Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Mission-Founded and Mission-Serving in Hawaii

By Lisa Anderson Lloyd*

Aiea UMC has a heart for going into the world and engaging with partners to assist in their outreach. Aiea was first a preaching point of the Japanese Methodist Church in Honolulu. In 1900, the Aiea Japanese Methodist Church was established. The church began as a mission outreach to those working in the sugarcane industry. From that beginning, the church has continued to engage in mission around the world.

Today, we support two missionaries serving in Japan, Claudia Genung-Yamamoto and Ronald Julian, as well as Debbie and Lester Dornon in Nepal, and Ut Tu and Karen Vo To in Vietnam. We are in personal contact with our missionaries. Claudia visited us last summer and other missionary visits are planned.

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The Rev. Ronald Julian (far right) serves as chaplain with the Association of Seafarers Mission in Yokohama, Japan. PHOTO: COURTESY RONALD JULIAN

We have other partners—like Mt. Olives UMC in Uganda, and Shade and Fresh Water (Advance #11580A) in Brazil. The Shade and Fresh Water afterschool program reaches 2,500 children. We also support Wings of the Morning in the DR Congo.

We try to balance local and global projects and serve people of all ages. We partner with Aiea Elementary School locally to make “Keiki Bags” (“Keiki” meaning “children”) to help children who don’t have enough to eat at home on weekends. We do other things
with the school as well.

We have a strong outreach to the homeless with Hawaii Human Services in Oahu. They have a kitchen where we cook and serve once a month.

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Revs. Karen Vo To and Ut To (top left corner of photo) share the gospel in small groups and house churches in Vietnam. They are leaders in the United Methodist Initiative in Vietnam, clergy members of the Detroit Conference. PHOTO: MICHIGAN AREA UMC WEBSITE

We support Habitat for Humanity and the “First Life after Prison” ministry. We also partner with St. Elizabeth Catholic Church for a joint food pantry. Finally, we partner with Wesley Ministry at the University of Hawaii for student ministry. We increased our support for that last year.

Aiea UMC reflects the spectrum of the ethnic and cultural heritage of Hawaii, a beautiful blending of Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Samoan, Pacific Islander, Asian, and African backgrounds. Our associate pastor, Joseph Siofele, serves a Samoan language ministry as part of our church. For more than 40 years, in our continuing outreach to immigrant communities, Aiea Korean UMC met in our facility until they could purchase land and build their own church.

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The congregation of Aiea United Methodist Church in Aiea, Hawaii. PHOTO: COURTESY AIEA UMC

*Lisa Anderson Lloyd serves as chair of the mission committee for Aiea United Methodist Church in Aiea, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.

Copyright New World Outlook magazine, Spring 2018 issue. Used by permission. Email the New World Outlook editor for more information.