Vie de Mills Missionnaire Américain is a booklet published in 1834 out of Switzerland. The life of Samuel Mills Jr., the leader of the famed Haystack Meeting that launched American foreign missions, is told in the booklet. A brief life of Opukaha‘ia is appended to Mills’s life. There is an online version of Vie de Mills Missionnaire American. I was able to locate a copy of this rare and obscure publication out of the home of John Calvin in a book store located in Barcelona, Spain. The wonder of the World Wide Web! No new information is included in Vie de Mills Missionnaire American, but discovering the story of Obookiah in French shows additional evidence of how widespread the fame of Obookiah’s story was in the 19th century.
I am joining Dave Buehring’s Hana Hou Christian Heritage Tour on the Big Island from Saturday, February 13-16, 2016. I will be an interpretive guide for the visitors from the Mainland coming to Hawai‘i to visit key sites in the life of Opukaha‘ia. Opukaha‘ia’s descendant Deborah Lee, who led in the return of Henry’s remains in 1993, will also being serving as interpretive guide on the tour.
Local residents are invited to join the tour. Go to www.hanahou.info for more information. Those accompanying the tour are asked to share in covering the costs for the joint meals being provided.
The tour schedule includes a visit to Hikiau Heiau on the shore of Kealakekua Bay and Henry’s grave site at the Kahikolu (Trinity) Church on Saturday, February 13.
On Sunday, February 14 the tour moves to the Mokuaikaua Church, home of Hawai‘i’s oldest existing Protestant church, and a look at the Plymouth Rock of Hawai‘i sign at the Kona Pier. I helped write the text of the new sign, posted to mark the 195th anniversary of the Mokuaikaua Church. Will be interesting to see the historic signage in person.
On Monday, February 15 we head to Punalu‘u Beach in Ka‘u to visit the chapel dedicated to Henry. His birthplace and childhood home were at Ninole, the land section on the south end of Punalu‘u Beach. Then the tour bus will travel north to Volcano National Park to revisit the site of early Native Hawaiian Christian and alibi Kapiolani’s defiance of the goddess Pele in the 1820s.
Tuesday, February 16 the tour ends at Haili Church in downtown Hilo. Here I will join Deborah Lee at her family’s home church when we join a panel discussion on the impact of the American Protestant Mission in Hawai‘i. The roots of the Haili Church go back to Hawai‘i’s Great Awakening in the late 1830s. The Rev. Titus Coan from Connecticut led the Sandwich Islands Mission station in those days. Native Hawaiian became Christians by the hundreds and thousands in the late 1830s, and the Hilo congregation grew to about 12,000; the church was declared to have the largest congregation in the entire Protestant world.