HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Reverend Lorenza Andrade-Smith stepped off a plane in Honolulu in early February, her path quickly diverged from most who visit the island.
She didn't board a bus to Waikiki. She walked out of HNL and encountered a group of homeless people.
"Immediately I came into contact with folks who were living under the bridge. I walked from there to Sand Island, as a matter of fact" she recounts.
It may seem odd, but this has been how her life has unfolded for much of the past four years. Andrade-Smith gave up all her worldly possessions four years ago in San Antonio, and began living among the homeless, marginalized and underserved.
"I had what I had on, and I think I had a pouch with some sentimental gifts from my mother and my son. I stood in line with others to receive food, tried to enter shelters if I could, to sleep. Otherwise, I was sleeping outside" she says.
In that time, she's traveled across the country. Hawaii's homeless situation was an eye opener.
"To see the extreme poverty here was amazing, but what really struck me was to see families. I really didn't see that that often in the continental US".
Andrade says that most children in homeless families would've been taken away by Child Protective Services in her native Texas, though she doesn't necessarily agree with it.
Since November of 2014, Andrade-Smith has been on a global 'contemplative pilgrimage'. She's been to India, Australia, China, Russia, Scandinavian countries and Greenland, to name a few.
Andrade-Smith will be in Honolulu until February 23rd. She is giving four lectures this weekend at the First United Methodist Church at 1020 Beretania Street.
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Her mission is to advocate for simple living. Along the way, she spreads the word of her church, and offers of hope. However, what she has received, she says, far surpasses what she's been able to give out.
"This has been the most exhausting thing I have ever done. This has been the most transformative thing in my life".