LIHUE — Pastor Roy “Rocky” Sasaki and his wife Dely moved to Kauai 21 years ago. They’ve been praying for the island since.
And while Rocky said he’s seen growth in the Christian faith and there are several prayer events throughout the year, he believes more can happen.
“I feel that Jesus Reigns has gotten churches involved in a very exciting way in the Philippines, and this will bring people together here,” he said.
A Jesus Reigns Celebration is scheduled to begin 1 p.m. Saturday at Wilcox Elementary School. An expected crowd of a few hundred will walk to the Historic County Building, where worship, music, dancing and prayer are planned.
Organizer John Small, president of Jesus Reigns in the U.S. and a Kalaheo resident, said it is a festival “to honor Jesus of Nazareth and to proclaim that He reigns over all nations.”
It is the first Jesus Reigns Celebration in the U.S. About 20 churches are expected, as are delegations from the Philippines and Japan. All are welcome, Small said. He hopes to see diversity in culture represented.
The gathering is a chance for churches to lay down any differences and come together under Christ, he said. It has nothing to do with politics. A goal is to “promote unity in the body of Christ and see whole islands, states and nations transformed.”
He referred to it as “nameless and faceless in the sense that no church or denomination or ministry is named.”
“We’re not praying against anything. We’re just praying for God to bless our nation, bless Hawaii,” he said. “It’s very positive.”
Jesus Reigns started in the Philippines six years ago. It has grown there, with about 15,000 people coming together each year for a one-day celebration with a parade and worship.
“We have seen healing and reconciliation between denominations and churches,” said Pastor Charlie Ortal, who lives in the Philippines but previously lived in Kilauea.
Pastor Steve Rex of Calvary Chapel North Shore has done some outreach ministry to the Philippines. He said the spiritual climate there has changed.
“You just sneeze and someone gets saved,” he said.
Small said a group of about 20 people recently gathered on Kauai to pray for forgiveness and for God’s blessing in advance of Jesus Reigns.
Sasaki, who leads Kauai Island Ministries, said his “hope and prayer” is that this fuels the faith of more people to be stronger and make life-changing commitments.
Kauai has several events to unite people of faith, such as the mayor’s prayer luncheon, the Easter cross walk, the National Day of Prayer and youth rallies.
That’s all wonderful, Sasaki said, but he would love to see more and greater growth.
“I really want to see God moving in a supernatural way, to see great transformation taking place here on the island in every aspect,” he said.