Tag Archives: Polynesians

THE SPIRITUAL VISITATION THAT BROUGHT THE REMAINS OF HAWAI‘I’S FIRST CHRISTIAN CONVERT BACK HOME

14 Mar

Portrait of Henry “Obookiah,” undated frontispiece in Memoirs of Henry Obookiah. Courtesy of Eleanor C. Nordyke/Wikimedia Commons.

Deborah Li‘ikapeka Lee, a young Native Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) woman, woke in the wee hours of an October night in 1992 to an inner sensation, impossible to define and equally impossible to ignore.

Alone and unsure of what was happening to her, she feared illness and anxiously rose from her bed, searching for the comfort of her Bible. The sensation continued to well up inside her, forcing its way out, yielding a voice that spoke as clearly as if its source was standing in front of her. She heard five words: “He wants to come home.”

The “he” in Debbie’s spiritual visitation was her seventh-generation cousin, Henry ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia, who was the first Native Hawaiian to become Christianized. Born in 1792, his parents were brutally slain before his childhood eyes by Kamehameha I’s warriors, and he contemplated leaving the Big Island in the first decade of the 19th century rather than remaining there as an orphan. While training to become a kahuna, a Hawaiian spiritual leader, at the Hikiau Heiau, a traditional place of worship in Nāpo‘opo‘o at Kealakekua Bay, ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia secured passage onboard an American merchant ship, sailing halfway around the world hoping to replace pain and memory, attempting to outrun his survivor’s guilt, and seeking peace from the violence he experienced in his youth.

So begins Nicholas F.  Bellantoni’s brief account of his involvement in bringing Henry Opukaha’ia/Obookiah’s remains home to Hawai’i. You may read the entire piece here.

Advertisements
Exploring the Past

Reading, Thinking, and Blogging about History

Enough Light

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." - Blaise Pascal

Lenten Lamentations

Preparing to Participate in God's Mosaic Kingdom

The Text Message

Discoveries from processing and reference archivists on the job

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Wirelesshogan: Reflections from the Hogan

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

The Way of Improvement Leads Home

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

The Pietist Schoolman

The website and blog of historian Chris Gehrz

Native News Online

American Indian News

Reformed Journal: The Twelve

Reformed. Done Daily.

i-history

by Alex Scarfe

blogwestdotorg.wordpress.com/

Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

Northwest History

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

%d bloggers like this: