A SUNRISE FOUNDATION’S FELLOWSHIP GATHERING
August 17, 2019
To view photos of the event, click here.
When we see people smiling and living in a loving manner, we gain confidence in the future.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
God fills your mouths with laugher and your lips with shouts of joy.
- Job 8:21
These two sayings set the tone for our fellowship gathering on Saturday, August 17, 2019, 6:00 pm, at the spacious and artful Maunawili home of David and Debbie Laeha.
Clearly, cruel death, pain and despair are a big part of our world today. The evidences are mounting and numbing. They include the recent hate-driven mass killings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the recurring immigration tragedies happening in our southern borders and a frightening environmental crisis looming on earth. The list goes on and on. These realities cannot be ignored by us. They need our thoughtful attention and bold action.
Simultaneously, we are called to also lift our heads high, and offer to each other, including our adversaries, an outstretch hand of aloha with a heartfelt smile. Fear may then be overcome by grace, hate, diminished by love, and brokenness, by coming together. That is what Buddhist Thick Nhat Hanh and the Bible teach. Our gathering was thus the timely occasion to transcend the negativities of our world and enter into the joy inherent to our Sunrise Foundation fellowship.
The gathering began on a hopeful note, with the introduction of Rev. Anke Flohr and Art Lum, new members of the Sunrise Foundation Board. A wonderful connection was made when each spoke to the group, with Art also introducing his wife, April. New people, new possibilities, new hope.
Corey Wong then led us in helpful, yet simple stretching exercises and a breathing meditation. We became centered and calm. He was followed by an unexpected surprise. His teen-age son, Kapono, enlivened us with an amazing virtuoso performance on the ukulele. WOW! Wide smiles beamed on all the faces present.
It was a perfect prelude to enjoying an impressive potluck supper, preceded by the singing of an inclusive and gender-free version of the Doxology and a grace offered by Rev. Sharon MacArthur from Community Church of Honolulu. Mahalo to Yolanda Hernandez and Debbie Laeha for coordinating the potluck and overseeing the clean-up – tasks vital to the evening’s success.
Following the meal, enhanced with soft drinks, beer and wine, the group settled into sharing their stories. David Lahea facilitated this important segment of the evening’s program. Its purpose is to offer support to each other, and thereby, enrich our community of trust. The stories shared included the telling of a pilgrimage to a distant homeland, turning points in the lives of members or their family members, coping with physical ailments, loss of a loved one, challenges and promises in aging and personal triumphs over setbacks. Those who had not yet spoken, were then invited to speak. Nearly all did. Spontaneous prayers and laughter bubbled up as vapors from a flowing volcano. Inspiration and gratitude were widely felt.
Ron Yamauchi gave a heartfelt and detail announcement on Journeys to Wellness VIII, the major public event of Sunrise Foundation, that is taking place on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Arising from his announcement, several registered to attend. Currently, registration has reached near 100! Encouraging news.
Then came the “icing on the cake”. Woody Chock and Hari Bayani presented us with an upbeat musical journey that featured memorable songs from Hawaii and jewels from the classics! Woody charmed us with his rich voice and Hari mesmerized us with his versatile performance on a newly acquired keyboard. A pleasurable evening was coming to a close in a flourish.
Sister Bitrina Kirway blessed us as we stood together with hands clasped in a Circle of Aloha. The twenty-two inter-spiritual, inter-cultural and inter-generational souls gathered then departed with joy-filled hearts and an abundance of happy memories. We have overcome, and will continue to do so, with the help from above, within, and others.