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Moku'aikaua Church, Kailua-Kona, Big Island - Historic Churches of Hawaii

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First Missionaries in Hawaii
Moku'aikaua Church, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Moku'aikaua Church, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

The first missionaries sent to Hawaii in 1819 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions consisted of two ministers, two teachers, an apprentice printer and a farmer, along with their spouses.

The two ministers were Hiram Bingham and Asa Thurston, a 32 year-old graduate of Yale University and the Andover Seminary. After a voyage of 164 days and 18,000 miles their ship, the Thaddeus arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii.

They soon learned that Kamehameha I was dead. Liholiho was king. The kapu (tabu) had been broken meaning that the old religion was in turmoil. The ship sailed down to Kailua at Kona and awaited permission for the missionaries to come ashore.

The young king, with advice and consent from the regent Kaʻahumanu and Englishman, John Young, principal advisor to Kamehameha I, agreed to allow the missionaries to remain in Hawaii providing that one be assigned to Kailua and the other to Honolulu on the island of Oahu. They were granted a stay of one year (a stay that was to last indefinitely). Assigned to Kailua were the physician Thomas Holman and minister Asa Thurston.

Thus the groundwork was established for the building of the first Christian church in Hawaii, at Kailua at Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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