I was born in Hilo, Hawaii, in 1983. Calling Hawaii home for a tall caucasian boy is quite unusual. Most islanders stand out with their bronze-tanned skin and their island accents. However, my dad was recruited by the local college to play basketball there, and my mom was his long-time girlfriend who jumped at the chance to move with him to the islands. They were from Northern California—a small town near Santa Rosa to be exact. He was quite the athlete and was quickly recognized as the star player on his college team. Since Hilo was a small town with few attractions to grab the local’s attention, the basketball team became the talk of the town. My dad was elevated to small-town celebrity status, and he and my mom couldn’t part with the little town and the small island that they now loved. That, and they got pregnant with my older sister.
Robin (my sister) was born in 1979, then Kyle (my brother) in 1981. I was the third child, and Levi (my younger brother) was the fourth. I was born in 1983, an he in 1984. My parents worked really hard to ensure a good upbringing—even managing to send us to a private Christian school all the way up until High School. We were brought to church almost every Sunday, though we fought my mom and dad to stay back almost every time. It was through these experiences with church and private school that I had my first encounters with the Bible and with “Christianity”.
I wish I could say that these encounters were always positive. No doubt, that was the intention of our church’s Youth Ministry Leaders and all of my countless Bible teachers. Yet because of a lack of “sound doctrine” (II Timothy 4:3) and a culture of hypocrisy; (Matthew 15:7-9) I found myself believing in God and the Bible as His word, but not believing that anyone could actually follow God or live out the Bible.
I attended church camps, religious school plays, youth group events, and many other religious activities. I sincerely tried to change my life several times, but found myself lacking the power, support, and self-control to sustain these changes. In the end, I wasn’t able to do it. Then I noticed that those along side of me, who were also attending the same events I was, weren’t able to change either. They were doing the same things I was, indulging in the same sins I was, and they seemed just as lost as I was.
Eventually I reasoned that if I can’t change and if none of these other religious people can change, maybe no one could change. Maybe the Bible was a standard that is too hard for anyone, and this was all some kind of sick joke from God.
Finding The Truth
The Drifting of The Church
The Hilo Story
The Ministry Calls
To The Ends of The Earth