Welcome to a very special edition of Parables from the Pit as the amazing story of Kahea and his boys is shared with Coach Sam Falsafi. It’s a story of courage, darkness, heartbreak, and turning points, where Kahea and his sons, seemingly against all odds, come out victorious. Kahea also shares his involvement with Operation Underground Railroad as a special operative traveling throughout the world rescuing children and taking out traffickers.
Parable #1: I Wanted to Be Happy
- Kahea: I married young and was excited to have a family. After the first year, we realized we weren’t even great friends, we were more like roommates. We were different in the way we viewed the world and we just wanted different things. A month after the birth of our youngest son, we ended up having a conversation where we decided to get divorced. She moved out shortly thereafter, leaving me with our baby and our almost three-year-old to raise.
- In my culture and religion, marriage is something you’re supposed to stay in, no matter what. I wanted to be happy, yet this didn’t feel like a life I could continue with. It wasn’t everything that I had thought it would be. We were living in this close-knit village community in Hawaii where I felt like everyone had ended up turning their backs on me, even the people I knew well and had helped out, because we had chosen a different path.
What are your beliefs about “sticking it out” in marriage? When do you know it’s time to part ways?
Parable #2: From Millions to Welfare
- Kahea: A year prior to this when I was 26, I had a 12 million dollar real estate investment going through. By the time I was 27, I had bought my first office building in Honolulu and had $18M of assets. It was 2008, the year the market crashed. Everything in my life and all across America started going downhill and within eight months, I had lost everything and found myself standing in a welfare line just so I could feed my kids.
- Prior to finding myself standing in the welfare line, I had won a business award from one of the biggest banks in Hawaii. They shot a commercial highlighting my success and for some reason, the airing of it had been delayed for eight months. So here I am standing in the welfare line with my baby in my arms, trying to get assistance so I could feed him when out of the corner of my eye, I see this commercial with me talking about big business and success. I tried to hide my face, hoping no one would see me and make the connection with the commercial playing in the corner of the room.
- How does your life resonate with Kahea’s experiences?
Parable #3: Dad, Come Back to the Campout
- Kahea: Financially, we’re crashing. The divorce is going through, my wife has moved out leaving me with a brand new baby and my 2 1/2-year-old who has just been diagnosed with spastic pysista cerebral palsy. I’ve given my wife the last $5K I had in the bank, the house is in foreclosure, 0ne of our dogs has been shot by the neighbor, the other one has been stolen, and I keep dodging the guy trying to repossess the car that I need to take my son to the hospital, which is an hour away, for treatments, surgery, and therapy.
- One particular evening proved to be a turning point for Kahea when they came home from the hospital to find the electricity had been disconnected. It was during their third night of camping in his bedroom, unable to console his crying baby with cold milk, that he found himself crumpled and broken in a corner of their home. “My three year old comes over to me and asks, Dad, are we still doing our campout? Dad, come back to the campout! That moment was my ‘I need to be a fucking diamond’ moment.”
What were the conditions that led up to your ‘I need to be a fucking diamond’ moment? How has your life changed because of it?
Parable #4: We Just Don’t Quit
- One of Kahea’s legs was shorter than the other which caused him a lot of pain through the years. He was prone to injury and found it very difficult to stand up any longer than five or ten minutes at a time. Surgery was suggested and as he researched the different possibilities, he found one that was experimental and was only the fourth person in the U.S. to have it performed.
- Determined not to be wheelchair bound for months or even years, after surgery he began a rigorous five hour per day physical therapy regime which enabled him to eventually train for and enter the Hawaiian Ironman. During his recovery as he crawled up the stairs to his second-floor bedroom, he would say to his boys, “What do you do when you fall and break both your legs?” They would answer back, “You get back up with your arms!” “They’ve learned and witnessed directly from me that no matter what happens, we just don’t quit.”
What have you accomplished that seemed out of reach at one point in time?
Parable #5: Divine Mission
- Kahea has built a $75M empire since the days of standing in the welfare line and has continued to find purpose not only in his children who are everything to him but also inside of an organization that is very near and dear to his heart. While listening to Elizabeth Smart share her story of being kidnapped from her home at the young age of 13 and becoming a sex slave for the next eight months before her miraculous rescue, something stirred inside Kahea’s soul and spoke to him.
- Kahea: A couple of years later, all the pieces came together and fell in my lap that enabled me to become a special operative for Operation Underground Railroad where we rescue kids from sex slavery and child trafficking. There are only ten of us who do these ops all over the world. Our main objective? Rescue the kids and take out the traffickers.
For more information about Operation Underground Railroad, go to ourrescue.org
Parables from the Pit:
“I feel that why you are here, and what you are doing, is a reflection of the man you have built for the past decade. You’re on a mission, a Divine mission. ‘Come back to the campout’ was the light that came to you through your son, and now you’re bringing that light to the children.”
— Coach Sam Falsafi
“This has taught me so many lessons over the years, even now. It’s taught me how two individuals could be in the same location and under the same conditions, physically, and yet be emotionally different only because one chose to see things differently than the other.”