The ﬁrst time I heard the phrase was while ﬂying to Hawai’i years ago. Every announcement concluded with the word, but it took me a while to learn what it meant. Before the ﬂight had landed I had deduced what was being said. We would say ‘thank you,’ but I’m pretty sure that in Hawai’ian it means more than that. Like ‘Aloha’ means more than just ‘hello,’ or ‘goodbye.’ ‘Mahalo’ may mean thanks, gratitude, admiration, esteem, regard, or respect. It may mean all of those things together. Like some other languages, Hawai’ian words can have multiple meanings and they are not meant to be exclusive of one another. In fact, some say that it was not until contact with Westerners that the Hawai’ians even had concern for a word of ‘thanks.’ It was simply customary to express all of this together.
I recently had the opportunity to go to Moloka’i, Hawai’i to serve on a mission trip with the Isaiah Connection. I had the chance to cook for a team from Oaks Christian School from California. And just as that ﬁrst ﬂight years ago was ﬁlled with ‘Mahalo,’ so too, this trip made me mindful of many Mahalos that need to be shared.
Mahalo to my wife Laura for letting me go do something important to me. And to my family for having supported my mission trips through the years.
Mahalo to my Graytsone Church family for understanding my need to be in mission and for allowing me the space and time to fulﬁll it. We all beneﬁt from these missions—the missions keep me engaged and oﬀer a ton of worthwhile stories to share.
Mahalo to Joe Burton, founder of the Isaiah Connection who has spent years establishing relationships and building trust in the communities in which we go to serve. Without that foundation we could not do what we do.
Mahalo to Rebekah Cranor, our High Lady of Logistics, who is able to put and keep things together even when everything seems to be in ﬂux. Extra Mahalos for all your help and hanging out with ‘Chef’ when we had occasion.
Mahalo to Oaks Christian School staﬀ who provided such great leadership on this trip. Audie, Lizzy, Marcus, and Sherrie—you all were a delight to work with. Your faith and your sense of fun both came shining through. It was a pleasure to get to know you and share this special time together. May it not be the last.
Mahalo to a great group of kids who came and worked and served and supported one another. You may not have known each other well when you headed to Hawai’i, but you grew together as a community in some great ways. Hopeful that the bonds you formed continue when you return home.
Mahalo to Auntie Vi and Uncle Weldon for all the hospitality and making the whole crew feel at home. You did a great job of taking us all in and seeing to our needs and teaching us about the island and its culture.
Mahalo to Uncle Eddie and Auntie Di for the chance to sit and ‘talk story’ on a bright Saturday morning in Kaunakakai. So much fun laughing and sharing tales. Mahalo for breakfast.
Mahalo to Auntie Megan for your gifts of food and care and a beautiful gift of art that I can enjoy on a daily basis. So sorry that we didn’t have more time together—that goes for you Auntie Bridget as well.
Mahalo to Dan, David, Amber, Dana, and Kahu Randy and the folks at Moloka’i Baptist Church who opened their doors, their cabins, their kitchen, their facilities, and, most importantly, their hearts to our crew.
Mahalo to Kavika and Young Life for making our group part of their ohana during the week. So great to see new friends playing and praying together. The volleyball was killer!
Mahalo to Auntie Alicia and Javi for all that you did for us. It was a joy to get to work and cook and talk with you both. The coconut candy was incredible. Blessings on you.
Mahalo to Auntie Kilia and Uncle Tony at the Ohana Learning Academy at Mahana Gardens. We loved learning about your school and native ways and plants. It was a pleasure to serve with you and to be part of your ohana for a while.
Mahalo to the good folks at Keawanui Fish Pond who allowed us to come serve and help them with projects that will help restore this wonderful resource. We loved learning about the history and importance of ﬁsh ponds in Hawai’ian life and culture. Hoping that this working relationship can continue to grow in years to come.
Mahalo to Uncle Dave and Auntie Judy for incredible Hawai’ian ice cream. The variety and intensity of ﬂavors was a local treat, and the whole crew enjoyed it. Who knew you could make ice cream from purple sweet potatoes?
I know it’s a long list of mahalos. That cannot be helped—there are so many for whom I’m feeling thanks and gratitude and admiration and regard and respect. What an incredible opportunity to go and become ohana in such a short time together! What rich experiences!
That brings me to this: Mahalo, Lord and Creator of the universe, for the incredible wonders of the world and for the incredible people you have created to care for it and with which to share it. My heart and spirit are ﬁlled! Mahalo a million times over! Aloha!