THE HAWAIIAN QUEEN WHO DEFIED THE “GOD OF THE VOLCANO”

The following is from Friday Church News Notes, a weekly newsletter put out by Way of Life:

THE HAWAIIAN QUEEN WHO DEFIED THE “GOD OF THE VOLCANO” The following is excerpted from “Christian Missionaries in Hawaii,” Bill Federer, TheMoralLiberal.com: “Hiram Bingham and Asa Thurston were sent to Hawaii by the American Board of Missions on the ship Thaddeus, arriving at Kailua on March 31, 1820. The missionaries not only spread Christianity, but also confronted drunkenness and vice which had been introduced into the islands by sailors, whalers, and convicts from Botany Bay. The missionaries created a 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet and reduced the Hawaiian language to writing. They translated the Bible, began a newspaper, set up schools and churches, and convinced the Hawaiian women to wear dresses. Idolatry and human sacrifice had previously been ended by King Kamehameha II and his Queen mother Ka’ahumanu. Queen Ka‘ahumanu and six high chiefs requested to be baptized in 1823. She then banned prostitution and drunkenness, resulting in sailors resenting the missionaries’ influence. Queen Ka’ahumanu helped spread the Gospel in the islands, beginning a ‘Great Awakening.’ She was presented with the newly completed version of the New Testament in the Hawaiian language just prior to her death. Her last words were, ‘I am going where the mansions are ready.’ Chiefess Kapiolani, the cousin of King Kamehameha I, in 1824 defied the volcano goddess Pele by saying a Christian prayer, climbing down into the lava crater and returning unharmed, then eating the forbidden Ōhelo berries. Chiefess Kapiolani praised ‘the one true God,’ proclaiming, ‘Jehovah is my God. He kindled these fires. I fear not Pele. All the gods of Hawaii are vain.’ This courage inspired many Hawaiians to be missionaries to other islands, such as Samuel Kauwealoha, who sailed in 1853 to the Marquesas Islands.” To this report we add the following from Our Fascinating Earth by Philip and Nancy Seff: “Priests, friends, and husband all prophesied a fiery doom for Chiefess Kapiolani. … The gathering crowds gasped as she threw rocks and a slipper and emptied her washbowl into the sacred crater. … Alfred, Lord Tennyson later paid homage to the brave queen by immortalizing her in a poem ‘Kapiolani.’ He wrote, ‘Great and greater, and greatest of women, island heroine, Kapiolani, climbed the mountain, and flung the berries, and dared the Goddess, and freed the people of Hawaii!’”

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