Roll back the months to August of 2015. Abby begins to work at Hawaii Preparatory Academy as a part time coach for the cheerleaders. Abby’s role at Voyage is simply to learn how to start small groups and start them. This process begins by finding your “third space”, showing up there and developing relationships, hoping to turn those relationship groups into small groups where disciples are made.
The young cheerleaders at HPA gravitated towards her. One young lady in particular, Jessica, developed a great friendship with Abby. Abby began the process of investing in her as a friend, finding out her spiritual story and seeing how God is working in her life.
Jessica comes from a Korean background and grew up as a Buddhist. Her parents sent her to HPA for her high school education. Living in Hawaii, she also began to embrace the beliefs of the Hawaiian culture. Jessica also began to Jessica’s Story develop a belief in Tarot and the mysticism that surrounds those cultic practices. Many belief systems converging into syncretism and universalism leaving a difficult path for disciple-making.
Abby continued to have conversations with Jessica as she unearthed what she truly believed about God, life and how things work in the world. Jessica even began coming to a Bible study that Abby had started.
Through 9 months of prayer and friendship, Jessica finally opened up. It started with Abby noticing bruises and scratches on Jessica’s legs.
Jessica recalled that it was from a night when she and her friends rented a hotel room while attending a concert. It was a strange night to say the least. They began to have an ominous feeling pass over them that terrified them. The room grew cold and increased their fear. They went to turn on the lights and viewed for a moment a dark shadow in the corner of the room that frightened them even more.
After a while they managed to fall asleep. Jessica woke up with the bruises and scratches after an uneasy sleep. She said to Abby. “They did this to me I know.”
Abby questioned her about who, “Your friends?” “NO,” she said, “the demons in the room.” Jessica then said “I don’t want them to take me, what can I do?”
Abby then shared with her the power of Jesus and his authority over the demons and the spiritual world. She shared how believers in Christ have His protective covering against such things. How Christ, with Him as Lord of our lives, can rely on Him to guide and protect in all circumstances.
Jessica knew that this was exactly what she needed. She needed Jesus as Lord of her life. She prayed and received Christ and she knew that being baptized should be done urgently before she moves on to college at Syracuse.
I don’t know where this story hits you: the reality of spiritual strongholds here on the islands, God’s timing, spiritual warfare, the act of building friendships that lead to spiritual conversations. All true and valid. But maybe we just need to say God is working and moving and wants everyone to come to know him. As always, our story is your story. Jessica’s story in now part of your story as well.
Ke Akua pū me ʻoukou
Topic: Jessica’s Story
Written by: Kurt Simon, Pastor of Voyage Church, Big Island