Kauai is being represented at events marking the bicentennial of the pioneer Protestant mission sent from Boston to Hawaii in October 1819. The Hawaiian Mission Houses in Honolulu organized the service with Park Street Church in Boston.
Leaders and members of Kauai churches attended a special Hawaii Mission service at the Park Street Church in Boston on Oct. 20. The group included Pastor Matt Higa from New Hope Kauai and his wife Alison, Pastor Lon Malapit and his wife Lianne from Calvary Chapel Kauai, Linda Warriner, Debbee Grady, Keikialoha Kaohelauli‘i-Kahokuloa, Leonard and Ceceilia Mahoe and Chris Cook.
At Park Street Cook joined a panel following the morning service that included kahu Ken Makuakane from Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu. The panel fielded questions about the missionaries to Hawaii from the congregation in the sanctuary at Park Street Church.
Cook is the author of “The Providential Life & Heritage of Henry Obookiah,” a biography of the first Native Hawaiian to become a Christian. Obookiah died at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut, in 1818. The publication of the “Memoirs of Obookiah” resulted in the sending of the pioneer American mission to Hawaii, departing from Boston on Oct. 23, 1819, and the creation of mission station at Waimea in 1820.
Kaohelauli‘i-Kahokuloa, a young musical prodigy with Ni‘ihau roots, provided piano accompaniment at Park Street Church.
The week of October 20-26 the Higas, the Malapits and Kaohelauli‘i-Kahokuloa toured historic sites with Hawaii mission ties in Massachusetts and Connecticut on the Hana Hou New England tour. Cook served as the interpretive guide for the 36-person tour made up mostly of people from Hawaii. He is the Honolulu-based Hawaiian Mission Houses’ Kauai trustee.
Lon Malapit told of the Kauai group’s New England visit in a sermon he delivered on Sunday, Oct. 27, at Calvary Chapel Kauai.
“We got to see the places and the documents, and hear of the stories from Chris and others in New England, that led to the inspiration, sending and arrival of missionaries to Hawaii. The evidence is overwhelming, and it builds our faith and trust in God,” Malapit said.
“Traveling with other Hawaiian leaders, kahus, and descendants of missionaries, we got to learn and experience the true aloha that God gave through His people in the U.S., New England and Hawaii. So much aloha, that we learned, laughed and cried much throughout our entire stay.” he said.
Pastor Matt Higa, who is a descendant of Kamhameha’s kahuna nui Hewahewa, added, ”This was truly a life-changing experience. What an honor. I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be there. To pray at the exact spot where Henry Opukahaia cried out to the Lord on behalf of the people of Hawaii was one of the most impacting spiritual experiences I have ever encountered,” said Higa.
The bicentennial of the arrival in Hawaii of the Sandwich Islands Mission is being commemorated in Hawaii in spring 2020. A month of events culminates on Kauai on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3 (see the related story).
Information: missionhouses.org/bicentennial, obookiah.com, hanahou.info
Chris Cook is author of several books, former editor of The Garden Island, and a Kekaha resident.