W: 3/8/20: GKH3: “Elisha’s Printing Press”

Welcome back to our series, God’s Kingdom in Hawaii series where we are celebrating our Hawaii Christian heritage.  As we have learned, it was 200 years ago when the tsunami of spiritual change hit our islands upon the arrival of the missionaries.  In God’s perfect timing, that first wave of missionaries, headed by, as we learned last week, Hiram Bingham, came with this charge and mission

What a Big Hairy Audacious Goal!  That’s their BHAG. 

And tonight/today’s part of the God’s Kingdom in Hawaii series is this, how the missionaries raised up of the whole people to an elevated state of Christian civilization.  *Some would argue, this change wasn’t all that positive, and change came quickly, but we can’t deny that the good news of Jesus Christ and O O`e Io, Makua Lani would be received by so many!

Elevated state of Christian civilization.

That’s why among the first wave of missionaries that came, as we learned, there was a farmer, a doctor, a couple of teacher, a mechanic, and a printer, named Elisha Loomis who came with a printing press. 

And why was a printer so important to the mission?  

Up until the time of the Hawaii missionaries, the Hawaiians only had an oral tradition.  There was no written Hawaiian.  Every bit of knowledge was passed down orally.  Dey No mo book, no mo pencil, dass why no need paper!  For the good news to be spread, the people in Hawaii needed to become literate!  Henry Opukaha`ia shared about his people’s need for Jesus, but also to become learned through literacy, to read and write.

On a Pastor’s excursion, we visited the Hawaii Mission Home.  How many of you have been there?  Gotta go at least once. 

There is this placard explaining how the missionaries/alii helped make Hawaii literate.

The alii, the ruling class of chiefs and chieftesses were key in this. The missionaries promised a printing press and to teach palapala, reading and writing.  Because Liholiho, Kamemeha II, had learned the alphabet prior to the missionaries’ arrival, he saw the value of a printing press and literacy for his people.  Liholiho and his prime minister, Kuhina nui, Quuen mother, Kaahumanu’s plan required the missionaries to first teach the aliʻi to read and write in order to stay in Hawaii and then to educate the commoners, maka ainana. The missionaries agreed to the King’s terms and instruction began soon after.  

So the first missionaries had a great task at hand.  

How do we spread the good news of Ieseu Christo to the Hawaiian people in a way the Hawaiian people so they could eventually feed themselves?  

They worked to createa written language, then teach the Hawaiians how to read and write their own language and was key for this first team of missionaries to bring about literacy to the Hawaiian people!  

The first instruction was in English, but the missionaries used every opportunity to learn Hawaiian from the people and make it a written language. They wrote down as carefully as they could every new word that came to their ears. 

They identified the sounds, used Romanized form for the alphabet and pronunciation of words, and they prepared a primer or spelling book to be printed for the schools.  So on the 7th of January, 1822, Elisha Loomis pressed the first page into print of the Hawaiian language.  

The printing press would be used to print out these spelling tracks, and basic reading book for the people to become literate. 

During the next few years of the press it printed pamphlets for use in the schools, reading primers, a hymn book and scripture tracts.  The Hawaiian bible wouldn’t be printed until years later.

With literacy came:

1.  The beginnings of formal education, as the alii were hungry to learn and set up schools for their own keiki, and eventually in 1824, In April, 1824, a meeting was held in Honolulu, at which many of the highest chiefs, including the queen regent and the prime minister, 

“declared their determination to adhere to the instructions of the missionaries, to attend to learning, observe the Sabbath, worship God, and obey his law, and have all their people instructed.”  

Henry Opukaha`ia’s heart cry for his people to learn about Ke akua was passed down to Hawaii’s Alii and then to the people.

The Hawaiian people would eventually have their own translation of the bible and The Word of God was put into print.  

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path 

(Psalm 119:115 NLT).

The word of God would be the lamp that Pastor Mark spoke about that would light the new path the Hawaiians would take to receive Jesus Christ as their savior.  The word of God in Hawaiian would serve to light the new way and bring a new religion, a different set of rules, and a relationship with God.  

Does not my word burn like fire?” says the LORD. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces (Jeremiah 23:29 NLT)?

The Word of God would burn in the hearts of those who’d hear it.  With the hammer of support and mandate of the Alii, the Kanaka maoli, all the native Hawaiians, could now hear about Jesus, Iesu Christo and his good news of relationship with people all in their own language.  

There is so much more to share about the specifics of how God’s word was translated in Hawaiian, who was involved in the process, and how it got out to the people that is way beyond what I’ll go into today.  

It wasn’t until 1840 that the entire bible translated, printed, and bound into a book, 20 or so years after the first missionaries landed.  Complete bibles were scarce and only a few got into the hands of the common people.  But the entire bible was eventually completed. 

Just know that printing press was the tool that made it possible for the Hawaiians to eventually read and learn the bible on their own in their own language of Hawaiian, olelo Hawaii.      

The Roots of Hawaii’s Great Awakening

There was a new level of learning that came with the missionaries.  Schools were established. Mrs. Bingham established a Christian school in Honolulu.  After three months, 40 students attended a five-to-six-hour school day. They zealously recited the precious truths of God each morning, in their own language.  Outdoor learning, no physical schools existed (Keynote)

Then, in 1823, the language had been reduced to an alphabet and a primer printed (basic reader), King Kamehameha II, Liholiho, the prince Kau-i-ke-aouli, eventual King K III, and the princess Nahi-ʻenaʻena, and other chiefs entered school and within a year could read in the Hawaiian language. Schools increased all over the islands as the mission stations were established all over the islands.

  And as fast as there were teachers to teach them, and the number of students enrolled greatly!

The Hawaiian people were hungry to learn. Remember the mission statement of the mission, “You are to aim at nothing short of covering those islands with fruitful fields”

What caused the landscape of Hawaii to be fruitful fields?  It was the fertile grounds in which the gospel took root! 

1. Check the Condition of Your Na`au 

What is Your Na`au?  For you Hawaiians in the house, what is it?  It’s your guts, it’s your inner most parts. It’s where you soul resides. In America we’d say our heart.  For the Ancient greeks, it would be their minds.  The Hebrew speakers would also say their gut. 

You go to Highway Inn in Waipahu and on Hawaiian restaurant menu is Na`au pua`a.  What is that?  

To illustrate the condition of grounds.  Let’s read how Jesus speaks about the condition of the soil.  

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand (Mark 4:3 – 9 NLT).

Jesus tells his story, this parable to make a point.  And he wants people to listen good.  Now let’s do some bible study.  Who’s the farmer?  Jesus.  What is the farmer doing?  Scattering seed.  How many different grounds is Jesus scattering the seed?  Four.  What does the seed represent?  His teachings?  How is the condition of the four soils?  

  • 1st one:  the birds ate it.  
  • 2nd one:  the seeds were planted, but the soil was shallow, no deep roots
  • 3rd one:  the seeds were planted among thorn/weeds and spouted, but was choked out as it was just a new sprout, so never produce fruit.  
  • 4th one:  the seed feel on fertile soil, and there was a great crop.  It produced hundred times more.  

NOW, I ask the question.  What does the soil represent?  Yeah, the condition of our Na`au!  

Is your Na`au more like the first one, how about the 2nd one, third one?  I think many people today is like this.  Our Na`au is choked out with so many other things.  But Jesus is saying, our Na`au has to be like that of the 4th soil.  And that’s many of the Hawaiians were to learning about Iesu Christo.  The ali`i were hungry and they shared that hunger for knowledge of God through palapala, God’s written word, to their people.  

What is your condition of your na`au?  Is it fertile ground for God to place his very words and very presence in?  

2. Hunger for God and ōlelo a ke Akua

ōlelo a ke Akua is literally the word or language of God.  This is how Jeremiah describes when he heart the very words of God to him. 

When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies (Jeremiah 15:16 NLT).

Some translations says, “I ate them” but it more like devoured!  He wen grind em, eat em up”.  They are a joy!  Da buggah ono!  How is your hunger for God and his very words to you?  Is it like how Jeremiah describes?  

You see for those Hawaiians who went to school to learn and to hear the peaching of those early missionaries, many quickly received the good news of Iesu Christo, there are accounts of the revival that took place, especially in Hilo, under Titus Coan who came on a later mission in 1835.  He’d walk his district and preach the good news and many were ripe and ready to receive Jesus. 

If those early Christian converts to Hawaii could see into the future, 200 years then and see us today, I wonder what they’d think about us.  They’d see that each of us have a bible, but why is it collecting dust at home, why aren’t the pages dog eared and worn with use.  You have these small blocks the very words of Akua at your finger tips and with one press, you can hear the very words of God.  

Your trus in God must be great!  You lives solid cuz you know all of God’s word.  We just hear some of them.  We no mo all.  But the truths of have of God are so life giving, his promises we know, so precious, his word give us guidance.  You guys so privileged to have God word there for you.  But then, they’d be confused!  How come peoples lives so buss up still, living defeated lives, no moa joy, no direction, living for other stuff, auwe!  Poho you get one bible, you have one church you can hear about God!  I wonder if they’d say that.  

Where is our hunger for God and his word today?  We’re not hungry because we fill our lives with other stuff that we think will satify our na`au and we fill up on lesser things that leave us empty, not overflowing in our lives.  Now that’s not everyone!  I know there are some that are hungry for God’s presence and devour his teachings, love his promises!  Continue to hunger for God and he’ll fill you up and make you solid.  Lastly, what stoked the flames of the revival. 

3. Accept your Kuleana to Ingest Daily Food

For you locals in the house, what does Kuleana mean?  Yes, “your responsibility” but it’s more than that it’s your responsibility to someone and it’s includes the meaning of having your right to do something.   

These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River (Deuteronomy 32:47 NLT).”

These words were spoken by Moses to the people right before they were to enter into their land of promise.  Their new land of their Kingdom of God.  Moses is saying these words and my teachings no mean nothing to you.  They are your life!  You see for the early converts.  They didn’t have access to whole bibles, but many of them were given tracks of key verses, called Ainokala,  Mea’ai is food, and short of that is “Ai” of the ka “Lā” means day.  I read the accounts of the tracks that given.  And they called it Ainokalā.  

So instead of entire bibles, they had food for the day to spiritually sustain their faith.  

So the food for the day!  Sounds familiar!  The Israelites were hungry in the wilderness journey and food was scarce, so God brought down manna from heaven.  It was their food for the day.  Can I call out to you with the spirit of Hiram Bingham or Titus Coan today and call you accept your kuleana rights and responsibilities to grab hold of God and love his Word, his Ainokalā for you.  

Earl (Pidgin Bible sharing) Daily Food for the those unreached people group.  

If time permits, read this in Hawaii Pidgin.  

13Jesus tell um, “You guys no undastan dis story? Den how you guys goin undastan da odda stories?

14“Da farma plant da seed. He jalike da guy dat tell wat God tell.

15“Da seed dat fall down by da trail, dass jalike wen one guy hear wat God tell, an right den an dea Satan come an jam up da guy so he no can rememba wat he wen hear.

16“Da seed dat fall down on top da rocks, dass jalike wen one guy hear wat God tell, an right den an dea he stay plenny good inside. 17But da guy, he jalike da plant dat no mo deep root inside him. He stick wit um fo one short time. But wen get trouble, o wen da peopo make him suffa cuz he trus da stuff he wen hear, da guy give up right den an dea.

18“Da seed dat fall down inside da kine bushes wit thorns, dass jalike wen one guy hear wat God tell, 19but bumbye da guy all bodda bout all da stuffs he need hea inside dis world. He like come rich, an all dat throw him off. Az why all dat stuff choke out all da tings God tell dat was inside him. He no can do da right tings. He jalike one wheat plant dat no can give wheat, cuz stay growing inside da kine bushes wit thorns.

20“Da seed dat fall down inside da good dirt, dass jalike wen one guy hear wat God tell an trus um. Da guy do da right tings, jalike da good plant dat give wheat. All da good stuff da guy do, he do um thirty time moa, some guys do um sixty time moa, an some odda guys hundred time moa.”

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