“The loveliest A fleet of islands anchored in the Seven Seas” was how Mark Twain described the Hawaiian Islands. I recently attended the American Scientific Affiliation conference held in Hawaii. This afforded me the opportunity after an absence of six years to revisit the place of my birth, Hilo, and a variety of boyhood sites in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
I was struck anew with the tropical beauty of the islands, the blue-green waters, iridescent hues of tropical foliage, all bathed in brilliant sunshine. It was more humid than usual because of the Kona, or south wind, but this was a small discomfort compared to the grip of a frigid Ohio winter. I was surprised to see sugar cane still being tended north of Hilo. (A few days later, however, the Brewer Company announced it was discontinuing sugar production.)
Along with a multitude of Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Filipino laborers, my grandparents and my father came from Okinawa to the Islands to work on the sugar plantations. My mother, though born in Hawaii, was raised in Okinawa. As an uneducated widow, she worked long hours as a maid to raise me. Despite her difficulties, she saved enough money to give me books and even to send me to a private school.
Having been a nominal Buddhist, I became a nominal Episcopalian at this school. It was through the witness of a classmate that I came to attend an evangelical Congregational church, where I first heard the gospel through a basketball player from Taylor University. A retired educator from England patiently explained how I could be reborn through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.
Shortly after my conversion I worked on a missionary farm in Wahiawa. I have not had the privilege of attending a seminary, ...1
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