(The Steffey family are Church of the Cross supported ministers serving with YWAM in Hawaii. They post updates on their blog at http://lovefromthebigisland.blogspot.com)
Its been over a month since our last post here, in which we welcomed baby Valor to our family. He is now 10 weeks old and we are having such fun getting to know him. He is a sweet little man, loves watching the antics of his big sisters and brother, and yes, is sleeping pretty well.
Life is moving along. The kids are doing well. All anxious to be done with school I think. The plumeria trees are blooming, signalling “spring” in Hawaii. Evergreen and Ayla are both enjoying dance classes on campus. Ayla has finally, after much practice, learned how to swim and has pretty much turned her blond hair green in the past few weeks from all the chlorine. Jack has enjoyed getting to know the neighbor kids who live two doors down and its been fun to watch him start edging in to that “tween” stage of life. (Fun/terrifying. HA)
I have started to get back into the work of things again, down on campus, now that baby waiting days are over. I predict lots of meetings with baby strapped to my chest in the carrier for months to come!
Here is a run down of what I’ve been working on:
The School for Legislative Advocacy and Social Change – This school will take the “using law for advocacy” concept and build out on in, walking students through a problem solving methodology to address a specific social issue and then how to write a law and advocate for that law in their country. We hope to develop a cadre of social justice advocates who can work together with specific skills to bolster YWAM advocacy efforts and relationships with and in government as well as those of other organizations and ministries around the world. I will be leading this school and have started to identify staff to work with me as well as develop materials and relationships. We hope to also offer versions of this course in shortened form at YWAM bases world-wide, bringing this simple tool set to missionaries and advocates where they work, tailored to their specific needs. In the months to come I will be working on some other exciting possibilities including a series of workshops and seminars to train Christians interested in politics. Topics for this school will include:
- Using the problem solving theory and methodology to build advocacy movements
- Working in community to address social problems
- Building advocacy networks locally and globally
- Action planning to put an advocacy effort into effect
The School of Advocacy, Law, and Justice – A group of us working on this new school have been developing the syllabus and teaching materials over the past six months. We are starting with a four-week seminar this summer and will expand it into the full school next summer. This is an introductory level school. Topics for the course will be:
- Social justice movements around the world
- Basics of Government and International Legal systems
- How to build a movement with civil society groups
- An introduction into using law for advocacy
The School for International Relations and Diplomacy – I will be staffing this school in January along with a great group of individuals. The idea of this school is to introduce the idea of government and diplomacy and peacemaking careers to students. YWAM leaders for this course include a former ambassador to the United Nations and other nations from South Korea. Topics will include:
- Christian leadership in the political sphere
- Introduction to international bodies and organizations
- An internship placement within an international organization or the UN.
Building on these schools YWAM hopes to begin working more in the government sphere and demystifying the lawmaking, governmental and political processes for a new generation of young people. A Degree in Politics and Government will be offered through the University of the Nations in the coming year through the development of these schools. All the schools are designed to give practical information and skills to people working on justice issues. There is also a lot of potential in using this kind of work to develop ministry on the island and in the nations where the base works in outreach.
All of this effort is a new direction for YWAM and its exciting to be involved in it so far, inspiring young people to take their passion and turn it into action!
OUR MINIVAN! As for prayers and needs, we are so happy to be welcoming our minivan from the mainland! It should arrive soon! Getting around in a vehicle that seats five, as a family of six, has been challenging, so we are super happy about this.
FINANCES – Steve’s work is going well at Target and in his efforts to get a law practice going on the island. We have both learned that all the best designed plans are one thing but in the islands everything depends on relationship, which takes time but has so many rewards in the long run! We would still appreciate prayers for Steve’s work, especially as he hopes to transition from Target work to just law work in the coming months.
STAFF and STUDENTS – Pray for students and staff! Sara will be recruiting both in the months to come to make these schools take off. There is a lot of interest so far but we have to get all of it together, curriculum, staff,budgets, etc. Still so much work to be done!
Thanks all for your prayers and love. We will try to get updates up more regularly, now that baby is older and life is settling into a routine (of sorts!)
Love and Hugs.