Meet the People
I'm in Hawaii with DemiDec for the USAD National Championship and I love it. Arrived well, only spent an hour getting lost in Waikiki, and have been enjoying the days I've had thus far. While I had perhaps the best cheeseburger I ever tasted in my life and found some really cool comics stores, I want to first write about going to church here.
Attending at the Manoa Ward was a real treat today. I really felt the Spirit strongly there and enjoyed sharing the gospel bonds I have with all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I may have been 8000 miles from where I have all my stuff, but while I was at Church, I felt like I was home.
There are a lot of tourist-y things with the tourist-y people yelling AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-LOOOOOO-HAAAAAA! and MAHAAAAAALO! almost like television preachers turned Hawaiian tourism boosters. It's that bad. The Hawaiian language is beautiful and deserves a better fate than being mispronounced by millions of tourists every year. Those two words used most, Aloha and Mahalo, are defined by the tourism industry as meaning "hello" and "thank you", respectively. But in Church today, I learned that's not what they really mean.
The meaning of the word "aloha" is closer to the Texan, "Howdy, y'all!" It's warm, inviting, and hospitable. It's not supposed to be used as a mantra to separate tourists from their cash or as a thing your boss makes you say to remind people they're in Hawaii. It's to make people feel like brothers and sisters. I heard "aloha" used today with that feeling, from Hawaiians to each other and to the people visiting the services today. It felt so much better when used properly.
"Mahalo" I found to be an expression of deep and sincere thanks. It's not a word to be tossed out at a guy who just spent too much for a fur coat at a store in the hotel lobby. I heard it in a prayer said in the Hawaiian language in the same places and intentions I express my thankfulness to God. When I heard "mahalo" used in that fashion, I felt spiritually moved.
To the Manoa Ward here in Hawaii, I loved the language lesson you gave me today. Mahalo to you all for the aloha.
by Dean Webb