Tours Travel

Waikiki Church: A Place of Healing

I recently read that there are up to 127,000 people in Waikiki on any given day. This number is made up of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, 32,000 workers and 75,000 visitors. The most surprising thing about this number is that when you search for a church in Waikiki, you can only find a handful. There aren’t even enough churches to cover the people who live in Waikiki! In contrast, the Ewa Beach area has been called Hawaii’s Bible Belt and has only about 16,000 residents and more than two dozen churches. This is amazing. This seems to support what we have often heard is that local people avoid Waikiki like the plague.

When people think of Waikiki, world-class hotels and beaches come to mind. Most people don’t think about going to church in Waikiki. The church isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Waikiki. When we decided to start a church in Waikiki, we did so with a word from God. Like all the other great decisions we’ve made, we pray and ask God where we should go. When God told us that we should go to Waikiki we assumed that He was sending us the smallest and lost. There is a large group of homeless people, prostitutes, drug addicts and drunkards who call Waikiki home. Also, there are many tourists who need a place to go where they will be loved and cared for during their vacation.

For RK, the church started with a thought: Wouldn’t it be great if people came to Waikiki because they heard that Jesus was there? Waikiki was once a place where healing magic was performed. There is a stone monument in the middle of Waikiki that was erected by ancient Hawaiians to commemorate this fact. We want to make Waikiki a place of healing again. We want to make famous Jesus, the Healer of the Nations, in the place where the nations meet.

We are learning that there is much more to Waikiki than tourism. We have found ourselves among some of the poorest people on the islands who live amid all of Waikiki’s decay. The homeless here in Waikiki have become our church. We talk about the Jesus story on Tuesday nights and have dinner together. On Sundays we meet behind the Waikiki Band Stand, under the Banyan trees. We see them as brave men and women. They are the nameless and faceless who will change Waikiki. Right now, they don’t know they are brave men, but they will. We will be there when they realize who they are and recognize Jesus for who he is. We’ll be there when they bring healing to Waikiki.

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