Dominic Balli’s Sermon, “Stepping Out”
So much has happened over the past 10 months or so since we made the decision to move to Maui. Let’s see if we can highlight what has brought us to this point.
So I really have to begin with our honeymoon. Angela and I came to Hawaii for our honeymoon, specifically Maui and Kauai. We absolutely fell in love with what the islands had to offer. Not only did we love the climate and tropical water, we felt comfortable with the culture as well.
In the early years of of our marriage we vacationed here at least annually, eventually moving to Maui in 1987. We live here for two years and made some great friendships that have lasted to this day. I taught scuba diving, Angela worked for Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays. We also spent the majority of our free time working with Junior and Senior High School Students as a small church in Kahului.
After moving back to Santa Barbara we began a family and still visited Hawaii annually. As those years passed our love for the islands, the environment, its people and culture grew. As our son T.J. and daughter Kristina grew, they too grew fond of Hawaii. Kristina began to dance hula and we began to learn more of Hawaiian culture and history.
We got to a point where we always knew we would move back. We figured it would be after Kristina had graduated high school or even college. By this point, I had begun a career in law enforcement and figured I would maintain that career until I amassed a full retirement.
In the spring of 2010, Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara Pastor Ricky Ryan moved back to Maui. He had started a church on Maui, Kumulani Chapel and moved to Santa Barbara about the same time we moved back. We had met Ricky through some common friends here on Maui, friends that we are still close to. So after Ricky moved back, Angela and I began to joke about moving back and attending Kumulani Chapel.
After light-hearted dreaming about moving back to Maui Angela said to me, “If we are serious about moving back to Maui, we need to talk to Kristina about it. It’s going to affect her the most.” This was because Kristina was about to begin high school. I said, “Let’s not talk to her and just pray about it.” That’s what we did and about a week later Kristina came up to us and and said, ” Mom, Dad, I think God wants me to go to high school on Maui.” And so began our journey of pray and meditation on what God might have for our family.
On Sunday, October 17, 2010, we all went to church at Reality in Carpinteria. Dominic Balli spoke that morning. The title of his sermon was stepping out. Listen to it here:
That morning the Holy Spirit spoke to each of us loud and clear. After church we as a family got together and shared what God had laid on on hearts. We did not discuss it, we simply shared what God had impressed on each of our hearts. All of us had the same thing to share, that now not later was the time to move to Hawaii. So that is where and when the decision was made.
As soon as we got home both T.J. and Kristina posted on Facebook our decision. T.J.’s was somewhat covert, something like, “amazing decisions were made at church today.” Kristina’s on the other hand was a bit more direct; “We moving to Maui this summer.” My the next day, Angela was being asked about our decision to move. So I decided to let my bosses know of our eventual plans.
We then began the journey of figuring out how and when we were going to make the move. We had just purchased a home in Santa Barbara 11 months earlier so we called our real estate agent to let her know we now wanted to sell the house we had just purchased. We listed out home around the end of 2010, which is kind of a bad time of the year with the holidays and all. I also had to do some work on the house to take care of some issues identified in various reports, but in early spring we got a solid offer on the house and it sold.
We had to find a place a place to stay in the interim, so Angela scoured the classifieds and could not find anything suitable. Our real estate agent sent out an mass email to all the realtors in SB, and we were put in contact with a family that had a 3 bedroom condo for rent…on a month to month basis! Almost unheard of. Soon after we moved in.
Over spring break, we planned a vacation to Maui to look for property and begin the process of investigating schools that Kristina could potentially attend. On that vacation we visited two schools and looked at more than 20 properties. We got a good idea of the locations we liked and Kristina got a good idea where she might like to attend school.
We came back to Santa Barbara and decided to put in an offer on a house we found during our vacation. After a couple of tries we had an accepted offer and Angela and I flew back to Maui for the home inspection. During the home inspection we found some undisclosed problems with the property so we decided to cancel escrow, but while we on Maui, we looked at a few more properties and found a house that we really liked. Once we returned to S.B. we decided to put in an offer on that house. Our second offer was accepted and we were in escrow again. This time I flew out for the home inspection. But this house turned out to be even more of a challenge than the first house. There were several things that needed fixing before the underwriter would fund our loan and eventually after two long months, we had to cancel escrow on that house as well.
In June, Angela and Kristina made another trip to Maui to enroll Kristina in school and find a home for us to rent. No decent, affordable, rental was to be found, but while Angela and Kristina were on Maui, they looked at some new condos that were for sale. We had looked at these condos when the whole family was on Maui during spring break so we were familiar with them. I was initially uninterested in living in a condo, but given the difficulty in purchasing anything on Maui but a newly built home, I warmed up to the idea. We then put in an offer on our favorite 3 bedroom floor plan and we found ourselves in escrow again. A good thing too, because in order for Kristina to be enrolled in her new high school we needed a permanent local address and they were willing to accept the condo’s address as ours.
Angela and Kristina returned to Santa Barbara and began the process of going through our belongings to take only what we thought we would need. We scheduled to have a small POD delivered which we filled and was picked up a couple of days later. We eventually shipped both our cars and sent about 15 boxes parcel post.
About a week before escrow closed on July 22, Angela and Kristina moved to Maui so Kristina could officially register for her classes and Angela could facilitate getting all the condo purchase paperwork signed and completed. While “the girls” were on Maui, my job was to liquidate the rest of the items in our rental in Santa Barbara except of course for those items that I intended to take to Maui.
T.J. had been away at summer camp. When he got back, he spent about a week with me then headed to Maui to spend some time with his mom and sister before heading back to Santa Barbara to attend SBCC.
As soon as escrow closed I gave official notice of my retirement from the police department. I felt obligated to give at least two weeks notice which meant I would be working through Fiesta one last time. My official last day of work was Wednesday, August 10. I flew to Maui on a one way airline ticket on August 12.
Over the past week we have been trying to get settled. We quickly found out that we should have shipped more than we did, but unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20. We have been purchasing furniture, housewares and basic items for living.
In the upcoming weeks I am going to start looking for employment as we continue to settle in.
We are loving our new home but really miss the valued friendships we left behind in Santa Barbara. We look forward to what God has for us here and the new relationships and experiences soon to be revealed.