By Fern Gavelek
NETWORKING—Nestled in the former Hukilau Hotel, and located across Kailua Pier on Ali‘i Drive, is the operations and training center for YWAM Ships Kona. Chamber members learned all about the purpose and activities of the far-reaching, non-profit organization at the February AfterHours.
YWAM Ships Kona is part of the worldwide Youth with A Mission Christian movement that uses ships to reach isolated and remote islands to deliver the Gospel and much needed medical services. Ships staff doctors, dentists and opthalmologists to offer primary health care and preventative medicine while young adult students have the opportunity to sail, study and serve. Students aid each mission by working under the captain in navigation, assisting medical professionals, educating islanders on best health care practices, plus performing ship housekeeping, cooking and provisioning.
According to Director and Kona Co-Founder Brett Curtis, four ships are operated out of the Ali‘i Drive facility, known as Port YWAM. The seaside campus houses staff and students from across the globe participating in Discipleship Training School. DTS is a five-month, live-team experience where students have opportunities to know God on a deeper level while serving aboard ships and in the Kona community. Local outreach performed by students includes after-school keiki tutoring, sports mentoring and cleaning historic sites.
Curtis, who began his shipping career with YWAM’s first hospital ship in 1983 and has since served in over 70 nations on six continents, says ship missions minister to islands that have no airports or bridges.
“We bring vaccinations to these places—sometimes no one has been vaccinated there for over 10 years,” he shares. “Our ships are their only option to deliver help.”
Current missions are underway in Papua New Guinea, Panama and the Marshall Islands.
Adults can get involved as general volunteers and medical professionals. Volunteer stints are done in two- to three-week cycles and people can do as many cycles as their schedule permits. In addition, Port YWAM is hosting a golf tournament April 13. For more info, https://ywamshipskona.org.
The next AfterHours is hosted by Makani Golf Club 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 in Kailua-Kona. Signup at www.kona-kohala.com or phone 329-1758.
AFTERHOURS HOSTS—Karen and Brett Curtis, co-founders of the non-profit YWAM Ships Kona, shared the mission of the hospital ministry and what’s going on at the Ali‘i Drive operations and training center. Photo by Pam Latinis.
Hula performed at AfterHours with YWAM Ships Kona. Photo by Pam Latinis.
Networking at AfterHours at YWAM Ships Kona. Photo by Pam Latinis.
Destinations worldwide for YWAM Ships. Photo by Pam Latinis.