It's my birthday today and it has been super fun! Evidently, we were jet lagged because we woke up VERY EARLY! We did a peaceful yoga session for about 25 minutes which was absolutely so amazing. I will be doing yoga every morning because it was the perfect way to start the day! Then we made breakfast and had pancakes and sausage—it was really good. I made myself a pancake! After breakfast we had an orientation meeting and then packed up our bags for the day and left.
We took a quiet walk down a path and there were note cards that were left on the ground, and they were spread apart. I loved the little messages that were on them. We learned the Bible verse, “Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5. After we finished our walk, we sat down in front of the most beautiful garden I had ever seen. There were so many colors and textures and plants. It looked like heaven. There was a waterfall and a path and mountains. This is how I imagine what the Garden of Eden would look like!
After everyone arrived, we did our morning devotional and then we walked back to the van and had our lunch. It was really good!
After we finished eating, we went to the most beautiful beach to snorkel with a huge mountain right there. On the way to the beach, the leaders and I talked a lot which I really enjoyed. Then we snorkeled and there were so many colorful fish. My favorite were the sea turtles, rainbow fish, and little blue eel fish. We dove under with our snorkel masks and tried to catch the little eel fish. Then we sat about 2 feet into the water and felt the waves crash over us. We took lots of photos and then went to explore a little cave. After that we drove home and took showers. We had tacos for dinner which was so bomb.
Later, we took our bibles and headed downstairs for small group. Before it began, the leaders brought out a vanilla cake with chocolate icing and sang, Happy Birthday to me. There were 16 candles on the cake! The get-to-know-you games we played were really fun.
It was one of the greatest birthdays ever.
This morning I woke up to the sound of rain. It was a light sprinkle and then it began raining harder on our tin roof. Then I heard the music that our leader, Colleen plays before yoga. I went out to the big porch to join the group. The session was great. After yoga, the other girls cooked breakfast and it was so good. We had biscuits, eggs, bacon and peaches and strawberries with our Hawaiian juice.
We did our morning devotionals on the porch. It was about how we are a marvelous creation of God and a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). That’s my favorite Bible verse.
We then drove to the river to get our kayaks and paddle boards for our adventure of the day. We put on sunscreen, chose our buddies, and got into our double kayaks. We took candid photos of the mountains and flowers. The river was pretty wide with big yellow flowers all along both sides of the river. We collected all the flowers that were in the water. At one point we got out of our boats to swim. We then raced with the other girls and thought we would win. But, oh no! We did get second place though!
I put my toes on either side of the boat and let them feel the water. It was so refreshing. When we finished, we got our lunches and headed to the picnic tables. We went to a gift shop, but no one wanted anything and then we went next door to a juice/smoothie/coffee shop, and they all got drinks in cute jars. There was a sign outside the shop that said: BEWARE DON’T FEED THE CHICKENS! The chickens are for real! It was funny. There are so many Roosters here.
Then we drove to a new beach where we reapplied sunscreen and played in the water. I found the cutest little shell. It was red and very detailed. That was my God moment that I shared later that night during small group. The amount of small, tiny details that God has created in this world! We moved to another part of the beach after we made sandcastles.
We ate pizza for dinner and drank island orange juice. As we were eating all of us were talking and it was fun. I really like the other girls. Then we came home and got our bibles and went downstairs. We played a fun game and ate ice cream bars and began our bible study. We talked about our worth and how the world tries to tell you who you are.
Today we drove to the other side of the island to go on a hike. On the way there all of us talked about our lives at home and we all played a fun game. When we got on the trail it was a pretty easy hike. All the different kinds of trees and flowers are amazing here.
We hiked for a while before we saw our first look-out and I tried to say, “Aloha” to every hiker we passed. When we finally got to the second look-out it was so incredibly awe-inspiring! The ocean in the distance and canyon and its depth were marvelous. The word that reminded me of God in that moment was vast. We did our morning devotional at a look-out, and it was very nice. The devotional was about not worrying or being anxious.
We then headed down towards the waterfall. It was a cute little waterfall where we ate our lunches. I took off my shoes and socks and walked over to the rock closer to the falls. Then we all hiked back. We gave each other trail names and I was named, “Lemon,” because of the flowers that were yellow that I loved in the river. I was also named, “Dora” because I have explored many places.
Then we went to a different lookout, and it was my absolute favorite spot of the day. There were huge mountains, and the water was so clear--even from so far away. We took so many pictures there. Then we drove back to our lodge and had some nice conversations along the way.
After we got home, we took showers and ate dinner. It was spaghetti and garlic bread, and it was so good. And so was the apple walnut salad and the grapes! We had great conversations, and all sat next to new people. At small group, Colleen brought dessert which was fantastic. The Bible study was about what makes us worry or be anxious. I enjoyed the bible verses I discovered.
I woke up this morning and quickly joined Colleen for yoga. Then we did our devotionals about seeking out Christian community. Breakfast was so fantastic! Everyone's food was and looked so fantastic! I had such a good morning! I was in such an amazing mood.
Then we took a short drive over to the thrift store for our service project for the day. It is a nonprofit that donates to many great organizations around the world. We worked at sorting, labeling, and organizing the many items they have received. When we were finished, we had fun shopping for about 30 minutes, and we all got a 50% off discount! We had some amazing finds.
Then, it was time to head to the beach for surfing! The surf instructors were super cool. We all caught tons of waves and did a lot of tricks on the boards. We surfed for a while before we came back to the beach!
For dinner we ate chicken, chili, rice, bread, carrots, grapes, and pineapple. Then we took our bibles and pens to the cutest beach. We sat down on the sand and ate cookies and had a great conversation about finding Christian community how it can be beneficial to our lives. It was nice to get deeper with the other girls and women. We went back to the lodge and had a fashion show! We used the clothes that we found at the thrift shop. Our leaders played “runway songs,” and we strutted our stuff. We all laughed so much.
We woke up this morning and got ready pretty quickly because we left early for horseback riding! When we arrived at the ranch, I noticed how different everything looked compared to the rest of the island. There was a lot of red clay sand and the trees weren't very green.
Jim, the ranch owner gave us instructions on how to ride and control our horses. Then he assigned a horse to each of us. My horse's name was Romeo. He was actually one of the sweetest horses I've ever ridden.
The trail was long and far. We climbed to the top of a mountain, walked through a stream and on the beach and then wound our way through the woods with trees that looked like they had sugar snap peas on them! When we finished riding, our leader took us over to a cave and then crossed through a river to eat our lunch on the sand.
We walked back to the van and drove to a place called the Anchor House where we met Rick who was the author of the book, Soul Surfer. He shared his side of Bethany Hamilton's story. It was really cool.
Then we drove to a beach and ate some shaved ice. We saw so many sea turtles on the beach and as we were leaving, we saw three seals!
Then we drove home and had a toga-themed dinner with name tags and menus that our leaders made. We ate cheese quesadillas and had small group and ate dessert!
This morning we ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast! Then we cleaned up our rooms, took showers and got dressed for our sunset cruise.
When we arrived, we met our captain, and she gave us some safety rules and we walked onto the dock and boarded our 65-foot boat. Our group stayed in the front of the boat to feel the breeze and we got sprayed by the ocean every now and then, until we saw a pod of dolphins! They swam over to our boat and swam beside us for a while. We also saw another pod of dolphins that were doing flips in the air which was amazing.
Then the winds and waves started to pick up and everyone else on the boat went inside and it was just us girls out in the front of the boat! Huge waves smacked us until we were absolutely drenched! It was probably the most fun part of the trip. The Napali coast is absolutely fabulous!
When the boat turned around to head back, the waters were much calmer and the crew served us dinner. We had pulled pork or teriyaki chicken, rice and cole slaw and pineapple. Then they served us chocolate chip and coconut cookies. Brooke and I ate about 7 of them!
We went to the top level of the boat to dry off with the wind. I went into the cockpit and got a photo with the captain. Then the sun began to set, and we took a lot of photos. When our boat tour was over, we drove back home.