Joint deputation team unifies on Kaua’i
Eight students from the Kamehameha Schools Maui deputation team took part in a tri-campus retreat on Friday, August 26.
The students spent three days and two nights at the Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church. They were given the opportunity to meet new deputation team members, as well as reunite with returnees from the other campuses.
Ten students from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and twelve students from Kamehameha Schools Kea’au also attended.
“This was my first year being on our school’s deputation team, and I was very nervous and anxious for the trip,” said senior Shiloh Haia. “When we first got to Kaua’i, I was overwhelmed because there was so much to do and so many new people to meet.”
The location for the retreats changes every year. Since the past retreats were held on O’ahu, Moloka’i, Maui and the island of Hawai’i, Kaua’i was the next logical choice.
When selecting a host church, the three chaplains take into consideration things like, “Does the church have the facilities to support our group, rooms large enough for the group to sleep in, showers, restrooms, a kitchen?” said Kahu Kalani Wong, KS Maui chaplain.
Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church fit the bill. “Its members proved to be very gracious hosts,” he said.
The church itself had a lot of history. The original church was over 100 years but destroyed in 1992 during Hurricane Iniki.
“To rebuild the new church, it took a half a million dollars raised through funds and pledges,” said church member Jeff Kaohi.
A Kapālama graduate himself, Kaohi (’72) said he grew up with this church.
“Our family lived right across of the Hanapepe River and had been a member of the church since I was really young,” he said.
Chaperoning the students over the weekend were the Kahu’s from each of the campuses, Kahu Kalani Wong, Kahu Kordell Kekoa and Kahu Kendall Davis.
The first day on Kaua’i was spent singing songs like Pharaoh-Pharoah, Na Iehova No I Hana and Hoe a Mau. The group later went outside to participate in ice-breaker games to become more acquainted with each other.
“The retreat lasts no more than 48 hours, so time is of the essence,” Kahu Wong said. “Activites are planned to provide deep and intense interaction for the students to grow close in a short amount of time.”
Hanapepe Church members provided a potluck dinner, and lights went off by 11:30 p.m.
One of the missions for the trip was to discuss the year’s theme, Ho’okahi i ka Pilina – being one in a relationship - and how to apply it in real life.
On Saturday, the students spent their morning serving the community. The KS campuses broke up into two groups. The first group helped to beautify the church grounds by raking and pulling weeds in the back yard. Some students helped to wash the windows and vacuum inside the church.
“It was a delight to have your services,” said Mr. Kaohi. “When we had a bigger church group, there were quarterly cleanups, but now it’s just been too hard to maintain.”
The second group went to a local thrift shop to fold clothes, dust windows and load any donations given that day.
KS Maui senior, Kailey Cabos embraced the theme. “When we got there, we were all assigned to different tasks, but we had to work together in order get the job done quicker,” she said.
Worship service was held the following morning by a mix of KS students from all three campuses. Kamehameha alumni mixed with other church members at the morning mass.
KS Maui senior Naomi Holokai was one of the few students selected to share their devotions that morning. In her sharing, she explained that in order to have a close relationship with God, one must learn to forgive, even when there is resentment.
“He wants us to get rid of the anger…He knows that it takes us away from Him and from one another,” Holokai said.
She stated that to become closer, forgiveness is the only way. “This is when we can become one with God, and then one with everybody else,” she said.
Endless hugs were given, numbers were exchanged and many pictures were being taken by the time the three campuses had to part and go their separate ways.
“What makes our bond so strong is our connection with God,” said Kea’au junior Kiana Perreira-Keawekane.
Saying ‘good-byes’ at the airport was also hard for Haia. “We all grew so close to each other. It’s like family bound by God,” she said.
For the next deputation team retreat, the Kapālama team will fly to Maui to lead worship at a local church in late December or early October. Kahu Wong said that the actual date has not been set.
The students are planning to stay connected through Facebook. A chat group solely viewable to those who were on the retreat was immediately created by Mika Lindo, a junior at Kamehameha Kapālama.