Please enjoy the original writing, Christian travel journal, and photography by a hapa haole named Gail Rhea.

Original Writing & Photography

by Gail Rhea




From: "The Hapa Haole Journal"

Subject: September 11 - Part 2 (Aftermath)

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:42:05 HST


People asked me recently, “Aren’t you afraid to fly?”

No, no way. The Bible says in Gen 6:3 that the Lord allotted man a lifespan of 120 years and I trust that He’s not going to take me until it’s my time to go. A friend added, “And if He tells you not to get on a plane, you won’t.”

Ah, that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? I believe God won’t let me get maimed or killed unless it’s my time to go but not many people fulfill a lifespan of 120 years, either.

Is it a matter of hearing the Lord and obeying Him?

Back in late 1987 or so, I had a totally awesome experience through a co-worker in another section with whom I was acquainted. Our conversation over the years consisted of “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how about yourself?” “Busy.” “Yeah, me, too. See you.”

One day, we met on the walk between two buildings and started the “Hi, how are you” bit. I had several things I was trying to figure out and he popped out and said, “The Lord says that...”

I was startled and just stood there. He proceeded to tell me a few other things that the Lord told him to say and then I got it. This man was speaking the answers to questions I had silently asked God prior to our meeting.

That’s when the fun began. I prayed silently to God every question I could think of, changing subjects, asking about different people and the man spoke the answers. If anyone else had been there, it would have seemed strange for me to be standing there, silently listening while this man jumped around in his topics but, he was right on track. He was keeping up with me. There were only a few seconds between my silently asking a question and his speaking the answer, over and over again.

My last question was, “How’s he doing that?”

A moment later, he looked directly at me and said, “It took me 15 years to learn to hear the Lord.”

I thought, “Fifteen years! That’s a long time. I want to do it in less.”

And so, my lessons began. Nine years later, in 1996, someone from the singles group I was hanging out with told me that everyone knew I had a hotline to God. It was gratifying to know I was making progress but it wasn’t good enough. Even today, nearly fourteen years later, I’m too aware of how hard it is for me to be attentive to the voice of the Lord and how easy it is for me to ignore and be disobedient to Him while heeding that which is false.

Will I be able to make it to 120 years of age? I dunno. I hope so.

My concern right now is that others not be consumed with the fear that’s gripping this country because of the terrorist attacks. One week after, Aloha Airlines announced a 27% cutback in its flight schedule due to the lack of passengers with layoffs to follow. The following week, Hawaiian Airlines followed with the announcement of a smaller cutback. From what I’ve read, the airline industry in general is flying at only 1/3 capacity and needs federal assistance to be able to survive. On top of that, the stock market is down.

In Hawaii, on the day of the attacks, several businesses and the entire Ala Moana Center closed for security reasons. Today, it’s September 29, 2001. The beaches are empty, Waikiki is more like a ghost town, hotels and other tourist-related businesses are announcing thousands of layoffs, and the governor is going to Japan to tell the Japanese people that it won’t be disrespectful of our dead for them to vacation here, that it will, in fact, support us in our fight against the terrorists. Hawaii is facing its worst economic crisis ever because fully a quarter of its economy depends on the employment of one-third of the state’s workforce by the tourist industry.

An industry now controlled by fear.

It seems to me that rounds 1 and 2 both go to the terrorists. First, they strike down the World Trade Center towers and at the Pentagon. Our fearful reaction is handing them round 2, our economy.

Are we going to let them win?

I shout, “NO!”

I want the perpetrators found and smashed but this is a new kind of war, one that everyone can help fight by simply not giving in to the fear.

I know, it’s easy for me to say. But, my point is this: developing a close relationship with the Lord, and I mean so close it’s tight, will enable you to be more sensitive to His still, small voice and will keep you and your loved ones in His will as you walk in the liberty He died to gain us.

So, how do you learn to hear from God?

The first step is to get right with God and stay right. That includes getting right with others and ourselves.

Mark 12:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mat 5:

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

1 Cor 11:

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The second step is to get to know Him. The Bible is full of His attributes and examples of His ways. Use the Bible as a ruler with which to measure all the different types of communication that you may perceive to be from Him. If it is from Him, what you’re told will not contradict what is written. For example, He will not send an angel to tell you that you’ll find your answer in astrology because the Bible says that astrology is an abomination to Him.

Third, keep communicating with Him. Ask Him to give you lessons in hearing Him. If you’re new at this, don't worry. They’ll be simple lessons with no dire consequences when you fail, gaining in complexity as your ability to hear increases.

Fourth, learn to recognize His voice. Just as you’re able to identify a caller on the telephone who doesn’t give his name simply because you're familiar with his voice because of frequent interaction, you can learn to recognize the voice of the Lord. I had a lot of misses until He taught me the difference between what’s outside of me and what’s inside. As I learn to discern, my accuracy in distinguishing what’s Him and what’s not increases. What’s Him is what comes from my spirit, my inner man that was regenerated by the Holy Spirit when I became a new creation and invited the Lord into my heart, the core of my being. Some people describe it as a gut feeling. Others say it’s a knowing, something that you know, that you know, that you know. Anything from that is of God.

Perhaps it’s better described by:

Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit...

1 Cor 2:

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality, faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. (Amp.)

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Since Satan is the prince of the power of the air and was given man’s flesh to eat (remember that man was created from dust and that even today, the elemental composition of our bodies closely resembles the Earth’s) anything that comes from the outside or outer part is either from unregenerated flesh or is from the devil.

Gen 3:14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Rom 7:

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing

Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Gal 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Gal 5:

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

James 1:

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

If a fearful thought is received and retained, it will cause physical changes commonly referred to as the fight or flight response such as a change in breathing, elevated blood pressure, and tensed muscles. It is our responsibility to learn to discern whether or not a thought is the result of God’s built-in warning mechanism to keep us safe or if it’s just another tactic of the devil’s meant to kill, steal, destroy, or keep us in bondage such as inhibiting us from going somewhere or doing something when we’d be perfectly safe to do so.

Please use your head. Please learn to discern. Please ask God for wisdom as I ask it for you also.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Eph 1:

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Col 1:

9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son

1 Cor 2:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


This is where the rubber of faith meets the road of life. There isn’t any scripture saying people on the East Coast shouldn’t fly or should go on vacation or to work late or call in sick on September 11, 2001 but some of those who survived the terrorist attacks are telling stories that go beyond heroics.

If you consider yourself to be a ship in a safe harbor, please factor this: While harbors are safe, ships are built to sail the seven seas, not sit anchored in a harbor for months on end. Since President Bush warned that this will be a long, drawn-out affair, we need to examine our part in it and decide if we’re going to play into the hands of the enemy or stand our ground and fight for our liberty however we’re able.

If you’re thinking that you’ll just sit in your harbor until the government gets airport security tightened up, checks all the crop dusters, and resolves the licensing for the conveyance of hazardous materials, please bear in mind that where terrorists are involved, just as with drive-by shooters, drug-crazed maniacs, people controlled by road rage, muggers, kidnappers, murderers, and rapists - BTW, those last two are often acquainted with their victims - there is no guarantee other than God’s which hinges strictly on our willingness to trust and obey. That’s why He’s our Lighthouse. He warns us away from rocks that would sink our ships and needlessly delay or abort our journey through this world.

I can't say why God allowed the infidel terrorists to kill or injure all those people because He deals with each of us on an individual basis as well as all of us together as a group. The Bible provides several reasons for the death of individuals ranging from those who die early to save them from a worse future to those who die prematurely because of their own sin(s) to others whose deaths are to prevent them from committing future sin(s). Then, there are those who die simply because somebody else interrupts their natural life spans. 

As a group, maybe the Lord is calling us to repentance because we've strayed so far from Him and His ways or maybe He's repaying us with a sample of the shock of death and devastation that innocent villagers in Vietnam suffered at the hands of those U.S. military members who went out of control and weren't brought to justice.

What I do know is that those of us who remain have to go on.

Before the terrorist attacks, the pastor of the church I’ve been attending told an evening congregation that if we love the Lord with all of our hearts, minds, and strength, we can go out and do what we feel like and we’ll be blessed.

It's hard for me to say this in the aftermath of Sept. 11 without further gouging the raw wounds of the victims and survivors, yet knowing the long-term results of the hard parts of life that I and others have already faced, with gentle tenderness, I have to agree. Something good will come out of that horrible day to someone, somewhere, at some time, somehow. 

Until we're able to comprehend the purpose of His ways, our trust and devotion to God enables us to stay in the flow of His Spirit, around us as well as through us, and blessings, even those blessings in disguise sent through painful events in spite of our own goals and intentions, come to us as well as flow out of us to others, occurring as a natural part of our daily existence. And, if by any chance, there is something that would cause our ship to sail onto rocks and wreck us beyond His will, He warns us.

If only we’d learn to pay attention to Him.

Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

In other words, “Folks, it’s show time.”

Are you ready?


* * * * * * *

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.








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