Today in Boston it is the 200th anniversary of the departure of the Thaddeus, a small ship that carried 4 Hawaiians and 14 New Englanders to Hawai’i. They had no way of knowing the Hawaiian high priest and royalty had ended the old religion, believing a new way was coming. They abolished the harsh kapu law caste system that once separated men and women, royals, priests, commoners and slaves. After six months of the long voyage, the team arrived on the Kona coast, meeting the royalty and (by their permission) introduced Iesu, Jesus, to the people of Hawai’i.
The common Michener narrative that judges all missions in Hawai’i is unaware of reality. People don’t realize it was the speeches, writings, and untimely death of a young Hawaiian native, Henry Opukahaia, that inspired this team to come. Most don’t know it was the reigning Ali’i and High priest Hewahewa that commanded that this team be allowed to teach the people. Few recognize that the first generation would all pass before the unjust overthrow of the Christian kingdom of Hawai’i.
Today in the footsteps of the brave and faithful first missions team, we humbly follow—to learn, to heal and to invite the world to remember what began 200 years ago.