very conspicuous. As is customary at Buddhist funerals, I went up to pay my respects to the the deceased and family prior to the start of the services. While at the memorial altar where the ashes of the deceased are kept in an urn, l was led to pray for the soul of Kelvin's father. This seemed strange to me because it is strictly against my theology. Once you are dead, life is over and any prayers for the dead are pointless.

I faced the memorial table and silently prayed that God's Holy Spirit would protect and cover this place. I silently prayed for the salvation of Kelvin's dad. I didn't offer the traditional incense. As I was praying a demon came out of the Buddha idol and tried to attack me. It looked like a Chinese tiger with claws and dragon teeth. It was furious and extremely possessive of its place and power in the temple. The prayers of Christ must have been like bug spray to a cockroach.

The Buddha idol was not the one with the big ears, fat belly, and happy face. This Buddha looked like it had ten arms coming out of it like Shiva, the Hindu god. This demonic thing came leaping out to attack me. I was rooted, planted, I couldn t move. Just as this thing pounced on me I was protected by a wall of defense put there by warrior angels fighting behind, beside, and in front of me. I was encased in angelic plexiglas put there by God's forces. They kept the demon back.

I had not believed that Christians could be attacked by demons, that we are under the protection and power of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus. The providence of God worked this way. I returned to my seat for the service, praying and spiritually angry that some scummy demon thing would try to pull some intimidation like that. I prayed hard during the service and felt tired with a slight headache which I attributed to travels that morning.

I joined everyone for the delicious traditional vegetarian Buddhist meal afterward in the social hall. A Japanese man came up to me and introduced himself. He was an attorney in Honolulu and an in-law of the deceased. We got to talking a bit and he said:

"I saw that demon attack you while you were praying up there. I was praying for you, too."

I nearly dropped my teeth. I thought I was the only one who knew of the battle that had been fought!

It turns out he'd had a recent born again experience and attends a Pentecostal charismatic type church that is not hesitant to cast out demons. His church performs exorcisms. He told me that there are demons more places than we know. He said he has seen them on people sometimes.

This was the first time for me that someone has, out of the clear blue, verified or witnessed a supernatural event of the spiritual, invisible kind that I too, have experienced. This independent verification from an outside source has helped me make a few observation about the demonic. These are speculations based on my experience and not meant to be any kind of complete description of the Satanic realm.

Demons need worship and adulation to give them a rootedness or foothold for their existence in this earth. They do not belong here like we do. They do invade people and animals. The demon hid in the Buddha (and maybe gave power to Sensei or Pastor) because that's where the chants and devotion of the people were focused. Demons cling onto time like parasites seeking a ride or host to avoid their ultimate destination which is eternal hell.

Real, born again Christians can be humbugged by demons.
One of the greatest prophets from the Old Testament was Daniel . One time Daniel was praying for help for three weeks with no answer from God. The angel Gabriel finally came to him and said:
"Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.
And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to
gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words
were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the
Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the
chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Daniel 10:11-13

The scripture shows us that even the angel Gabriel needed help from the arch angel Michael in fighting the demon of Persia. There were supernatural angel and demon spirit battles that Daniel could not know about that were preventing the answer of prayers for the people.

I think one of those angelic battles was fought in the twinkling of an eye while I was praying at the Buddhist Hongwanji. This teaches me that persistent prayer is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare.

These events in my life have expanded my view of reality so that I am not so completely dominated by the modern secular world view. This has made me more open to the awareness and power of God in this world. I remembered how God had prepared the way for the success of the first missionaries to Hawaii. I knew that if we were faithful, God would act. This confidence of faith helped me lead our church in this next big turning point in the building project.

How we got the land

I have this problem with pronouns. It comes from my perspective of how things really happen. I tend to use  I and  We when I really mean  God . This is the record of how the Lord used people and events to bring forth his will in the acquisition of two acres of land for the building project of a preschool and community center in Waialua, Oahu.

Waialua is a sugar cane plantation community. Sugar cane is a giant member of the grass family. It can grow to well over 12 feet tall and can produce over 13 tons of raw sugar per acre. During harvest the fields are burned to get rid of the dead leaves. The cane is then pushed into piles by bulldozers with special rakes and then picked up by cranes and loaded into specially designed tractor trailer haulers. These are made like a giant chain basket on massive wheels and are called Tourner Haulers after the company that makes them. The loaded haulers are trucked to the mill where the cane is washed, crushed, boiled, evaporated, and centrifuged. The final products from the sugar mill are crude molasses, and raw brown sugar. This is shipped to the C&H refinery in California for final processing. This refined pure white sugar is marketed under the C&H label in the western states.

Land costs are very high in Hawaii. The cost is so great that it is often a significant financial barrier many churches face. On top of that is the issue of land use and zoning. Many churches have faced opposition from the community and the county in the building process. This is how the Lord led us through these challenges.

Our first project of a sanctuary and administration building was on 2.25 acres and cost approximately $900,000. We were allowed to build on agriculturally zoned land (AG-2) with a conditional use permit. We wanted to buy two more acres from Castle and Cooke Land Company at our original price of $30,000 per acre.

There were potential barriers along the way. The new manager of the Waialua Sugar Plantation was George Fraser. He had been recently promoted from vice-president of processing and was highly motivated to increase sugar yields. In 1992 the sugar industry was still trying to make a go of it financially, but times were very difficult, and every acre of available land was needed for production. Mr. Fraser had put the word out that he was not interested in selling any prime sugar land. That was a problem for us because the land we wanted was prime sugar land and a high yielding field.

Our building board decided to approach Mr. Fraser and ask for his permission to buy two acres of land for $30,000 per acre. Bob Kumasaka, our Building Board Chairman, and Bill Paty, a church member and former Waialua Sugar Company Plantation Manager, and I would meet with Mr. Fraser at the Plantation Manager s Office on Monday morning. On the Sunday before our scheduled meeting, I asked the congregation to pray for us and that the Lord would make a way for us to get the land.

When we met Mr. Fraser the following morning, I was more than a little surprised at his appearance. His nose was red and swollen, his lip was puffy and had a bandage on it, and it looked all the world to me as if he had been hit hard in the face. After the introductions and pleasantries it was my turn to  make the ask . So, I said  Mr. Fraser, we have come to ask your permission to buy two acres of land next to our church so we can build a preschool for the needy children in our community. We can t move forward without your permission.

He proceeded to tell us this story:
 Gentlemen, you may wonder why my face is so puffy and swollen. I had an accident in the field last night. As you know, we harvested the cane fields surrounding your church. One of the fires got out of control and I was called from home to help supervise the fire fighting. One of the Tourner Haulers got stuck in a ditch and the truck couldn t pull it out. The men were unhitching the Tourner Hauler and going to get the big bulldozer to pull it out. There was a fire in one of the harvest fields that had jumped the road and I climbed on top of the Tourner Hauler to supervise the control of the fire. It was wet and I slipped and I fell and hit my head on the wheel well and got knocked out. I  came to hearing the sound of the big D9 bulldozer starting to pull out the Tourner Hauler. No one saw me in the dark and smoke. I rolled out from under the wheels just as it lurched forward. One second later and I would have been crushed for sure. I figure the Good Lord saved my life last night in the field, and when the church asks for permission to buy the land, who am I to stand in the Lord s way?

Lessons and observations:
1. It never hurts to pray.
Imagine the impact on the congregation the next Sunday when I announced from the pulpit the way God had answered our prayers. This had the effect of transforming the average church member from spectator in the bleachers to spiritual warrior on the field of battle. They believe God has answered this prayer. They believe that God can answer other prayers, also.
2. Don t be afraid to make the  ask .
I was so afraid of our request being rejected that I was afraid to ask. If we had not had the courage to ask, would God have answered our prayers?
3. God works in mysterious ways.
Who could have predicted Mr. Fraser s accident in the field?
4. Faith is for future generations.
Imagine the impact on our church kids. They have grown up seeing their parents and grandparents do impossible things because God answers prayer. This encourages them to think they can do something great for the Lord also.

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