Many have been enchanted by the onstage antics of KS Maui Cultural Protocol Facilitator ‘Ekela Kanī'aupi‘o Crozier and Cultural Specialist Hau‘oli Akaka. In this Christmas Eve Advent devotional, they share how their ʻoliʻoli (delight) has a common foundation - dedicating their lives to serving Ke Akua through sharing Christian and Hawaiian values.
KS envisions its learners to be grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values. To celebrate the coming of Christmas, nā kahu o Kamehameha have created weekly Hawaiian-focused Advent devotionals for haumāna and others to follow and share.
Manaʻo Haipule / Scriptural Insight
You may have heard that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Itʻs beyond being hauʻoli but being ʻoliʻoli. When Ke Akua delivers us out of our pōpilikia (hardships), we are so full of ʻoliʻoli that we yearn to share it in testimony with others. We are filled with an overwhelming desire to let others know of how His light overcame our darkest moments and how His mana reigned victorious over our life’s circumstances. As we witness His power in our lives and testify of His grace and mercy to others, not only is our faith and hope strengthened, but the faith and hope of everyone who has the opportunity to hear such an awesome testimony.
Habakkuk was a prophet who was troubled upon seeing what seemed to be the wicked nations winning and succeeding. He went as far as to ask Ke Akua, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” Habakkuk was in a very dark place, he was probably afraid, felt hopeless and ready to give up. But then Ke Akua responds, “Look at the nations and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told… Although the situation didnʻt change right away, Habakkuk rejoices in knowing that Ke Akua is in control of the situation and finds confidence in who Ke Akua is and what He can do. And He can and will do the same for each and every one of us!
This ʻoliʻoli is something that we (Hauʻoli and ‘Ekela) share and is perhaps recognizable to many who have witnessed our onstage antics! What you may not know is that our ʻoliʻoli has a common foundation. Weʻve both dedicated our lives to faithfully worship and serve Ke Akua in our respective churches. In our personal lives, we strive to support and nurture our ʻohana and community through sharing Christian and Hawaiian cultural values and preserving ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi through our keiki and moʻopuna. Weʻve also chosen careers in education to raise the status of our lāhui in our kulāiwi. We share in each otherʻs joys, sorrows, pains and deliverance. When one is down, the other is quick with a reminder that Ke Akua is always working out a good “haʻina” for our mele!
Manaʻo Kuanaʻike / Cultural Insight
The nineteenth century Hawaiian patriot, Timoteo Haʻalilio (1808–1844) comes to mind as we ponder on a kanaka ʻōiwi Hawaiʻi who, like Habbakuk, experienced adversity in his life and faith journey, yet remained ever loyal to Ke Akua and to his aliʻi. Haʻalilio was one of the most intimate companions and associates of King Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli from their childhood. Haʻalilio served as the royal secretary during the king’s reign. He was commissioned by Kamehameha III in 1842 as the first diplomat of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. He is best known for helping our Hawaiian Kingdom in gaining recognition from Britain, France, and the United States as an independent sovereign nation. This effort took almost two and a half years to accomplish on the historical date, November 28, 1844, the day we recognize as Lā Kūʻōkoʻa, or Hawaiian Independence Day.
Along that fateful journey, Timoteo Haʻalilo was accompanied by an American Missionary named William Richards, who served as the official government translator to King Kamehameha III. Reverend Richards was one of the co-founding missionaries of Lahainaluna School and a principal interpreter of the Hawaiian Bible. Theirs was an amiable relationship.
The adversities that Timoteo Haʻalilio encountered on this long, diplomatic mission so far away from his kulāiwi and lāhui, were politically, socially, emotionally and physically grueling, as we might imagine. Although they accomplished this mission on behalf of our king and our kingdom, Haʻalilio became very ill along the trip and would never return to Hawaiʻi, his beloved homeland and ʻohana. He died of tuberculosis while at sea in December 1844.
After Haʻalilio’s passing, Richards wrote about his patriotic courage, his loyalty to his country, his king and his ʻohana, and his faithfulness to Ke Akua. He describes Haʻalilio as praying fervently every day and night, along this mission.
“Pleading for relief from suffering, imploring blessings on his mother, on the King and on his countrymen. He prayed also that he might live to reach the Islands; but this prayer was usually conditional, and ended with “Aia nō iā ʻoe”–“It is with Thee,” or, “Thy will be done.”
What an exemplary meʻe (hero) we have in Timoteo Haʻalilio, as in Princess Bernice Pauahi and all of our aliʻi who served our lāhui well by modeling great courage, resilience and aloha for Ke Akua and mankind throughout their lives’ hardship.
Our kūpuna then and we today should see value and beauty even in the nāhelehele (the weeds and junk stuff) that can still be used as lāʻau lapaʻau with good, healing properties and qualities. We are blessed to live in a beautiful place and stand on the shoulders of our kūpuna. We can draw from ka waihona ʻoliʻoli (reservoir of joy) and ka waihona ʻike (reservoir of knowledge and understanding) as did our kūpuna, who have modeled for us resilience, loyalty and faithfulness.