Youth With A Mission (YWAM) is a volunteer organization for Christians from all over the world. Volunteers, called YWAMers, come in all ages, colors, sizes and nationalities. What makes YWAM so unique is that although some of the YWAMers have different Christian traditions and values, everyone unites as one for YWAM’s purpose, to know God and to make Him known. YWAM has been serving Jesus throughout the world since 1960, and now operates in over 1,000 locations and more than 180 countries (ywam.org)!
YWAM’s University of the Nations Kona, formerly known as Pacific & Asia Christian University, was established in 1978. It is a beautiful 100-acre property designed to train young men and women to be servant leaders. While at U of N Kona, students will learn how to effectively communicate the power and love of Jesus Christ to others through the seven spheres of society: religion, family, education, government, media, arts/entertainment and business/science (uofnkona.edu). Some Scenic Ridge employees have been fortunate enough to visit this campus and volunteer there, but why?
Jay Elam King has been helping with missions for 20 years. He got started with YWAM in Mexico, and from there went to help at YWAM Kona with the organization, PA Mission Builders in 2005. He has helped work on a variety of projects on YWAM Kona’s campus, ranging from staff training facilities and student dorms to staff condos and the cafeteria.
YWAM has grown over the years, and the current cafeteria has become cramped and outdated. A few years ago, YWAM Kona raised a small amount of money for a new cafeteria. A new cafeteria was partially designed to replace the existing cafeteria, but it was not meeting the needs of the university. In fall 2010, Elam teamed up with architect, Bruce Logan, and civil engineer, Warren Israelson, and they created a $12 million building that will not only serve as the cafeteria, but also as a transmedia center and area for the culinary arts program. The small amount of money YWAM had set aside for the cafeteria was not enough to cover the project, but God answered prayers-after the permit was issued enough money was raised for the entire project! What is even more miraculous is that the $12 million project will be done for ½ the price because of all the volunteers and suppliers. Their efforts have helped this project be done for $6 million.
The project consists of 3 floors. The 1st floor is a 30,000 sq. ft. transmedia center. There, students have access to cutting edge production equipment. The 2nd floor is a 50,000 sq. ft. kitchen and open-air dining hall that also has a stage for special events. The special events area can hold up to 3,000 people! The 3rd floor is a 7,500 sq. ft. area for YWAM’s culinary arts program. Scenic Ridge was honored to be awarded a contract to supply all of the steel and custom steel stairways for the project.
Each year, PA Mission Builders supplies 100-150 volunteers to YWAM Kona to help with the various projects being done on campus. Construction of the cafeteria began in fall 2011, and in 2012 PA Mission Builders selected a handful of SRC employees to go down to Hawaii to erect steel for the project. Elam enjoys helping with non-profit missions that make a difference in people’s lives, and it is nice to see that his employees share the same desire to volunteer.
Another volunteer group will be going to Hawaii at the end of February, and construction is expected to be completed by summer 2013!