FAQS ABOUT HAWAII & MISSIONS
As residents of Texas, far removed from the aina, the land, that all Hawaiians call home, this corner of the internet allows us to communicate our passion for our culture. As members of an indigenous people group, we are equally passionate about missions. Here we share a few frequently asked questions about both.
WHO ARE THE HAWAIIANS?
The native Hawaiians are a people group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. Their original descendants, the Polynesians, settled in Hawaii around the third century.
Today, native Hawaiians make up less than 10 percent of Hawaii's population. There are roughly only 8,000 pure blood Hawaiians remaining in the world.
HOW DID HAWAII BECOME A STATE?
The path to statehood was paved with greed and control beginning with the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, by American officials and businessmen, and ending with illegal annexation as a U.S. Territory in 1898. These actions were formally recognized in 1993 when President Bill Clinton signed an official apology to the native Hawaiian people on behalf of the United States of America. Public Law 103-150 recognizes the "suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the native Hawaiian people."
WHY DOES SOVEREIGNTY MATTER?
Most visitors to the islands arrive with preconceived ideas about Hawaii: hula skirts, palm trees and mai tais. Sadly, many return home having their expectations fulfilled by the glitz and glam of the tourism industry.
The truth is that about one-third of Hawaii's homeless population is native Hawaiian. There are huge issues and big problems to navigate for a people who have remained largely underserved. Gaining recognition as a sovereign nation would provide access to much needed resources for the native Hawaiian people.
At minimum, sovereignty would empower the native Hawaiian people with a voice. And that matters a great deal.
DO YOU SPEAK HAWAIIAN?
This is by far the most popular question. I don't speak Hawaiian because my dad couldn't. My heart language is English, but my cousins have encouraged me to learn basic vocabulary in order to infuse our daily life with Hawaiian words and sayings.
HOW DOES OUR FAMILY PRACTICE HAWAIIAN CULTURE?
As a hapa Hawaiian raised in the mainland, I experienced my culture through my father's stories, and an occasional trip to the islands. Today, I'm learning to engage my culture for myself. I'm beginning as a storyteller; sharing my dad's stories online for his mo'opuna, his grandchildren, to read someday.
WHAT ARE MISSIONS?
Among Christians, the word "missions" carries many meanings. Some people think of short-term missions trips. Other think of long-term missionaries who live among foreign people in lands far, far away. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
There's a healthy amount of argument as to what missions should be. In my experience, missions can help or hurt in whatever form it takes. Missions leaders and organizations shoulder a serious responsibility to get it right.
Missions should be about sharing the Good News with words and deeds that bring glory to God. At least that is our hope.
WHO ARE MISSIONS FOR?
All people and people groups have the right to meet Jesus and experience the full measure of His love. Missions are for the nations. The Bible described the nations, not as geopolitical units, but as the ethnos, or people groups. Families. Each of these people groups are defined by a unique set of characteristics, culture and language.
WHY DOES MISSIONS EXIST?
For as complicated as it is to discuss what missions are, why they exist is eloquently communicated by John Piper: "Missions exists because worship doesn't."
HOW DO WE ENGAGE MISSIONS?
Our family engages missions in three forms:
Short-term Missions Trips
We engage in short-term missions trips in order to serve and share in fellowship. Fellowship sounds old fashioned, especially now that we have Facebook Live and Twitter parties. But humans crave quality time spent in good company. For our family, this is the blessing of short-term missions trips. It's not that we can change the world or save a soul. Our goals is to simply encourage the Body of Christ.
Local Leaders & Local Communities
By far, the best way to evangelize, plant churches, disciple and pretty much accomplish any good work is to invest in empowering local leaders in local communities. Local leaders are people who live among their own people, speak the native language and understand their culture far better than outsiders ever could.