Hello friend!! It’s been entirely too long since I’ve written an update. When we first got here to Hawaii, we didn’t know what things would look like as far as our everyday lives. Then, once things started happening and falling into place, I didn’t take time to write about it. Jason let you all in on what he’s been up to here in Kona in his last post, so I’ll give you a glimpse of my time here!
After an unexpected and much-needed visit to Missouri in July, we arrived in Kona. Actually, it’s Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, but everyone abbreviates it to Kona. I (Monica) became staff at the YWAM base here in Kona, at the Campus Clinic, which serves the health needs of YWAM Kona’s students and staff. Things were pretty slow at first, because we were only able to offer physician services a few hours per week at that point. When the Campus Clinic leaders prayed about accepting me as staff, they didn’t need me. It didn’t make any sense to take on more staff when they didn’t have anything for me to do! However, they sensed a nudge from God to say “Yes”. So, I began working at the clinic, mostly cleaning and organizing at first.
The leadership of the clinic and health services had a much bigger dream in mind for the clinic, however. They envisioned a fully-functional and self-contained clinic that would be able to serve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the students and staff full-time. This group of leaders were already serving the community in this way through an urgent care, Aloha Kona Urgent Care.
Although not a direct YWAM entity, the urgent care is managed under YWAM leadership. It functions as a ‘normal’ urgent care, except that all the staff are deeply concerned not only about physical ailments, but patients’ spiritual well-being as well. The urgent care is covered in prayer at the beginning if each day, and the patients are offered prayer. The staff gets to minister to the heart, body, soul, and spirit of each patient, if they are willing!
After the city approved all the necessary zoning for the campus clinic building, and the campus gave financial and legal approval, the dream started to become a reality. We were able to utilize some of the providers and staff of the urgent care to start seeing patients at the Campus Clinic, renamed Ola Pona (‘health’ in Hawaiian) Health Center, on a regular basis. This came none-too-soon, as the largest quarter of students EVER arrived on campus in September, with well over 600 students and staff! We began seeing patients from the campus almost every week night. It has gone over really well and has helped fill a huge need for the missionaries on campus. They can be seen by the physician for only $10, regardless of insurance!
So, that is one of my ‘jobs’, volunteering as a nurse at Ola Pona Health Center. I also became involved with the large homeless community of Kona. The church Jason and I began to attend serves a weekly meal at the local homeless shelter. We joined in serving the lunch, but I couldn’t focus on the food I was supposed to be serving. Time after time, a person would come through the line with cuts, scrapes, and gaping, infected wounds. My nurse eyes were drawn to them, and I felt I had do something. I asked the leader of the program if I could bring some supplies and start providing wound care while the meals were served. He not only agreed, but gave me a budget to purchase would care supplies!
I began offering wound care each week, which became a hit. The need is soooo great! The homeless are especially at risk for injuries, due to a number of factors, including fighting (or protecting their few possessions), animal bites, falls (especially if intoxicated), and being out in the elements 24/7. They are even more susceptible to infection of these wounds, due to lack of showering facilities, lack of antibiotic ointment and clean bandages, and the humid environment. Staph infection of wounds runs rampant here, especially in this population. A simple cut or scrape can easily turn into a life-threatening infection if left untreated. It is so rewarding to treat a wound that is on the verge of becoming or is already infected, and the person shows up the next week, after caring for it themselves the rest of the week, with the wound almost healed! Praise Jesus! The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that we may have life TO THE FULLEST (John 10:10)!!!!
Through a former housemate, I was also introduced to the planning committee of the West Hawaii Faith-Based Summit to End Family Homelessness. This is a mouth-full, but basically, the committee meets all year-long to plan this Summit, which gathers all the faith (and some non-faith-based) organizations, churches, etc. in the area that provide any kind of aid/services to the homeless in order to learn from each other and brainstorm how to help end family homelessness on the island. The committee recognized the need for wound care for the homeless, so they were trying to find someone to head up a first aid kit ministry. Naturally, I jumped at this opportunity to do and teach what I love, although I was a bit nervous at first! I was also back in school at this time, and time was a hot commodity! However, with God’s grace, I was able to find the time, courage, and resources to make the First Aid Kit Ministry a reality at the annual Summit, which was in September.
Through left-over money given in a grant for the Summit, I was able to purchase the supplies needed for the kits. At the Summit, I taught those who were interested about basic wound care, and we assembled first aid kits together. I called my first aid kit ministry ‘More Than Skin Deep’, because physically, wounds move beyond just the skin, and infection can invade the entire body through them. These first aid kits are not just physical, though. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, especially to ‘the least of these’. These first aid kits can minister to heart wounds as well, as I pray with someone who desperately wants to overcome alcohol addiction.
Later, I gave these first aid kits out to the homeless at a Thanksgiving feast. The kits were a huge hit, and I gave 100 of them, which was just enough! Now, unfortunately, I am almost completely out of supplies. If we are able to get another grant to help with this year’s Summit, and if there is enough money left over after covering other costs, our ministries will probably be given an allotted amount to spend on supplies. However, I don’t want this ministry to just be a once-per-year event! I want it to be a real ministry. I want to be able to give out first aid kits at all the homeless events, not just the Thanksgiving feast. I wish to be able to send first aid kits away with those who come to me weekly with wounds, so they can continue treating them the rest of the week and greatly decrease their risk of infection. I want to help these homeless live life to the fullest in the area of health.
Sooo, I’m asking for your help. I desperately need more antibiotic ointment and bandages to hand out at events or to people I see on the street or to those I see at the shelter with wounds. If you are interested in helping, I have set up an Amazon Wishlist of supplies for the first aid kits. The most critical things are antibiotic ointment and bandaids. I love the individual packets of antibiotic ointment, but tubes are great too! Regular-sized and large bandaids are also really critical. I am super partial to fabric bandaids, as opposed to the plastic ones, because the plastic ones don’t stick, especially in the humidity. If you don’t have Amazon or would rather buy some supplies from the store and mail them, you can send them to me at this address:
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #365
Kailua-Kona, Hi. 96740
Or , here is the link to the Amazon Wish List. You can also go to the Amazon website, and there is a place to search for Wish Lists. Just type in Monica Hallquist, and it will pop up! Thank you so much for considering donating to the More Than Skin Deep first aid kit ministry!!
So, that’s what I’ve been up to, along with school, which was quite stressful after being on a year-and-a-half leave of absence. But, God lavished on the grace, and I had a successful semester. Thank you so much for reading my long post and being interested in my life!! You all mean so much, and it is so encouraging to know you support us in this crazy adventure!!
We love and miss you lots,