Audio: Ten Little Known Facts from the Christian History of Hawai‘i

Ten Little Known Facts from the Christian History of Hawai‘i is a podcast I created for Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua, Kona. Mokuaikaua invited me to speak on March 31 and April 2, 2020 as part of their extensive Hawai‘i Mission Bicentennial celebration. The celebration is to be rescheduled hopefully for later this summer. For now I hope you enjoy hearing ten ancedotes from Christian History of Hawai‘i material I discovered over the years.

INTRODUCTION (Sound files appear below images)

Blog background

The mission to Hawai‘i was inspired and requested by a Native Hawaiian

01 Opukahaia

Portrait of ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia from Memoirs of Henry Obookiah

Kealakekua Bay: ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia and Captain Cook at Helehelekalani Heiau

02 Cook at Helehelekalani

Captain Cook is the center of attention at a ceremony honoring the Hawaiian god Lono at Helehelekalani Heiau along shore of Kealakekua Bay.

A typhoid epidemic in New England led pioneer Mokuaikaua missionary Asa Thurston to dedicating his life to Christ, studying for the ministry at Yale, resulting in him becoming a missionary to Hawai‘i

03 Yale Thurston

Connecticut Hall at Yale

The American foreign missions movement was influenced by Bible prophecy

04 Jonathan Edwards

The Rev. Jonathan Edwards promoted the Concert of Prayer in New England and foresaw the coming of a millennium of peace and prosperity when Christianity would encompass the world.

The pioneer mission to Hawai‘i and the first mission to Jerusalem aimed at creating a permanent Protestant base in the Holy Land were planned together and sent just a week apart from Boston

05 Palestine

The sermons delivered in Boston in October 1819 by Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons, pioneer American Board missionaries to Palestine, listed Hawai‘i mission publications on its back cover.

’Ōpūkaha‘ia – Henry Obookiah died during a typhus fever epidemic likely caused by a volcano erupting in Indonesia

06 Volcano

A nineteenth-century engraving of a volcanic eruption.


Upon arrival in Hawai‘i the missionaries and their wives conversed in the Hawaiian language with ali‘i nui 

07 Kalanimoku 2

The brig Thaddeus (left) as envisioned in a drawing made for the Year of the Bible back in 1984. Kalanimoku (right) greeted the pioneer mission company at Kawaihae where he lived on an ahpua‘a given him by Kamehameha.

At their first meeting on Kaua‘i, the missionaries and their wives rubbed noses (honi) with King Kaumuali‘i

Mercy Whitney

Mercy Partridge Whitney of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the wife of Waimea, Kaua‘i missionary Samuel Whitney, and  King Kaumuali‘i of Kaua‘i exchanged a honi (ceremonial rubbing of noses) upon her landing at Waimea, Kaua‘i in July 1820.

Deaf education pioneer Thomas Gallaudet used Hawaiian sign language in creating the American sign language

09 Gallaudet and Hopu

Prior to sailng to Hawai‘i aboard the brig Thaddeus, Foreign Mission School student Hopu (Thomas Hopoo) used Native Hawaiian sign language in communicating with deaf students at the pioneer deaf education school run by Thomas Gallaudet in Hartford, Connecticut.

Some Baibala (Hawaiian language Bible) scriptures use words like mana from the Hawaiian language instead of new words created from English or biblical language words10 Baibala PIDThe Partners in Development Foundation in cooperation with Mutual Publishing is publishing modern versions of the Baibala, the Bible in the Hawaiian language. Go to for more information.