Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka from Hawai'i!
Some of you may have been referred to this blog from our very home made Christmas cards. There is an explanation for the tacky-ness, which I apologize for. In my head, I had this brilliant idea to save money and make our own Christmas postcards. We needed to send out as many as we could, and we were on a budget. So instead of having Walmart photo do it for us in their fanciful and professional way, I decided to buy all the supplies and have David and I make our own in our spare time (haha...spare time:). But unlike our wedding invitations, we did not have 10 hands on deck, and yet we still needed to make mass quantities. After several things went wrong (the white cardstock was too small for the photo, the glue couldn't keep the picture stuck, and the envelopes were the wrong size) we had to creatively come up with an alternative...and walah...that's what showed up in your mailbox:) So despite the childish look, I pray that you understand our heart and that is we love you and hope the best for you this season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For those who were spared from the Poole 2010 Christmas note :)(it may be because we don't have your current address so please send it to us for our records at, it referred all to this blog which is our Christmas letter this year. So without further ad0, the Poole 2010 Christmas letter.

To begin our digital Christmas letter experience, we would love for you to watch this amazing little video found on youtube via Relevant Magazine (but don't forget to come back and read the rest of the letter):

Humor and modern technology aside, it's neat to set aside and remember the Reason for the season and the gift Jesus was/is to the world. And that my friends is Who our lives were about this past year (and are about) being youth pastors (and our many other roles) in Hilo, HI.

If you want a detailed account of what we were up to this past year, may I recommend reading our past blogs. However, if time is treasured and a recap is more effective, then allow me to share in brief (as brief as I can be) what I, Kelsey, have been up to this past year. (and as a special treat, I have asked my husband to contribute to this Christmas letter too)

As of October 09, I have been working for TIFFE, an agency that specializes in 1 on 1 services to students/adults who have autism. From Jan-June I was doing that full time, as well as volunteering at the church. That became a bit too much, so I decided in August to only substitute. Subbing at the agency, and at a local Christian school, has been such a blessing, and God continues to provide for our every need in such an incredible way.
Our big event this past year was the Colorado Trip which about 20 of our students went on that centered around the Desperation Conference in Colorado Springs. We really felt that God was not calling us on missions this year, but instead wanted to 1) draw students closer to Him 2) ignite a passion in their lives 3) draw students closer to one another and 4) have fun! All four of those goals were accomplished in incredible ways. Eight of our students were baptized the day they got back to Hilo in the ocean, as a proclamation of what God had done in their hearts on the trip. Although the mountain top experience was exciting and exhilarating, we prepared the students for the possible valleys that lay ahead once they returned to real life. Many, including David and I, faced some low valleys. Isn't it something that our enemy wants to try to undo everything God has done, but the good news is that Satan has been defeated and Jesus is victorious!
This summer our family also doubled in size by adding two Bethel interns, Nate and Drew, who lived with us for the entire summer. They were awesome and multiplied our ministry in incredible ways. Needless to say, when they left, they were greatly missed by all!
Going on our second year of marriage, God continues to teach us new and exciting things about Himself using our marriage. Marriage has also been a huge refinement tool in our lives as well, or as David says "rough rough sandpaper" (you guessed it, that's me, I'm the sandpaper:) [ Actually - I have said before that sometimes God has to use the spouse as a metal grinder on us instead of sandpaper - David]
But through the ups and downs, I love David even more that I did on August 1, 2009, when I said those two precious words "I do". I absolutely love His gentle and soft heart, and feel that I'm a very blessed girl to have married such a man!
As for 2011, we have no idea what to expect. We can only imagine the journey ahead. I guess we'll just strap in and hold on tight, because He seems to be taking us on a ride that we'll never forget.
But here we in December of 2010...approaching the Christmas season. I'm always reminded of the busyness, stress, money (or lack there of), parties, cookies, friends, family, presents and wonder why do we wait until the Christmas Eve service to finally slow down and reflect on the Reason for the season. Why not start now? When I think of Christmas I think of the gift of Jesus Christ. This gift is not meant to be hoarded, hidden, or forgotten. Instead this gift is meant to be shared. Why not stop and share with someone waiting in the long seasonal lines at Walmart? Maybe we could share with someone who is in financial need? Let's not just let someone go in front of us in line, throw some extra change into the Salvation Army bucket, or donate some cans of food to the Food Pantry, but let's truly share with someone the Reason for the season: that Jesus Christ fully God came in the form of a human baby to grow up and at the age of 33 sacrifice His life on a cross and die so that we could have a relationship with Him. Let's not forget the power of that Reason for the season.
To family, friends, and even strangers who just happened onto this blog, Merry Christmas! May you experience Him in an awesome and real way this New Year, just ask Him and He'll do the rest!

Hello all,

I just wanted to add in to our Christmas letter. It's been an incredibly long time since I have added my voice to this blog, and have been desiring to share with you all. As Kelsey has mentioned, this has been a year with highs and lows, but yet through it all I feel that the Holy Spirit has been leading and has Kelsey and I in a place where we are supposed to matter how things may feel or look on the outside. This has been a year of tremendous growth for me personally and professionally. One of the things that the Lord has been teaching through everything is that He desires to work out every situation for our good - and sometimes the thing that is good is not fun. Throughout the course of this year (and probably the rest of my life) God has been helping me to learn that lesson, so that in every situation I can truly state along with the worship song "Blessed be Your Name".
The Holy Spirit has given us the ability to serve, connect with, lead, support, comfort, and cheer on an amazing group of teenagers, and it is an honor that is not easily forgotten each day. I am so excited to see how God will continue to develop these teens into passionate, Christ-focused disciples throughout the next year! I will truly miss hanging out with our teens while we are back in Colorado visiting family for Christmas [I will, however, love the cold weather and snow. It's sometimes hard feeling "Christmasy" when you are sitting on the beach].

All in all, it has been a good year. We appreciate and desire your prayers [is it ok to covet prayer? if it is then I do] for us and the leaders and teens we work with/serve. We are hoping to be able to see you soon, or at least talk here in the near future. Let's have fun throwing Jesus a party here soon!

Merry Christmas!


To make this an interactive Christmas letter experience, please post the opportunities you get to share with others about the Reason for the season. What an encouragement that will be! Or if you have you questions about what Jesus is all about, don't hesitate to share that too. Either post below or email or write to us at 1044 Komohana St. Hilo, HI 96720

Thursday, December 9, 2010

plethora of pics

This is a plethora of pictures, all pretty random, but all really awesome! Some are from a diving trip David took with a few of the youth guys and one of our college students. Others are of a monk seal in Kauai relaxing on the beach. I don't know about you, but if I were to be any animal I think I'd pick the monk seal. This seal not only was sunning itself on the white sand, but it had a perimeter roped off not allowing anyone to go near and give it it's space...I wish every time I went to the beach I could claim a large section of beach just to myself with threatening signs not to go near me either:)...Lucky...
There's a picture of green stuff surrounded by foil. That's called lau lau. Yes, for those who are local, your mouth is salivating as we speak. For those not familiar with the Hawaiian foods, you may be gagging in your mouth. This dish is chicken, pork, and/or fish wrapped in taro leaves (which taste like spinach). A Hawaiian favorite, and something I'm still getting used to.
A few more are from Kauai when my uncle Steve and David decided to go boogie boarding in the high surf...a few bruises and scrapes later...I'm happy to say they did manage to make it out alive. Also that's Diane (my dad's cousin) waving to you from an amazing snorkeling beach called Poipu. The last are pictures of the youth girls tping my own house. Please, let me explain before you come to any hasty judgements. Yes, I let the girls tp the inside of MY house, but what you don't know is that David was having a Guy's Night simultaneously and they just happened to be out. Using my own toilet paper, plastic wrap, and furniture, these girls did a fantastic job turning my house into a dump which the boys later came home too. What a great bonding experience. Overall David and I really appreciate living life with the youth in these small ways like Girls Nights and Guys Nights! Lately our message has been for them to grow...and they don't need a youth group or a fun night like these to do that. God's given them everything and simply put it is this:
G- Get into God (Prayer
R- Read his Word
O- Obey His commands
W- Witness

May you grow this week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kauai trip and Thanksgiving 2010

I'm looking out across the ocean on the amazing island of Kauai, admiring the serene beauty and outstanding creativity of only our Creator. I can only imagine how the psalmists of the Bible felt as they, in the midst of turmoil in their lives, sat in the beauty of God's creation and let the Holy Spirit minister to their needs. When that happens, it seems only natural, to let His transforming peace consume our tired and burdened hearts. I think it's so important to spend time in what He's made (creation) and be still and know that He is God. In my life it's easy to be so caught up in the busyness, our "to do lists", people's expectations, but a small 4 day vacation of just enjoying what He's made can be such medicine to the soul and a remedy to a tired and weary spirit. Needless to say, Kauai has been wonderful.

Thanksgiving Day we flew in to meet my Grandma, her sister and My great aunt Pat, her daughter Diane, and my uncle Steve and Aunt Wendy. We had a wonderful turkey dinner compliments of Safeway. Friday we spent at the beach laying out and attempting to tan and enjoying the water when the sun got too hot. Saturday some of us went to Lihue and did some shopping:) Today we enjoyed going to church. The pastor is one of David and I's peers from Bethel. He and his wife just had a baby, and it was so neat to catch up with them and some of our other friends too. David's roommate, Greg, and his wife Lindy also live here. I enjoyed getting to know them better, and to see David fellowship with an old friend.
We head back tomorrow. In just a few weeks we'll be in Colorado enjoying Christmas with the family. Ohana is a of big importance in Hawaii, and I believe in keeping with that importance even though our family is on the mainland. I hope that family will always be of high importance in our lives.

According to my husband, after Thanksgiving is the time for the Christmas music, so blast that music loud and clear, and let the Christmas season begin. But despite the busyness, let's sit in His creation, and remember His love for us. The reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. And, from Pastor Matt's message this morning, let's also remember the reason why He came too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm not sure if there is anything too new to report. Besides sitting in the mall with one of our students for a couple hours as she and a few others await for the Harry Potter movie 17 hours early, or playing cowgirl at one of HMC family's farms while they go on a much needed vacation, or getting ready to go on a fun little Thanksgiving vacation to see family in Kauai, we haven't been up to too much.

For the past few days, David and I have been taking care of a family's farm out in the boonies of Hawaii. David and I truly enjoyed being near animals again (4 horses, 4 goats, 3 dogs, and 3 cats). It was great to be out in nature, enjoying God's creation.

Just a quick thought to share. I was reading a friend's blog and she shared her mission statement or purpose statement. Just the idea of having a mission statement was amazing to me, an individual mission statement. You hear about company's mission statements, but why shouldn't we have a mission statement too as individuals. A mission statement motivates, focuses, reminds, and brings clarity. What would your mission statement be? I'm going to start working on mine.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

horsebackriding in November

These are pictures from Monday. I had the privilege of going to the Harris farm to visit with the Harris' and another gal and see the animals and ride the horses. Classy, the horse I'm on, is a new addition to the farm. She reminds me a lot of BJ (stubborn, doesn't want to leave her horse buddies, but gentle and loving). It was a little taste of Colorado. I believe this is the first time I've gone horsebackriding in November:)
I had such a wonderful time of fellowship with the two other ladies. Praise the Lord for such loving friends and awesome and gentle animals:)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So it's a rainy day in Hawaii and I have decided to plant myself at Starbucks and catch up on work and watch my favorite show Chuck. It's been relaxing and much needed. I feel a bit guilty, because while I'm enjoying my "day off", David is out washing cars with students in the rain for a "pledge drive" to raise money for this summer's missions.

So I don't have a lot to "report", except that a truly loved teaching 5th graders for the past 7 school days. My favorite moment while teaching was this:
During Bible class we were talking about the Old Testament books of the Bible. I asked students to turn to the book of Ecclesiastes. One of my students raised his hand, and in all sincerity said "Mrs. Poole, I don't think I have that book" :)
Cute kids:)

I wanted to share something that I've been learning. One of the women from church gave me This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti to read thinking the story is similar to that of David's and mine since we have been in Hawaii (which I would agree now being half the way through). However, I know it's a fiction book, but I believe Peretti may be on to something in his description of the spirit world. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and authority of this present darkness." Peretti describes the spiritual world/battle in such depth, but he always emphasizes this point. The good guys, the angels, are strengthened by prayer. The angels recognize prayer covering and prayer support as a powerful weapon, and without it, the darkness can and will often prevail over a person, location, and/or community (land). But the cool thing is, that one person praying, can fuel and strengthen the angels to defeat a mass amount of demons, or the hardest and most powerful demons... that's one person praying. Imagine two people praying, or five...or a whole church. Imagine the damage that a whole church praying can do to the dark world. This book also illustrated another point, a scary point, and that is these demons of darkness, dominions of Satan, are truly out to steal, kill and destroy all of humanity sparing no one. And their methods are often so subtle at first and lead to such incredible bondage later. Boy, do we need to clothe ourselves with the armor of God each and every day. Your thoughts?

Kelsey and David:)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Maui trip with the Walisz...fam

Aloha friends and family,
Sorry for the delayed update on the Pooles. Last week, David and I joined my family for a few days over in Maui where David worked (and played some) and I got to play and spend time with them. It was a much needed break for me, especially after working 3 weeks solid in some tough special ed cases. We joined them Sunday evening and came back Thursday morning. The pictures above are with the family in Maui...everything from blowholes, white sand beaches, to rocks that look like dragon's teeth (that's what the location is called, I promise I didn't make that up).
It was nice to be back in Maui. It felt like another home since growing up, using my dad's expertise, travel vouchers, and/or miles, we were privileged to vacation in Maui several times. If you ever travel to Maui, stay at the Papakea and eat at Lahaina Pizza place. The two best spots on the whole island ;)
Now it's back to work (or continuing to work for David). I already have two solid weeks of work. Praise God! Starting tomorrow, I'll be teaching in a 5th grade (not special ed) classroom at the local Christian school. I'm really excited for this teaching experience and for the change of pace. Pray for me. I know all the things I ever did to subs will come back to haunt me. Show me grace God, I apolgize to all my sub teachers out there, from elem school to high school. Gosh, I could be awful! I'm sure none of you ever treated your subs horridly (changing names during attendance, sticking notes on their back, putting something on their chair when they sat down, ...)? Did you?
The wind has calmed I haven't been kiteboarding. But saving some money to travel to the other side of the island when the wind picks back up again.
David went diving with a bunch of guys last Saturday. He said it was a gorgeous day and so much fun to be out with the youth diving and grilling hamburgers. *I feel that Tim the Toolman's grunt is appropriate right now...insert here*.

We'd ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers. Life continues to be hard right now. It's a good reminder that paradise isn't always paradise. Ultimate paradise will be when we are standing before our Heavenly Father someday in heaven worshipping Him with all the other people who believed in Jesus Christ and therefore have eternal life! Woohoo, I'm excited for that day!

Love to know how you are doing. Give us an email.

Aloha ke Akua,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

David's pics of Thailand

Sa wah dee ka
(Thai greeting)
I wanted to post the Thailand pictures on behalf of David. I believe there are more to come. The majority of these pictures are taken on their fellowship fishing trip they took Saturday with one of the missionaries and some thai believers.
While David was in Thailand, I was able to have some time to myself. Although I stayed busy with youth group, work, meetings, I did have some time to miss my husband:) I also decided to make our living room and dining room a bit more homey. I stained, painted, designed and bought things to make it look 10x better. We found out we will probably get to stay in our current house longer than december, so I thought it was time to make it feel like home since this will probably be the longest we've stayed in one place since we've moved to Hawaii. So come one, come all and come visit us:)
Well what's new in the lives of the Pooles?
Now that we've hit October, it seems like our busy lives have accelerated. Thankfully, I've been getting a lot of work and now am pretty booked until November 5. God has been so faithful. Tis the season to work so I can have the season of travel and kiteboard:)
The youth group continues to have its ups and downs. Overall the youth group is about seeing kids come into a real relationship with Jesus Christ, and our prayer is that that is happening. I hope nothing we do never gets in the way of that. If we ever become a hinderance of that happening, I hope God removes us immediately. Every church brings its politics, unfortunately, and that is something we continue to try to dodge (as much as we can help it). Your prayer is greatly appreciated in this area.

In about a week, David and I will be heading to Kahalui, Maui, to join my parents and Trevor on a little R and R. This is something we have been looking forward to a long time. The last time David and I both were on Maui together was in December 2006 for the Waliszewski Christmas vacation. It'll be fun to re-visit my second home, well now third home:)

Your prayers are always appreciated as I continue to work (as a side job) about starting some sort of educational experience for high school and/or college here in Hilo, Hawaii. It's been on my heart for a while, and I found another gal here who has felt that God has been laying on her heart to start something similar. Currently, we are meeting once a week and watching what we believe God is piecing  together...possibly something bigger than we've both imagined. We want to be in the center of God's will and are trying to sort what is God and what is's been quite the task. Do you have any similar stories or situations? Please let me know, how do you determine God's will from the many things you think may be God. Send us your thoughts (

Also, David and I will be traveling back to Colorado December 23- January 7. We would love to do a weekend in the mountains or anything...looking for a cheaper trip than Hawaii?..we would love to see you during our time in Colorado. Let us know if you can make it to CO during those dates, and we'll start planning something:)

Ok, well that's all for now folks. Better get back to our teen drama practice. Our teens have planned and prepared a drama to outreach during the Christmas season. Our prayer is that their daily lives reflect the truth they are performing.

Kelsey (and David)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

hace calor en septiembre!

Hello ya'll,
Not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it's hot here in Hawaii. We've been blessed with sunshine, blue sky, and picturesque views of our two beautiful volcanos Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. In fact, all you can think about is getting in that cool, crisp, and clear ocean water just to cool off.
David and I have been doing just that, still pursuing our recreational passions of diving and kiteboarding. The pics posted of the fish are recent catches by the one and only Kawika (David) Poole. The kiteboarding pic is a bit old, I've actually been flying my 14meter PINK kite lately. The last time I flew it, it got a big hole in what is called the strut (one of the parts that holds air). But, my Grandma will be so proud of me, I fixed it by sewing it myself...yes, yes I sewed. I'm still discovering many of my talents:)
How's the church and the youth group going? you ask...Well thank's for asking. Things are going well. We had 21 teenagers over at our house last night for a pizza party and a movie. Our house was bursting at the seams, well more like our living room, but cozy and hot as it was, we so much enjoy hanging out with the teens and meeting some of their friends. It's neat to see some of our teens inviting others from school. Church can be an intimidating place, but going over to someone's house for pizza...a whole lot less intimidating and definately more real. Our prayer is that these friends will start noticing a difference and asking our HMC teens questions that can lead to some spiritual conversations and ultimately more people coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. (This is our REACH part of the youth group)

We also are busy doing our BUILD part of the youth group called Mana Akua and Fuel. Mana Akua is happening Thursday nights. Our teens have the opportunity to take part in accountability groups, quiet time, and discussion of the Word of God. Then at the very end they have an application time. Currently, they are studying God's heart for the poor and needy and are working together to put on a costume drive so that needy kids in our community can participate in dressing up in events such as Harvest Parties. As much as I don't agree with the Halloween holiday, I do see that it can be used to meet a need and through that share the reason for the giving. Our youth group is trying to team up with a charitable organization called Food for the Keiki (children). From my understanding the organization is not Christian, but it's a great opportunity to get involved and one day help bring charity through a Christian understanding. Fuel is our Sunday service where our teens are studying the history behind some of the New Testament letters. Our hope is to get students in the Word of God where they can be changed and transformed. We can only do so much, it's through God's Word and the power of the Holy Spirit that these students can be eternally changed.

SEND is the last aspect of our youth ministry. We are doing Peer2Peer (training students to mentor peers) with One2One mentoring with church leadership. Six of our older students have given up 12 Saturdays where they are experiencing intense discipleship and challenging application. This is our trial season, and if it goes well we hope to continue this discipleship and sending with other groups of students in the future.

How are you and David you ask?
Well, we are doing well. Anticipating the 10 days apart while David is in Thailand, we are trying to hang out as much as possible. I will say that marriage is amazing, but brings its challenges as well. Hopefully we are just coming out of a season of challenges. We are learning that love and respect is communicated not just through words but through follow thru of promises made, tone of voice, how we speak about one another to others, sacrificing time and energy to bless one another, and supporting each other in dreams and passions. We know that we can't do this marriage selflessly on our own, it's Jesus Christ who has to change our hearts and help us die to ourselves that will make this marriage not only last but be fun and fruitful (not talking about kids here, more using marriage as a ministry....just to clarify, I know what you are thinking. It's not a day that goes by that I don't hear Laura Losada's voice saying, "I want little Poolines"...not happening anytime soon:).

What are you all up to in the next few weeks?
Well besides David going to Thailand, God has blessed me with three weeks of subbing. A definite financial blessing. Although I'll have to put kiteboarding on hold, it's nice to know I have some work ahead so that I can kiteboard, oh and pay the bills too:)
My folks and Trevor are coming over to Hawaii mid October, and we'll be meeting them in Maui for a little 4 day vacation. I'm looking forward to that.

Well that's all for now folks. Write us!
In Love,
Kelsey (and Kawika)