I write this after almost 23 hours of wakefulness, almost 14 of them spent in airplanes and airports.

But I also write with gratitude.

I’m in Honolulu, of all places, for a meeting of the Baptist World Alliance Executive Committee and other associated committees (I’m in the latter category). The meeting just happened to occur during Campbell’s spring break, allowing me to attend. It’s being held here to facilitate planning for the BWA’s next world congress, to be held in Honolulu in 2010 (mark your calendars now).

I arrived just in time to be gifted with a lei made of kukui nuts, and cheerfully whisked directly from the airport to the middle school of Hawaii Baptist Academy. The school was originally founded in 1949 by Baptist missionaries who had been forced out of China. The school intentionally admits many students who are not from Christian families, and unapologetically exposes them to the gospel message. Between 150 and 175 of the 1,000 plus students make professions of faith in a given year, according to Dick Bento, president of the school. The middle school is just two years old, a marvel of environmentally friendly engineering.

BWA visitors were treated to a Ho’olaulea, which translates roughly to “big shindig with lots of music and food.” The music was excellent, and in a later post I’ll say more about the following worship service, which included my first extended exposure to holy hula as a means of praising God.

First, though, I thought I’d share a couple of images taken immediately behind the school, where the school has a small but well-tended park area along the Nuuanu stream that runs from the mountains to the ocean.

A few minutes of quiet solitude in the rich beauty of the place was healing for my tired soul. I can’t share the verdant air or the lingering fragrance of blossoms on the volcanic stone stairway, but the photos were too good to keep.

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