03.11.18 Sunday Message

While our clocks “Spring” forward today 😉... it made me ponder how time flies!!! This past week was the 35th Anniversary of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and also #ChildrensHospitalWeek. As a cofounder of this amazing charity along with my dear friends Joe Lake and Mick Shannon, (https://youtu.be/gdXPFD31l6w), it broke my heart that I was unable to be with all our #MiracleChildren and their families in Florida at Walt Disney World. With work at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the weeks coincided so I was unable to attend 😞, but boy do I love these kids and their families!!!

Steve and I were also able to turn back the hands of time 🕰 the week before last, during an unforgettable, stress-free Hawaiian vacation. ⛰🏝 We literally walked (actually, we flew 🛩🤣) right into the history books of Kalaupapa—a charming village located on the Northern shore of the island of Molokai. I posted a photo of this enchanting peninsula last Tuesday. It is wrapped by sky-high majestic mountains, with lush vegetation and dramatic cliffs, that are hailed by island residents to be the “highest sea cliffs on earth.” I hope you enjoy what I captured in these few photos of what I saw as a simple, peaceful, little bit of heaven on earth today!

This island was established to permanently house those who contracted Hansen’s Disease (leprosy). Can you imagine living in exile, being forced to leave your home and loved ones forever and to be shipped to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Such was the case with afflicted victims back in the late 1800s, when their Hawaii’s king quarantined them to Kalaupapa. As we toured this unique and highly spiritual, tiny village, my heart 💔 broke hearing stories of the babies born to those patients who suffered severe deformities from their illnesses, and as soon as these babies were born, they were immediately separated from their mothers. The infants were then removed from the island to be put up for adoption… many never meeting their Kalaupapa parent(s) again. 👶🏻😢

I was touched by the story of #FatherDamien, the Catholic priest who was recently declared a Saint for his 16-year mission there, ministering and caring for those people battling with Hansen’s Disease. He too eventually contracted leprosy and died on this island.

A few miles past his church, my sweetheart and I picnicked at Kalawao, a romantic and picturesque lookout. But the highlight of our day was that we were allowed to meet the last few survivors there. These beautiful, lovely and endearing  souls are still sequestered on the peninsula and are living out their golden years, away from our fast-paced, stressful world. I was adopted by one of them, “Uncle Boogie,” who is seriously one of the cutest people I have ever met! 😍 We exchanged autographs and sweet hugs while I visited the tiny bookstore there that he manages. He’s quite the island celebrity! 😎 He took me into meet his friends, who are the last remaining people afflicted by this disease. As he introduced me to one of them named John… John looked at me and said “oh my goodness… you lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem” Then laughed and gave me a hug ♥️. They all said how they loved watching the Donny and Marie shows growing up. It melted my heart and brought a tear to my eye! I loved loved loved meeting these special new friends!!!!

I admire the Molokai residents’ strength as well, and I feel so blessed to have shared their passionate love of a simpler life. I will never forget these amazing people and their sapphire beachfronts that  also greeted us with a cute happy whale that kept jumping out of the water for us to see! 🐳 #WhaleSeason 👍 We also came across a few Molokai deer and wild pigs throughout our adventure. 🦌 🐷 It truly was an incredible experience!

What was once a prison or forbidden community is now a refuge and a blessing for people like me who can appreciate Kalaupapa’s unofficial motto that I read on a sign as we left the landing field, “Slow down! This is Molokai!” and “Smile - It No Broke Your Face!”.  My athletic and cute husband managed to pick up his pace as he chose to hiked up the high sea cliffs in less than one hour 🏃. As for me, I ventured off to a much easier and shorter hike. 😉 It overlooked a old volcanic crater and even more breathtaking sea cliffs and green mountains. At the top I payed tribute to some unmarked graves, one of which belongs to a Hawaiian hero by the name of Jonathan Kapela, whose undying affection for his wife stricken with leprosy, made him choose to stay and care for her in the forbidden village until he too lost his life to the disease. Their love story gives a new meaning to the famous marriage vow, “Til Death Do Us Part." But for the thousands of people who suffered from this deforming illness, and died on Kalaupapa... I KNOW from the depth of my soul that through the resurrection, they WILL be made whole. To those that served, cared and loved these precious people, they exemplify the Savior’s doctrine that charity and “L❤️VE Never Faileth.” 😇 💘  

So to our CMN Hospitals that help and treat 11 million children every single year, God Bless all of the wonderful doctors, nurses, staff, our AMAZING corporate sponsors like Walmart who has raised $1 BILLION alone for CMNH. Statistics prove that everyone will eventually use or have a loved one use a children's hospital in their lifetime. Every minute, 62 kids enter one of our children’s hospitals… that’s a little over a child a second. Today, these are the special children that need our loving care, especially since children’s hospitals are last on government funding. 😞 The best part of our Children’s Miracle Network Charity is that 100% of your donation actually goes to the kids and stays in your local area, going directly to your local children’s hospital! We help children with all kinds of problems from accident victims to burn victims, muscle diseases, blood diseases, premature babies, open heart surgeries, cancer... everything... even down to a tonsillectomy. 🤪 Whatever problems our children may have, these hospitals are always there, 24/7, to help out… And they never turn a child away no matter their financial situation. Go to our website CMNHospitals.org and see how you might be able to bless the children treated at children’s hospitals every year. ♥️

God bless you on this glorious Sunday and God Bless the beautiful people who are the last survivors of Hansens Disease or leprosy, on the gorgeous island of Kalaupapa! You are all loved!

Do you have or have you used a children’s hospital? I’d love to hear your story! What is your most memorable vacation? For me, I will cherish this one in #Hawaii forever! Have a #Happy and #Beautiful #Sunday! 😘💋

#HisDay #Molokai #Kalaupapa #MemorableVacation #FatherDamien #Kalawao #FamiliesAreForever #JohnKapela