The church bids Kyle and Joan a fond farewell!

By HiloICoC•org Webserver.

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” Luke 4:42-44 (NIV).

Many people share about how Kyle and Joan have affected their lives. (photo by Chris Directo)

The church held a going-away party for Kyle and Joan Bartholomew last night. Members of the church, as well as friends and family of the Bartholomew’s, attended the event.

The food was top-notch! Everyone brought food, local potluck style, to Kyle’s parents’ house. The banquet consisted of local favorites, deli-style dishes, Indonesian fare, American foods and Chinese cuisine. Everyone ate to their heart’s content!

In addition to chowing down, people participated in ping-pong, darts, fellowship and television. The children also managed to fit in some hide-and-seek!

After dinner, everyone gathered in the living room to share about Kyle and Joan. Some shared about their gratitude for the Bartholomews, some shared about how much the Bartholomews will be missed, some shared about how the Bartholomews have impacted their lives.

Many shed tears. 

Mahe and Tanya (l-r) sing a song in honor of the Bartholomew’s. (photo by Chris Directo)

Kyle and Joan have been serving as our church leaders for over a year. A year ago, Kyle became our lead minister on a volunteer basis while working another full-time job. Shortly after, he started to be employed by the church part-time. Soon Kyle became our full-time minister as he gave up his other job.

Kyle’s tenure as our minister has been an eventful one. Shortly after being tabbed by the leadership to be the lead minister, he sought help from Kip McKean and the Portland International Church of Christ. Just before Kip came to Hilo to speak, leaders from Honolulu and Los Angeles started to meet with members of the Hilo Church of Christ. Just after Kip preached to the church, a majority of the church left and formed their own congregation.

Despite the small amount of members, the church grew. Kyle led the way in studying the Bible with people. The church started baptizing people and spreading the word like never before.

This past summer, our church participated in the King of Kings Portland Jubilee. Most of our congregation travelled to Portland for this event. Kyle had the awesome opportunity of preaching one of the lessons, the one on being a full-time minister.

Kyle and Joan are on their way to some spiritual training, mainland style. (photo by Chris Directo)

Over the past few months, Kyle and Joan have been considering getting additional training in the ministry outside of the Big Island. They have been receiving help from Portland and the McKean’s in Los Angeles, but they wanted more in-depth help, so they took the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and work directly with Kip and Elena McKean.

The plan is for them to lead a campus ministry in Los Angeles for period of time, then return to Hawai’i.

The most poignant moment from the farewell party last night was when Evan and Kelly Bartholomew took their turn to share about Kyle and Joan. Evan, Kyle’s brother, and Kelly will be taking over the reigns of the church.

Evan and Kelly will volunteer to lead the church with the help of the rest of the leadership, including Kyle’s other brother, Levi. Levi also had heartfelt sharing for Kyle and Joan.

Kyle and Joan will be leaving for Los Angeles, California, this Friday.

While Kyle and Joan Bartholomew will be missed dearly, the church looks forward to a new era of the Bartholomew brand of spreading the gospel, as Evan and Kelly Bartholomew will take on the work of God.