Being Local


Question: What’s the difference between a local and a haole?
Answer: The haole thinks Hawaii’s part of the mainland.

If you understand this joke, most likely you were born and raised in Hawaii or you have lived here a long time.

Hawaii’s diverse multicultural society is the result of several waves of immigration. Long ago Polynesians migrated from Tahiti in the southern Pacific Ocean settled here and became the Hawaiians. Later Europeans came in search of commercial opportunities and to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ. The establishment of the sugar and pineapple plantations required the importation of laborers from China, Japan, Korea, Okinawa, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Azores.

The plantation experience resulted in a shared local identity and a unique language known as Hawaii Pidgin. Thus, Hawaii has three major languages representing three major cultures: (1) the Hawaiians and the Hawaiian language, (2) the Haoles and Standard English, and (3) the Locals and Hawaii Pidgin.


Local culture is a mixture of several different cultures. It is using chopsticks, taking off your shoes before you go inside, lighting fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and paying respects to your ancestors. It is eating sushi, poke, pork adobo, and manapua. It is talking story with your bruddas and sistas in da kine, show plenny respeck yoa kupunas, and no talk stink nobody.


The point here is that in sharing the Orthodox Faith in Hawaii, we need to respect the culture of the local people of Hawaii. The history of Orthodox missions has been one of accepting and respecting the indigenous cultures and languages. The hundreds of thousands of locals living on Oahu need to know about who Jesus Christ is and they need an Orthodox Church that worships in their language.


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