F is for friends and family. What would we have done without them? In our time of crisis, friends and family were there to help and support us in every way. We mention many of them in our book and among them are new friends we met while in Hawaii.
When we first received the news on the Monday after Thanksgiving that our son had not returned from his hike in the Kohala Mountains on the Big Island, we contacted our closest friends and prayer warriors to ask them to pray. Since John's boss didn't think there was cause for alarm initially, we didn't send out an alert to everyone. But by the middle of the week, email prayer requests for John's safety and return were going out to all friends and family and to their friends and families.
Later in the week we felt we needed to go to Hawaii to help with the searches. But we had no funds with which to buy tickets. So we prayed and within an hour a family member of a friend contacted us to offer his frequent flyer miles. Since he didn't have enough for both tickets he contacted another acquaintance of ours who provided his miles for the other ticket. By Sunday we were on our way to Hawaii. Later other friends did the same for our two children who had to come from Brazil and they arrived in Hawaii around the middle of December. What would we have done without these generous friends who were touched by the love of God to help us?
Many friends and family members provided funds for the cost of helicopter flights, car rental and miscellaneous expenses. New friends provided lodging and supported us in so many ways it would be impossible to list them all.
Our email provider wasn't working properly so a sister forwarded all of our emails to the larger list of friends and family who were praying throughout the searches. She served as a go-between to make sure all our messages got out and that we also received messages we needed.
Pastor Steve Hedlund and his wife Yumi who we met the first day we went to Pololu, helped organize a memorial service for John. Hilo Missionary Church and all of their members offered support in many ways including sending a group of youth to do a choreographed presentation at the memorial service.
The many wonderful people at the USGS (United States Geological Survey) where John was serving as an intern provided personnel for searches, drivers to take us to key places, and general help in more ways than we probably even knew about while we were there.
Many have said that of all the searches that had been done in Hawaii for missing people, they had never seen such an all out effort as they did for our search for John.
Helicopters and searchers were mobilized, fishermen were alerted, native Hawaiians helped by searching in remote places few people even knew about. Many people whose names we don't even know were a part of this all out effort to locate our son. And for each and every friend, family member and unknown searcher we are forever grateful!
Do you have a good network of friends and family you can depend upon in a crisis?