While pastors had been praying together in different groupings throughout the islands for years, the reality that the Church could do something to change the spiritual climate anywhere outside the building remained a threshold to be crossed.
Ed Silvoso and Harvest Evangelism had been sowing seeds of reconciliation, unity and vision into the islands since 1995. But it was in July 2002 that several high school students from Hawai'i embarked on a mission trip with Harvest Evangelism to Argentina where they were immersed in the activities of a prayer evangelism movement that was embracing and changing an entire city. In the middle of it all, one of the students (Daniel Chinen) felt the Lord saying to him, “As for you, your city is your campus.”
Once home, he revealed to his father, Pastor Cal Chinen, the burden and the vision he was carrying for his campus-Castle High School in Kaneohe, Hawaii. In August, he started a Christian Club on campus. They called it “Get Real” and gave it a specific purpose: to adopt every student, faculty and administrative staff in prayer by name. With the blessing of the principal, who was of a different faith, he wrote the names of all the students and staff on 3x5 cards and began to mobilize prayer.
In November 2002, three community churches came together to apply 1 Timothy 2:1-8 to the zip code where they were located. “96744 United In Prayer” (UIP) was born. The following February, “96744 UIP”, now representing over 15 area churches, went public with their efforts at a prayer rally at Castle High, making a commitment to join the students in praying weekly for the school.
By the end of the academic year, the results were both unusual and astonishing. The staff recorded a 53% reduction in trips to the principal's office, reflecting a significant drop in violence on campus. A record 90% of the senior class graduated, and church youth groups in the area began to spontaneously grow.
By October 2003, UIP had spread from Castle to include the students and faculty of all the elementary and intermediate schools in the district. Believers from four other high schools began to replicate the strategy on their campuses.
During the next few months, Pastor Chinen, along with the key leaders of his congregation, began to apply the same principles of prayer evangelism used in UIP to their marketplace settings. Ed Silvoso, Chuck Ripka, Mark His, and others were called upon to teach and impart to a growing number of congregations who were embracing the model.
Then in August 2004, three leaders-Dave Monroy (a prominent lawyer), Francis Oda (a leading architect and pastor) and Cal and Joy Chinen (pastors)-came together to form Transformation Hawai'i -“a movement of church and community leaders uniting to bring more of God's blessings and aloha to Hawaii's marketplace.”
The influence of prayer was quickly spreading from the campuses into the community as congregations in many towns were coming together for prayer, some for the first time. Peace began to reign. The 96744 police department reported that the crime rate had dropped by 43%! A backlog of government grants broke loose and the schools began to prosper as never before. When administrators from other schools began to ask their colleagues why, the only apparent answer was, “Prayer!”
The September prayer rally at Castle High featured the Lt. Governor asking Jesus “to come in and be the Light of all of Hawai'i,” a prayer that in effect unleashed a spontaneous movement toward transformation that began to reach throughout the islands and touch not only schools, but also the marketplace sectors of government and business. A vision for setting up a “Canopy of Prayer” over the entire island state was born.
On December 2, 2004, the Transformation Hawai'i core team, along with Harvest Evangelism Sr. Vice President Dave Thompson, met with 23 key leaders from around the entire state and took ownership of the vision of Transformation Hawai'i. The dream to equip and commission 10,000 Christians as “marketplace ministers” was birthed.
On December 8, the Canopy of Prayer became a reality. “Light up Hawai'i,” as it was called, would anchor the canopy with simultaneous prayer gatherings on each of the state's forty-two high school campuses. Pastor Cal Chinen tells the rest of the story on the UIP website (http://www.uiphawaii.com), adapted here:
On December 8 and 9, 2004, a new Hawai'i was born. In every public high school, nine private high schools, ten elementary and intermediate schools, and three university campuses, nearly 6,000 believers from over a hundred churches gathered together for the expressed purpose of praying for Hawai'i and her people.
Led by our Lt. Governor, “Duke” Aiona, we humbled ourselves and confessed our sins. We sought God's face and His hand of healing over our people and islands and schools. We especially lifted our hearts for our keiki (children). In many places it was the young who led the old. We walked the land with petitions, supplications and repentance. We cried out to God for our leaders. And we declared with our Lt. Governor that “our campuses will be God's campuses, our communities will be God's communities, and our state will become God's state!”
And the results? God shook the believers out of our church gatherings and into our communities. He shook the "salt" out of the salt shakers! Churches were astounded at the needs they discovered when they interviewed school officials. It was as if a whole new hidden world was opened up to them. School officials were blessed that the church was interested in them. One Honolulu pastor was taken aback when a school counselor informed him of the "hidden homeless" in their high school. He has mobilized his church to take action.
There is a sublime change over our neighborhoods and schools. It is subtle and gentle but ever so real. Like the lilting melody of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," there is the sense of wonder and joy. Like the subtle trade winds which blow across our lands so gently that one never notices them . . . except when they are not there, so is the peace that is gently flowing over the islands. The Apostle Paul described God's kingdom as "righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). A new Hawai'i has been birthed!
At the same time all of this was going on, Francis Oda made a business trip to Tahiti to present a proposal for a major government waterfront project. While there, the Lord redesigned the project he was about to present. The new design so intrigued the President of Tahiti that he began to inquire how it was that Francis conducted his business in partnership with God. A few weeks later, after leading the President to the Lord over the phone, Francis baptized both he and his wife, as well as his lead architect.
In January 2005, the Transformation Hawai'i core group convened 150 marketplace and pulpit ministers from throughout the state for vision casting and teaching with Ed Silvoso and the Core Team, which laid the foundation for a historic vision casting seminar that saw 1,000 in attendance.
The strategy that Transformation Hawai'i has adopted is to use the vehicle of prayer evangelism-taking the presence and the power of God into every sphere of influence at the personal, corporate and marketplace levels through prayer for the felt needs-to impact twelve “Gates” or key entry points to the islands:
- Hawaiian Community/Culture
In May of 2005, the 1000 became 2,500 who came as delegates to the Transformation Hawai'i Conference in Honolulu to be trained and commissioned to ministry in the marketplace throughout the state, and in some cases, across the world. The 2,500 are today engaging others to form the army of 10,000 to minister 24/7 in Hawai'i's marketplace.
“The battle is not over, nor is the story”, Cal states. “It has only just begun. We are not stopping. We dare not stop. We must stay at it. We are in it for the long haul until His kingdom comes to our Islands.”
Aloha Ke Akua,
Watch a Documentary Video of Transformation Hawai'i