Last Sunday morning YWAM Ships Kona has reported that their vessel, the Hawaii Aloha was badly damaged in a storm in the Hawaiian Islands, resulting in the loss of crewman Aaron Bremner.
Aaron was an alumni of YWAM Townsville’s 2012 October Discipleship Training School, and went on to live his passion serving the people of Micronesia with medical and training services onboard the Hawaii Aloha. He was set to go on his second deployment for the Christmas Islands this week. Two days before his scheduled voyage a severe storm grounded the Hawaii Aloha, along with several other boats in the area. The boat’s captain and three of the crew escaped with treatable injuries; Aaron was lost at sea.
Although YWAM Ships Kona is a totally separate entity to YWAM Ships Australia, our shared vision to reach isolated island communities has created strong relational ties and this incident brings tremendous sadness for all of our staff.
Ken Mulligan, Managing Director for YWAM Ships Australia extended his condolences, “This is a very sad and tragic situation. Our hearts go out to Aaron’s family, our friends serving with YWAM Ships Kona, and our many staff and alumni who knew and loved Aaron deeply.”
“We were privileged to be a part of Aaron’s life and early training in YWAM,” said Mr Mulligan. “He is an inspirational young man and he gave his life serving others. Even as we mourn, we honour and celebrate his incredible dedication to the people of Micronesia and beyond.”
President of the Republic of Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, where the Ship was soon scheduled to visit, expressed his great sorrow regarding the accident and said, “May the Lord give strength and comfort to the families and friends of Aaron and the YWAM Community.”
President Loeak also acknowledged YWAM for their ongoing work in the Islands which brought more than 3,500 health and training outcomes to Micronesia during 2014. “I would like to thank and commend YWAM for its tireless efforts in bringing much needed assistance to our islands and other parts of the world,” he said.
In the wake of tragedy, Aaron’s mother Charlene Calish shares on behalf of her son. “YWAM Ships Kona was the way Aaron chose to live out his passion and life’s mission of loving God’s people all around the world,” she said in a letter to the organization today.
Today, Hawaii Aloha should’ve been on its way to Micronesia with Aaron onboard; in the midst of loss, his family is hoping to ensure that help gets to the people Aaron cared so much about.
“We would be honored to see [Aaron’s] passion continue through the program he believed in by requesting an Aaron Bremner Memorial Fund be set up for the purpose of replacing the Hawaii Aloha ship,” Ms Calish said. “This would help bring healing to the family and cause our hearts to humbly soar.”
Those who wish to give to the Aaron Bremner Memorial Fund can do so at www.ywamships.net.
This is the first accident of its kind for any YWAM vessel around the world. An earlier release from YWAM Ships Kona said that the recovery process has been handed over to local authorities in Hawaii.