Finally, all of the missionaries are on the land. Then, on April 23, 1820, Hiram Bingham holds the first public worship on O‘ahu – “Luke 2. 10. ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people’.”
“The theme, the scene, the opening prospect – the dawning light of a brighter day, conspired to animate our hearts and awaken an unusual joy in our souls while we seemed to be favored with the special presence of him who was born in the city of David, a Savior, even Christ the Lord. The natives are much pleased with our singing, aided by the Bass viol played by Tamoree [Humehume].”
April 20, 1820 “We rise this morning for the first time from our slumbers on heathen ground – In circumstances of real comfort and new obligations of gratitude to the Watchman of Israel who has kept our habitations in peace and given us refreshing rent In its season. The garrison at the fort as often as once an hour during the night, give a loud shout, partly in their native tongue and partly in broken English, of this impart, – All awake! Hoorau!” (Thaddeus Journal)
20th ‘all the mission family took leave of the brig to take up their residence on shore in houses voluntarily offered to them by some of the white residents at this place.’ (James Hunnewell)
April 20. Yesterday we were permitted to take up our residence in a heathen land. Two or three days have been occupied in landing and taking care of our things. Several white men who live here are very kind and have shown us many favors. Capt Babcock master of an American vessel, who has resided a year or two on the Island has kindly offered us his storehouse where we may put our goods and keep them safe. I believe I wrote to you when at Boston that I was informed we could get at our chests which were stowed in the hold in two or three months; and on account of the vessel being much crowded especially our little rooms, I had many things put away into the hold which I expected to take out, when it was opened, especially my dried fruit. But as might chests arrived before the vessel was much loaded, they were put away where we were not able to get to them on the passage, notwithstanding the hold was opened several times. I expected many of my things would spoil, but when I opened my chest and found much of them had kept perfectly safe, I wished to thank my dear mother and sisters for the care in which they look to have my goods dry before they were packed. … (Mercy Partridge Whitney Journal)
April 21, 1820
- – Continued the business of regulating our goods and making ourselves comfortable in our new situation. (Thaddeus Journal)
April 22, 1820
- – We find some difficulty in procuring convenient storerooms for all our baggage, furniture and goods, because the storehouses that are considered safe are generally occupied, and we fear to expose many of them in what are generally called straw-houses – they are so liable to destruction by fire. (Thaddeus Journal)
April 23, 1820
- – Today, for the first time we have public worship on land. A considerable audience of European and American residents, Masters and officers of vessels, chiefs, sailors, and common natives, assembled In and around the house occupied by Brother B[ingham] to hear the sound of the gospel for the first time on these ling neglected heathen shores. Brother B[ingham] preached from Luke 2. 10. ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people’. The theme, the scene, the opening prospect – the dawning light of a brighter day, conspired to animate our hearts and awaken an unusual joy in our souls while we seemed to be favored with the special presence of him who was born in the city of David, a Savior, even Christ the Lord. The natives are much pleased with our singing, aided by the Bass viol played by Tamoree [Humehume]. (Thaddeus Journal)
April 23rd, Sabbath. With what interest would our friends in America look upon us to-day, could they cast an eye over the wide waters and behold! The season is truly an interesting one. Probably the first sabbath in which the worship of Jehovah was ever observed in these pagan Isles. We have had divine service to-day in our own dwelling – our straw-thatched cottage – the congregation composed of white residents and Commanders of vessels now lying at the harbour, with many of the natives seated on the mats and surrounding the door. One of the oldest residents, Mr. H -, at the sound of the songs of Zion had the tears upon his furrowed cheek. He had heard nothing of the kind for more than twenty years. He is a native of Mass. 0, that it might appear that the gospel is not sent to him and others, after this long voluntary banishment from it, in vain! (Sybil Bingham)
April 23. This has been an interesting Sabbath to us all. Attending attended a meeting at brother B[inghams]’s. The chief, several of the natives, and between 20 and 30 white men were present, besides the mission family. The chief had a manned by his side to interpret the sermon as fast as delivered. He was very attentive, and appeared pleased with the preaching. What an interesting thought that after ages have rolled away and clouds of superstition and ignorance have darkened the minds of this people, the gospel is now preached and pardon and salvation offered to them through a crucified Redeemer. May God give them the ears to hear and heart to understand and obey the truth. (Mercy Partridge Whitney Journal)
“Immediately on landing, the missionaries commenced the public and private worship of God, which they had regularly maintained down to the last intelligence from them. On the Sabbath, they preached not only to the mission family, but to many residents, officers of vessels, and seamen, who were occasionally present. In some instances, they preached on board of ships, at the request of the masters.
Thus many immortal beings, speaking our language most of them our countrymen, were again favored with the proclamation of the Gospel, after a long absence from the means of grace. It is, indeed, a very important consideration, respecting this mission, that it brings divine truth to some, who have voluntarily, through a long portion of their lives, exiled themselves from the sanctuary; and to others, who would gladly hear the things, which belong to their peace, though from their pursuits they have seldom enjoyed the preaching of the Gospel.
When the missionaries preached, whether on deck or on shore, a very respectful attention was given by the hearers generally; and strong hopes were entertained, that two or three mates of the Thaddeus had experienced great and permanent benefit, from the religious instruction, which they had heard during the voyage, and after their arrival.
In this connexion it may be proper to state, that the masters of vessels, almost without an exception, showed kindness to the mission family, and appeared to wish great success to the under taking. From their acquaintance with the chiefs, and from the trade which is carried on at the islands, they have it in their power to exert a very salutary influence over the minds of the natives.
For every instance, in which they availed themselves of this power, to render the situation of the missionaries comfortable, they will receive the cordial thanks of all the friends of missions, to whom the knowledge of their kindness is communicated.
Among the visitors, whose attentions had a cheering effect upon the minds of the missionaries, the name of Captain Valentine Starbuck, formerly of Nantucket, but now master of a London whaler, deserves to be particularly mentioned. During several visits of considerable length, he manifested a great interest in the mission, and liberally imparted to it such articles as he could conveniently spare, beside subscribing generously to a school fund of which he and others laid the foundation. (12th Annual Meeting Report of the ABCFM, 1821)
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