Makaula’s gnarled fingers stroked the ancient piece of wood gripped in her left hand; the pahu (staff). It was given to her when the last of the Believing Ones died. Carved long ago by the First Ones, its façade cracked and flaking, its core hardened by years of weight placed upon it and the draught that now possessed the land. Like her, its appearance belied its inner strength.
Her Great Auntie Pumehana had given it to her on her death bed, explaining its legend and that long ago Iesu (Jesus) had appeared under a Koa tree and promised that hope was coming. A tall walking stick was carved from the wood of the Koa tree and then passed from generation to generation, a reminder to remember the vision.
The missionaries came not long after that vision and soon hope was truly alive in the hearts of the people, long since weighed down by their angry Hawaiian gods of rock and lava. Hope sprung into life and the island was reborn. Her people embraced Iesu and the Haouli’s (foreigners) who brought Him. It was a time like no other and it was good; the land of milk and honey and the Spirit of God reigned.
But, just as the Israelites who bore Iesu to the nations turned from the One True God time and again, many Hawaiians clung to the old system, or they publicly claimed Him while privately playing homage to the Hawaiian gods of addiction, anger and division.
By the time Great Auntie gave the pahu to Makaula she doubted what she spoke – it had become just a legend to Pumehana. It was passed on like a peculiar family heirloom, kept because it was from the Kupuna (old ones). Except for five words, the last her Auntie would speak, “Find the hope again, Makaula.”
Makaula was not yet twelve when the pahu passed to her. She placed it in the corner of her room where it seemed to call to her in her dreams. The words of her Great Auntie burned in her heart and made her yearn for the hope. Makaula found it in Iesu. Her teen years gave way to her twenties, her twenties to her thirties and so on; she never married. Her communion with her Lord was as intimate to her as the skin on her bones; they were inseparable. Time marched on and hope for her island was deferred though still smoldering in her spirit.
The people mostly left her alone now. She was pupule (crazy), they said. Daily she walked the dusty roads and back trails of Moloka’i, beseeching her God to bring healing to the land, to the people.
The island had become a place of disparity. The rich from afar had their place in the sun while many Hawaiians, caught in the bondage of the past, either stayed and scratched out a bitter existence or left for a new life somewhere else. The hopelessness the island now wallowed in kept her going, kept her walking, kept her praying. But now, as her body made known its protest upon every step and her stops to rest became longer than her walks, even Makaula wondered if hope would ever come.
Today, as her fingers played over the rough wood of the pahu she gazed from the high side of the island out over the west end, toward Oahu. She could see so much pain, so much fear. Makaula prayed. As she did, the vision arose again as it had in increasing frequency these last months. A light haired woman sat facing the ocean, deep in prayer, alone. As the woman prayed, green vines sprouted from her, small at first, but then growing larger. Dark birds attempted to break and eat the vines, and some did, but the vines grew more plentiful and stronger to replace what the birds stold. Before long, the dusty island was filled with the vine and its fruit. This was where the vision usually ended, but today it continued. The light haired woman slowly turned, her face radiant and at peace, the green of the island around her, framing her face. The woman smiled at Makaula and reached out her hand to receive the pahu. As she did Iesu arose from amidst the vines, waters of life pouring from His robe onto the island causing the vines to spread to the ends of the earth.
The vision ended. Makaula knew - the time had come for hope to return.
Author's note: Makaula means Prophet in Hawaiian. Prayers for these Hawaiian islands, once the only 100% Christian Nation on earth, would be greatly appreciated. Especially for Molokai.
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