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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Downtown Honolulu

Wednesday I walked around downtown Honolulu. My first stop was the Mission Houses. The Hawaiian Islands have an amazing Christian Missions history.

It began when Henry Opukahaia, a Hawaiian, went to the mainland and converted to Christianity. He had a desire to take his new faith back to his homeland but unfortunately died in Connetticutt, having never returned to Hawaii. He made friends before his death, and they took up his desire to reach the Hawaiian Islands with the Christian faith. Hiram and Sarah Bingham were among the first missionaries or Mikanele in Hawaii. In addition to Christian faith, they gave the Hawaiian people a written language, which consisted of a 12 letter alphabet, the Bible in their own language and a dictionary. They build schools and taught the native Hawaiians to read and write. Their mission was so successful in the literacy aspect that by the 1830's Hawaii's literacy level was the higher than that of the United States. 70% of the Hawaiian people could read and write in their own language.

The printing press at the Mission house.

A notable member of the Hawaiian royalty converted to Christianity.

She was Queen Kaahumanu.

There is a plaque that adorns the entrance wall of the Hawaiian church built by the missionaries, it reads:
" In Memory of Elisabeth Kaahumanu, daughter of Keeaumoku and Namahana, whe was born about 1773 at the foot of the hill Kauiki on East Maui: became a wife of Kamehameha I at 13, and was his favorite until his death in 1819. After the death of Kamehameha II in 1823 she wisely ruled the Hawaiian people as Queen Regent until her death in 1832. Although naturally proud and haughty she eagerly in her regency humbly accepted Jesus as her saviour, was baptised at Kawaihao in June 1825, and labored earnestly to lead her people to Christ. She was spoken of by the American mission as "Distinguished reformer of her nation, a kind friend and benefactress of the missionaries, and a faithful comforter of the infant churches in these isles." As whe was falling asleep in Jesus, at the age of about 59, in the beautiful valley of Manoa, just before dawn of June 5, 1832, fully trusting her saviour she repeated the following lines of a valued hawaiian Hymn. " (text of Hymn unreadable.)

They still conduct services in this church in Hawaiian.

In her role as regent she was a major influence in law reformation in the Hawaiian Islands. Which leads me to my next stop downtown, the Supreme Court building.

A well known landmark due to the statue of King Kamehameha I in front. It is also the fictional headquarters of the new Hawaii Five-O television series.

The building is open to the public so I went in. Inside is a exhibit explaining the law reforms in the early 19th century, and included a 1813 reproduction of a courtroom.

Here are some pictures of the interior of Supreme Court building. (The US Supreme Court is the appellate court in the US. )

The 1813 courtroom

The Interior was beautiful.

From the courthouse I walked around a bit more before heading back to where I was staying. A blister was developing on the bottom of my foot and was very painful.

In the evening I went to a wonderful Easter production put on my a local church. It was truly amazing and powerful. One of the most realistic crucifixion scenes I've ever seen on stage.

Aloha until next post.

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