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Students head to Waikiki for evangelism, ministry

HONOLULU (BP)–When waves of Christian students surged to Waikiki and its beaches, hundreds of people heard and saw the Gospel, six people made professions of faith and the students experienced firsthand the challenge and the joy of taking their faith to the streets.

“God worked,” said Rob Lockridge, Christian activities director at Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu.

The evangelistic effort was part of Christian Emphasis Week, an annual program at the school. The college preparatory school reduced the class load for the students significantly and devoted much of the mid-March schedule to daily chapels, seminars and student ministries.

On campus Thursday, the number of students responding to an altar call during chapel overwhelmed the 22 island youth ministers who had come to help. The Servant Group, an HBA student ministry group, saw what was happening and began to counsel and pray with their schoolmates.

“God’s hand descended on the school in an incredible way,” Lockridge said. “People’s spiritual ears were being opened up, and they could really just talk to God.”

“How come Jesus has never talked to me like this before?” an eighth-grade girl asked Lockridge. During a lunch period, another student, Lockridge recalled, told him, “I want to ask Jesus into my life, but I don’t know how.” He shared the plan of salvation with her.

By the end of the week, four students had made professions of faith, more than 50 had made recommitments, 28 more said they wanted to join a student-led Bible study, and well over 100 had been involved in an on- or off-campus ministry. Teachers and staff then began to meet with each student who made a decision to find out what other support might be needed, such as selecting churches and on-campus, student-led Bible studies to attend.

Part of the evangelistic effort in Waikiki was led by local youth minister Chris Shinnick of Moanalua Gardens Missionary Church. As part of his “Let’s Go Fishing” seminar, Shinnick took 20 or more students on each of three days to Waikiki where they used a survey to begin conversations with tourists and people who live and work there.

“I simply reminded these students that Jesus is in their lives and they have the ability to touch others,” Shinnick said. “God’s going to equip them as they step out.”

The students were encouraged to talk very little, listen a lot and pray with faith as they greeted passers-by and handed out surveys.

Before heading off, freshman Justin Lo admitted to being a little scared talking to people he didn’t know, but, he added, “If they ignore the survey, I’ll pray that God will still be able to touch them.”

Another group of students went to Waikiki with Emerson Wiles, pastor of Mililani Baptist Church, to hold signs that had messages like “NIKE: Never Is Knowledge Enough” or “RUE” with the E colored red (meaning: Are you ready?). When people asked questions, the group used the opportunity to talk about Jesus.

About 30 freshmen went with faculty and staff to give peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to homeless people in Waikiki. Led by history teacher Danny Goya, the group also fasted throughout the day and then collected food from trash cans. After gathering together again as a group, they put the food together, which none of them wanted to eat.

Goya then brought out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the students to help them experience the thankfulness the homeless people can have because of a sandwich given in the name of Christ.

Although six people prayed to receive Christ in Waikiki, the response was not always positive, which was all right with organizers who wanted the students to step out of their comfort zones.

“A lot of our kids want to be able to share their faith and want to know how to share their faith,” Lockridge said.

Many students also participated in on-campus ministry. A 15-member student praise and worship band from grades eight to 12 helped worship leader Todd Proctor. Another group of mainly eighth- and ninth-grade volunteers showed up as early as 6 a.m. to help set up the gym for chapel.

Students had 56 seminars to choose from during the week. Some of the seminars, which were led by island pastors and youth ministers and HBA faculty and staff, seemed like a lot of fun, but they all had an important message.

“Fear Factor(ed Out)” included a competition in which blindfolded students had to pick out fuzzy balls from a plastic bin that included the balls and live mice.

“The objective of this seminar is to encourage students in real life situations to face their fears,” said seminar leader Arjay Gruspe, youth pastor at Olivet Baptist Church. “A lot of times, fears keep us from being useful to God.”

Junior Luther Beck described the seminar as “great” because “it helps you get over your fears no matter how gross or disgusting the task may be.”

In “Drill the Guys,” a seminar for high school girls only, girls had the opportunity to ask a panel of six men, ranging in age from 26 to 40-something, questions pertaining to guys. Questions included: “What do you look for in a girl?”; “What if you find a girl with all the qualities that you want, but she’s not a Christian?”; and “What’s a guy’s greatest pet peeve about girls?”

Other seminars included:

–learning to write praise music.

–touring a Christian television station.

–improving the water flow of Nuuanu stream.

–understanding the biblical teaching on eternal security.

Keith Roberson, the chapel speaker for the week, talked to the students about seeking God, walking in His power, gazing upon His beauty, relying on His power for obedience and abandoning oneself to the love of Jesus. Roberson is with Waiting Room Ministries based in Dallas, Texas.
Charene Luke, HBA director of communications and marketing, contributed to this story. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: PB&J MINISTRY, SIGNING UP and AT THE KEYBOARD.

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  • Matt Sanders