June 19, 2020

I want to share another story about the Women’s Retreat at Hui Aloha (which means roughly ‘gathering of love’) Church in Kaupo – which is about as remote and off the grid as you can get in Maui.  If you think Hana is the end of the road, then Kaupo is end of the world.  It is so remote that there is no electricity, no phone, and not everyone has water. Thankfully, Hui Aloha has plenty of good, fresh water, and even toilets that flush, so we were living in luxury, relatively speaking.  

Some other campers got there first, so they got the prime camp site just behind the one remaining wall of the old Kaupo School.  In the middle of the open field just back from the rocky point, the old wall stands with the opening for what used to be a door in the center – and it looks like you could walk right through it into another world……if you use your imagination which isn’t too hard to do in Kaupo. The wall is the prime camp site because it provides a windbreak for the constant 20 – 30 mile per hour winds that blow in off the ocean.   These guys didn’t get a good look at us until after dark, when we made a trek to the point after dinner.  No doubt they could hear our lilting feminine voices and it piqued their curiosity.  And probably several beers to the wind, they thought they’d check us out.  So in the darkness, one of the guys strolled on over to us and invited us to sit around their campfire.  We politely declined, laughing to ourselves that if they caught a glimpse of our middle aged and older physiques, they would probably jump right off the point into the ocean.  The next morning we had a sunrise worship service at the point, and our senior camper – Babes – who happened to be 82 years old – decided to take a short-cut and hiked right past their tent.  I am not sure if it was our age or the hymns being sung at 7 AM, but before long they broke camp and departed.

A rainbow over a body of water

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Looking from Hui Aloha past the remnants of the old school to the ocean

Speaking of walking through a door into another world…Kaupo had some out-of-this-world sights and experiences for us.  The church sits on a little point of land that juts out into the ocean.  The coastline is rough with thousands of smooth black rocks lining the shore like boulders that have been sanded by the hands of the water and then placed along the beach to keep the ocean in check.  The ocean was a clear, dark blue and on the horizon, you could make out the faint outline of Hawaii – the Big Island.  After a brief rain the grass and brush were brilliant green.  The few coconut palms and iron wood trees bent toward the west as if bowing in the presence of the church.  Haleakala – the dormant volcano that makes up the bulk of the east half of Maui – seemed to rise right out of the point up to the sky.  The clouds were constantly changing as they meet the mountain – and created some of the most spectacular rainbows I’ve ever seen.  We must have seen at least 10 – and two were perfect double ones.  There were flocks of white birds floating on the air currents in bas relief with the green of the mountain and I could imagine how Noah felt watching the ravens take flight over the new earth.  

One of the ladies got up in the middle of the night to attend to a call of nature, and on her way back from the restroom, she happened to glance up at the church.  The almost-full moon was providing back light that made the white walls of the church appear to shimmer.  And there, astride the steeple were two brilliant white stars, one on each side, and just above the stars and steeple was a moon bow strewn over the church as if it were God’s apron of love and promise and protection over us all.  It seemed a promise that God is real, and that God cares and that God’s promises are true.

The Psalmist said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?  Yet you have made them a little lower than angels, and crowned them with glory and honor….O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  David sure got that right!       

Keep looking up – it puts everything in perspective ~ Anne

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