M: 2/23/20: GKH1: “Henry’s Heart”

Let’s read this together…

“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in HAWAII as in Heaven”

Cf. Matthew 6:10

On April 4, 2020, Hawaii celebrates the 200th Anniversary of Jesus coming to Hawaii!

This is especially significant to New Hope Central Oahu because by God’s orchestration, our church birthday is April 4, 1999! (Incidentally I also became student council president on April 4, 1975, so this date is just so highlighted to me!)

So we will take the next few weeks to REMEMBER one of the greatest revivals in the history of the Church, begun by a courageous band of missionaries who introduced the Kingdom of Hawaii to the Kingdom of God, and these early saints in Hawaii became some of the most amazing and effective believers in the history of the Church!

In this series we will glimpse how the Kingdom of God could come AGAIN to our islands!

We have REVIVAL in the DNA of our islands.

The SEEDS of revival still lie scattered all over these beautiful islands.

In this series we will see how the Kingdom Nation of Hawaii was transformed by the KING of kings! The MONARCHY of the Hawaiian Kingdom came to Jesus! The QUEENS were especially ON FIRE for Jesus and led the people in powerful, transformative ways–from Kaahumanu to Kapiolani to Emma to Liliuokalani.

In this series we will tell you the story of a man and his printing press who printed the first books west of St. Louis, Missouri! Which touched off a miracle of education and literacy in these islands. You will hear how the Kingdom of Hawaii had a literacy rate that was OFF THE CHARTS for that time period, greater than the mainland! Second highest in the whole world!

Next week you will learn of the fearless, young LEADER of the FIRST MISSIONARY TEAM to land on these islands on April 4, 1820, and the phenomenal COMMITMENT and SACRIFICE they made for Jesus in coming here! It’s almost like dropping you off on the MOON and saying, “We’ll be back for you in a few decades. Good luck!” But they did it GLADLY for Jesus.

But TODAY, I’m going to tell you about the amazing young man who started it all. Who’s idea was it to come to send missionaries to this far-away place called the “Sandwich Isles?” Who did God use to spark one of the greatest revivals in the history of the Church? From whose HEART was the transformation of Hawaii birthed?

Well, his name was Henry. Henry Opukaha’ia or “Henry O” for short (not “Oh Henry!”)–Hawaii’s first Christian!☺

I hope you will tell these stories to your children, to each other. To REMIND us of the POWERFUL HERITAGE of the KINGDOM OF GOD we have in our island home.

And at the end of today, how the REVIVAL can CONTINUE through us until Jesus returns! This is our home! This is where we live and love and raise our Ohana.

This is God’s Kingdom of Hawaii…even today.

But before I tell you about Henry, let me summarize for you what was BIRTHED from his heart. What was the RESULT, the OUTCOME of Hawaii’s Great Awakening? After 50 years (from 1820-1870), 3,000 of God’s people packed themselves in at Kawaiaha’o Church for a JUBILEE Celebration–50 years of REVIVAL. The Hawaii mission was so successful the ABCFM declared the mission closed. The Kingdom of Hawaii had become the Kingdom of God on earth.

What was the result? What did the Kingdom of God look like?

Here is what they celebrated. It’s a SNAPSHOT of what Jesus had done.

Write in your notes, it’s…


  • 83% OF HAWAII CHRISTIAN! Estimated that 100,000 of a total population of 120,000 people in Hawaii had come to Christ.
  • 75% LITERACY RATE (higher than the mainland’s 40%, second highest in the world next to Scotland)
  • A WRITTEN HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE (they had an oral tradition)
  • A complete HAWAIIAN TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE(from Greek and Hebrew to Hawaiian!)
  • CHRISTIAN SONG ADDED TO HAWAIIAN CULTURE (Hawaiians would “chant” but did not “sing” melodies.)

The missionaries accomplished this in 50 years!

This was Henry Opukaha’ia’s legacy.

It was all birthed from HENRY’S HEART.

So WHO was Henry Opukaha’ia?

Write in your notes…


  • Henry was born in 1792 in Ka’u, Big Island in a war-torn Hawaii.
  • Rival Hawaiian chiefs fought over the islands.
  • While trying to escape an attack he carried his brother on his back and his brother was speared in the back, but Henry lived.
  • His whole family was killed by warriors.
  • Henry was an orphan.
  • He and his friends, William Kanui, John Honoli’i, George Kaumuali’i, and Thomas Hopu, decided to escape the wars and violence and stowed away on a ship called the Triumph to America.
  • They became cabin boys for Captain Caleb Britnall of the Triumph.
  • Henry ended up in NEW HAVEN, CT!
  • He was weeping one day on the steps Yale College.
  • A senior at Yale College named Edwin Dwight found him and asked him, “Why are you crying.”
  • “No one give me learning,” Henry answered.
  • Edwin agreed to help him and took him to his Uncle Timothy Dwight–who happened to be the President of Yale College.
  • President Timothy Dwight mentored Henry, let him stay at his home.
  • Incidentally, Timothy Dwight was one of the founders of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).
  • This is the missions organization that sent out the first missionaries to Hawaii.
  • In 1815 Henry comes to Christ! (Age 23)
  • Desperately wants to be a missionary to Hawaii.
  • Joins Foreign Mission School to prepare.
  • Starts creating a Hawaiian grammar, spelling book, and dictionary
  • Shares these with Samuel Ruggles (1st Missionary Team to Hawaii)
  • Feb. 19, 1818, dies of Typhus Fever in Connecticut. (Age 26)–LAST Wednesday!!! DIVINE TIMING!
  • Before dying writes “Memoirs of Henry Opukaha’ia” inspiring missionaries to Hawaii, including Elisha Loomis
  • In 1993 his body was returned from Connecticut to the Big Island

We did not plan this or know this, but the anniversary of Henry’s death was THIS PAST WEDNESDAY!!!


Today we…


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

Henry’s life and testimony INSPIRED what you’re going to hear next week–the first team of Christian missionaries to Hawaii, HIRAM’S CREW.

They established preaching stations which became churches and towns all over the islands.

  • A teenage girl named Amanda from Mountainview, Big Island, had come to Christ.
  • She led a 17-year-old kid to Christ on Oahu in 1975.
  • His name is Mike Palompo
  • Since then Mike led his whole family to Jesus
  • Hundreds of youth to Jesus
  • On April 4, 199, a church named New Hope Central Oahu was born
  • Together, we’ve led hundreds more to Christ

How do we honor Hawaii’s first Christian?



I hope you will tell the story of “Henry’s Heart” to your children, to each other. To REMIND us of how God can use ONE PERSON, totally devoted to HIM.

Let the REVIVAL CONTINUE through us until Jesus returns!

This is our home!

This is where we live and love and raise our Ohana.

This is God’s Kingdom of Hawaii…even today.

I’d like to invite my lovely wife, Mona, to the stage to demonstrate something for you.


Have Mona come up to string a lei.

“Through each Christian of Hawaii there is a thread that runs through you and extends back to the Hawaii Christian who led you to Jesus, and through them to the one before, and the one before…it continues all the way back to Hawaii’s first Christian, Henry Opukaha’ia. Today, YOU are the NEEDLE  who continues this great LEGACY!” And you hold up the lei she was making.

Questions for Meditation & Discussion

1. What did the Spirit highlight to you from the life of Henry Opukahaia?

2. What did God show you from the “portrait” of the Kingdom from Hawaii’s Jubilee Celebration?

3. What did God reveal to you from the life of Henry O?

4. How will you honor the legacy of Henry O in our Hawaii nei?

5. What did the Father show you about Hawaii’s Kingdom legacy?

6. By faith what did God say to you today?

7. How will you respond in obedience to what the Father is saying to you?

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