We are Hāmama Community Church, “Followers of Jesus, Ohana in Practice.” Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus and mentor believers towards maturity. Like other church plants, we joyfully serve our community and leverage our denominational resources. But what makes this mission unique is our strategy of perpetuating the Hawaiian culture appropriately. 

The vision for Hāmama came about before we were ever here. Pastor Jason Hew, a Gateway alum that served in this area, shared a similar vision. We found out later that Lainee Pegelow, a Christian Challenge director in Arizona, prayed for God to do something in this place several years before we arrived. Now, she is a partner and brings college students to serve alongside Hāmama. In California, God was refining my (Ikaika) call and clarifying the vision with the help of Gateway faculty and fellow students. Originally, I (Ikaika) intended to serve the Hawaiian community on Maui while Stacey went to seminary to prepare to return overseas as a full-time missionary. However, God had other plans. Through various means, we answered the call to plant a church in Kahalu’u, O’ahu.

We have a strong conviction to plant an indigenous church. Part of our ministry is incorporating local farming for the community. People ask, “Why did you choose to do farming?” Our answer is simple: we didn’t. Our target community values such work, and we believe it is the vision for the property we steward. As we cleared overgrown bushes and trees, we found a spring that is now used for wetland taro farming. Community members, both believers and non-believers, value aloha ‘aina – the care for their land. They volunteer their time and energy in weekly work days while farmers share their experience, their heavy equipment, and donate plants to bring the farm to life. They are a part of restoring a sense of place, a pu‘uhonua – a sanctuary.

What once used to be commonplace has now become treasured cultural practices. Many kupuna, or family elders, have passed away—taking family traditions with them. It became much easier to cater Hawaiian food, quicker to purchase from a lei stand, and more comfortable to only dream of learning the Native Hawaiian language. Many broken ohana look to the good old days. God has equipped Hamama with core church members who are authentic cultural practitioners. In addition to farming, we teach families to make poi using a board and stone, to make lei using things we grow on the farm, to set an imu to cook food, and to learn Hawaiian as a second language using the Hawaiian Bible translation. We are able to teach it all for free, with no strings attached, because we want our community to know God cares about what they hold dear.

Some have wondered why we started with youth. It was completely a direction from God. The most common understanding of ohana is extended family. It literally translates to that which is of the same oha, or taro stalk. In Hawaiian communities of the past, children or keiki were fortunate to be raised in strong communal systems. Elders, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as parents – all contributed to the healthy upbringing of the next generation. Today, almost no ohana is immune to integral family members being affected by drugs, prison, alcoholism or the need to move for economic opportunity. The result is brokenness. God knows this and opened the door for us to work with an after-school program to become ohana to many hurting youth and parents. The church of Jesus is a multigenerational ohana filled with many members that are connected by the blood of Christ – the living stalk that will never be broken.

“Followers of Jesus, Ohana in practice” is not just a tagline or a gimmick. It is how Hāmama has been led to fulfill our mission of making disciples. The ohana, the extended family, is the backbone of the Hawaiian community. And right now, it is hurting. God desires to bring life and healing to the ohana. Hāmama Community Church is His story. Though we struggle in the midst of hard work and patient laboring, we know that God’s ways are perfect. He revealed a vision, He appointed the timing, He is bringing the right people and providing the resources to fulfill His mission in Hawai’i.


Read More

Who Were the Danbury Baptists?

The Baptist story is integral to the history of the United States.

Jonathan McCormick
Director of Library Services | Associate Professor of Theological Research
Dr. Jonathan McCormick’s dissertation examined the tradition of confessions of faith among Baptists in the United States through the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message.

John Webster and the Holiness of Preaching

For Webster, preaching and pastoral work is one of a profound vocation; a calling to emulate the God who preaches.

Robb Torseth
Public Service Librarian & Adjunct Professor at Gateway Seminary

Listen

10 Questions with 10 Pastors
July 8, 2024

The Dents

Tyler sits down with longtime missionaries and retired Gateway faculty, Don and Anne Dent. The Dents served with the IMB for over 30 years and most recently at Gateway Seminary. In this episode, they reflect on their past experiences from working in the mission field

Jonathan Edwards Center Podcast
July 2, 2024

Jonathan Edwards and the Baptists

Jonathan Edwards Center director, Dr. Chris Chun, engages in an enlightening conversation with distinguished Jonathan Edwards scholars, Dr. Nathan Finn and Dr. Douglas Sweeney. They talk about the beginning of the Southern Baptist Denomination and important scholars w


Watch

Jonathan Edwards and the Asbury Revival

Chris Chun and Chris Woznicki discuss the signs of true revival, signs of the work of the Holy Spirit, and why it is important to critically assess the characteristics of revival in a spirit of charity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Jonathan Edwards and the Baptists | Douglas Sweeney, Nathan Finn and Chris Chun

Dr. Douglas Sweeney and Dr. Nathan Finn joined Dr. Chris Chun for a panel discussion on Jonathan Edwards, recorded live at the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Get updates on new content!