Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Home Sweet Paia

I really enjoy living in Paia. I lived here during my DTS and SBFM and for most of my time on staff. I was leading a team in Bangladesh when our base moved up to Haiku and the house there has never really felt like home. So, I am glad to be back in Paia. My favorite quiet time spot in the whole world is Paia Bay, which is only a short walk from my house. We have great restaurants (though I can’t afford to patronize them as much as I like), celebrity sightings, coffee shops and cute little surf shops.

We also have an abnormal amount of hippies per capita. I don’t mind hippies but they tend to smell like body odor and patchouli oil, which makes me careful not to breathe in deeply around them. They are super friendly and will gladly hug you or give you weed. There is definitely a large drug culture here, which is not good but contributes to the overall feel of the town. We even have a store called Hemp House where the hippies can go to purchase overpriced products made with hemp. There have been several Woody Harrelson sightings there. More than once I have been walking to my house and offered some “bud”, or “Maui Wowee” or my favorite, “herbs”. Do you think they meant thyme or paprika or maybe even cinnamon? I think I have seen more people blatantly smoking weed in public in Paia than anywhere else.

The other day, my friend Daniel was walking through town. He’s Indian so if you weren’t paying close attention, you might think he is Hawaiian. Some tourist guy approached him so Daniel said, “Hey, what do you want?” Then the guy said, “I want, I want” with a knowing look. Daniel was confused at first and then told the guy he didn’t do that stuff. The guy got embarrassed and then asked where the beach was.

Besides the hippie, stoner vibe, there is a large emphasis on spiritualism in our town. Maui is a Mecca for New Age and Eastern religions. Our town has a Buddhist temple at the South end, the West end and the East end. There would probably be one at the North end if there wasn’t that little body of water called the Pacific Ocean blocking the way. Everyday I pass by one of the Buddhist temples. The other day there was a blond woman kneeling down and bowing to the stupa, what my base director calls a “demon magnet.” It’s supposed to be a place of spiritual enlightenment and the Dalai Lama even came to town for its opening. It’s still strange to see non-Asians practicing Buddhism. Buddhism is just so opposite of our Western culture. It’s hard to understand how Western-minded people come to follow Eastern religions. I even recently heard that Julia Roberts has become a Hindu. Talk about strange!

Paia also has its prominent residents. There is an old guy named Maurice who walks around collecting cans. He’s a nice little guy but if you get too close, he might give you a hug. There’s also a guy named Bob who we like to call “Hair shirt Bob pants.” He looks pretty much exactly like Santa Claus only instead of wearing the red suit, he often just walks around shirtless with his wooly beard acting as a shirt, hence the nickname. There’s also another old guy we call Paia Dave. He wears tattered hobo clothes with a top hat. Unfortunately he’s been known to frequent the nude beach sans top hat. Eek!

So, Paia has a lot of character and a lot of characters and is definitely never boring. I am glad I get to end my YWAM career here.

Paia Bay

Monday, September 20, 2010

SBFM Goals

I've come up with some goals for the next four months of my life and I figure blogging them will give everyone who reads this a chance to hold me accountable. I have had mixed success so far but I am only a week in.

1. Cultivate a deeper, more disciplined relationship with the Lord
2. Love and give sacrificially in my relationships; putting others first
3. Improve my Spanish skills
4. Participate in physical activity on a consistent basis
5. Use my time productively

So far I have only run once and it wasn't pretty. I did use my friend's Rosetta Stone program twice, so at least that's a little better. The other ones are going a bit better but could definitely use more time devoted to them.

So far, I am enjoying sitting through SBFM lectures again. Today we talked about truth and the time went by so quickly even though I have heard a lot of it before. The rest of this week will cover the state of the world, which can be depressing. It doesn't have too much effect on me as I try to have hope in all situations. It does make me want to take action, which is probably a good thing.

Here are my three DTS girls who are doing the SBFM: 

Here is the rest of our school:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Love Feast...again

It's been a wild and crazy ride but I am now halfway through the first week of the Fall 2010 SBFM. Last night we went to Love Feast, which is a fancy dinner celebrating the DTS students' return from their no-frills camping trip. During the night I came to the realization that this was the 10th DTS I had been around since I first came to YWAM Maui in 2003. This is pretty crazy! I figure I have been to about 8 of these Love feasts and yet they never get old to me. The most powerful part is always the foot washing, a Christian tradition that used to give me the creeps but yet I have now come to love.

The students have spent a few days without bathing and there is usually an effort made by their staff to get them as dirty as possible. This means their feet are often disgusting. I know mine were during the three times I went on the trip. It is so humbling to have someone wash your feet, let alone your filthy, haven't showered in days, feet. Tears are common during this ritual. In the Bible, Jesus' washes the disciple's feet as a symbol of him humbling himself to serve them even though he is their leader. This is the same sentiment in our foot washing. DTS leaders and staff wash the incoming students feet to show that they are there to serve the students during their journey with the Lord.

As SBFM staff, we also washed our students' feet. Thankfully we had not just been on a camping trip so the feet were relatively clean. It is a little less satisfying, though than washing incredibly dirty feet. I washed one of my new girls' feet, Rebecca from Switzerland. She didn't do her DTS here and had no idea we'd wash the SBFM students' feet as well. When I brought the basin of water to her, she said, "Me?" It was pretty funny. Because we had so many students, I also washed the feet of Shannon, who is in the SBFM and was also on my recent team to Asia. We've grown really close and been through a lot together. I wrote her a heartfelt note that totally made her cry. Success!

All in all, it was a really good night. It doesn't matter how many of these things I go to, they are always special.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Some pics of my Team

Here are some of my favorite pictures from outreach and grad. I can't post pics from the kids at O-town but you can see them and more pics on my website- www.lizhightower.com

We went to the best zoo I have ever been to. You could buy leaves to feed the giraffes so of course I had to give it a go. How often do you get to feed a giraffe?

Me and Sarah in one of these motorized cart type things. I was enjoying a delicious mango smoothie.

I bought a folding bike in Asia and rode around with my student, Shannon on the back. It was great fun just cruising on "foldy" together. In this picture, my friend, Marcia is trying to get in on the action. 

Sarah tried to assimilate to the local culture by relaxing indefinitely in the chairs at IKEA. People also take naps in the beds. It's pretty much amazing!

IKEA provided endless opportunities for fun times as evidenced by these delightful hooded towels. 

My student, David is 17 and 6'9" or 1.2 meters. This was amazing to all the local people and many wanted to take pictures with him. David finally got to understand what it feels like to be a celebrity. 

Four out of my six girls just chillin' during one of our many rides on the metro. 

Shannon and her new friend. 

The tiger got a little crazy while Grace and Johanna were holding it and the zoo keeper had to rescue it from them. 

Me and Joey at DTS graduation. I couldn't have done it without my co-leader. 

My whole team. Aren't we cool?

My Mini-Vacay

I can't believe I have been back in Maui for two weeks. Part of that time was spent in a sinus infection haze that I am only now coming out of. I really wish this pesky cough would go away.

Usually after you lead a team overseas, you get to have a week off to rest. My co-leader, Joey and I both signed on to staff another school, the SBFM, which starts September 11th. Because of how close the schools are together and the limited training time, we were unable to have a real week off. Thankfully our school leader, Trevor allowed us to miss some of the mandatory base activities. Last week we ended up getting every afternoon off except Friday and all day Tuesday and Thursday off.

My student, Maddie's parents came in town and stayed at a hotel on the resort side of the island. They invited us to come and stay with them so me and my student, Sarah drove over there Monday afternoon and spent the night. It was so much fun! Maddie's parents were so generous and got us our own hotel room and paid for all our food. Maddie had a ton of trashy magazines to read so we lounged around the room reading those, watching TV and eating snacks! So fun! What an amazing change from outreach and our YWAM base! The hotel was right on the beach so we got to swim and play in the hot tub. I felt like a real tourist and it was just what I needed. The time felt even longer than 24 hours and I am so glad I went. It was the perfect way to separate the DTS I had just staffed from the SBFM I am about to staff, especially since half of my students are doing this next school. I am so thankful for that time of refreshment and I am now ready to begin my next assignment...at least I think I am.
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