Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning culture

Inside former Elevate Church
Yesterday was a bit of a blur, it will be nice to experience today with rested, fresh eyes.   Today began with a short walk to an amazing farmers market. Fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers filled the air with a aroma that was sweet and savory. Jonalyn purchased some bananas and shared them with us and they were delightful. We then made our way to Kens House of Pancakes, which had good ratings on Urban Spoon.  French toast made with an area bakery bread and homemade corned beef hash was amazing. Thumbs up on Urban Spoon for finding this delightful diner. I got on my iPhone and found the church building where Mark and Sarah help found Elevate Church. The good news it was only a short walk down from Kens.  Elevate seemed to attract teens and college aged individuals. This is the building where Mark spoke  "Micah Slays the Vampire Christians". Sarah also spoke "Rooted and Grounded in Love" here.  We saw a mural in the back where the nursery is which we are told that Sarah painted.

In front of former Elevate Church
It is neat to see how this husband and wife team really dug their heels in the area and left their imprint on so many souls.  We then made our way to Hilo Missionary Church where he was the youth pastor and then associate pastor. It was from here that, with the church's blessing, that Elevate was created. I went up to the office door and rang the bell. A sweet lady named Janet came to the door and I introduced my self and tears came to her eyes as she understood our visit.  Her children grew up under Marks leadership, and she spoke very highly of Marks impact on them for Jesus.   She brought us to a collage of pictures on the wall featuring a history of the youth group, from beginning to present, several included Mark.
Picture of Mark on wall at HMC
Hilo is not a tourist epicenter, for which I believe I am attracted to. The people are kind and we have met many people that we would like to meet again. We then made our way to Pesto Cafe where we heard was another of Marks favorites. We providentaily ran into Doug Rife, Marks brother, and he came over and we hugged with a deep understanding of grief. We sat and enjoyed fun stories and ate great pizza. I glanced outside and saw Marks mom and dad sipping on red shaved ice and I made my way over and hugged them both and we cried. I had to apologize because the shaved ice they purchased was mostly melted but the time we left. (Mark's Mom and brother Doug traveled with Mark and I to Pennsylvania on our way to visit our girlfriends in Rhode Island the summer of 1992).  Jonalyn helped make the moment more memorable by giving Mrs. Rife a collage of native flowers.  A sweet gesture during a special time.

We were told during this time that there would be a ceremonial 'paddle out' during the scattering of Mark's and Sarah's ashes. What that involves is the parents and family go into Hilo bay in a outrigger with the ashes of both Mark and Sarah and unite them as they enter the water. In order for us to take part we would need to rent some surf boards. The moment I heard this I was excited to take part in a cultural ceremony but nervous because I have never been on a surf board.  I was a bit nervous I was going to fall off or somehow be a distraction. We found a local surf shop that rented us two surfboards so we loaded up and headed over the Happiness Park where the memorial was held. Two pastors from the area reminisced sharing memories with Mark, one of the pastors shared a very special song. Amy Kaneko, one of Marks good friends, shared a moving expression of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116. Then the family made their way to the outrigger and we headed to get the surfboards.  The pastor that Mark and Sarah co-founded Elevate with told Dale and I that we wouldn't do the normal ceremonial splash because the fishing boats drop of the heads of the fish at this time of day and that the easy food attracks the sharks. Great news...especially after watching Soul Surfer a few weeks ago.
The last time I saw Mark he had breath in his lungs and a beating heart, this time he was ash, dust of the ground.  Hard to believe he is gone. After the memorial we headed over to grab some food at a tent prepared for friends and family.  We shared fun stories with Mark's mom and dad and then headed back to the Inn.  A sad day, but a good one.  I miss you Mark, may the Lord make His face to shine upon you.

Audra and Jonalyn in the foreground, Dale and I
in the water

Dale and I after the paddle out

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