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Lahaina Woman of 1800’s

On my recent visit to the Hawaiian Islands I made an excursion to Lahaina on the island of Maui. Lahaina is an old whaling town where missionaries lived beginning in the 1800’s. Since I have an historical interest in whatever place I venture I visited the Baldwin Home on Front Street, home to a missionary family. As I walked through I had an appreciation for the courage and commitment those people must have had to uproot themselves from their relatively comfortable home in Massachusetts and take the six month voyage to the Hawaiian Islands, a journey often not survived due to the rough conditions. As I stepped through the crude rooms of their home I saw displayed many of the artifacts used, from medical instruments to hand made quilts on the beds. Then I saw her, a very old photo of a woman, a missionary wife staring out to me through the years. I studied her face and saw not the hardness I expected that is bound to come from bitter hard word and impossible conditions, but a woman whose eyes were filled with compassion and whose face showed a softness. This was a woman who I imagined would hold me in her heart through difficult times and who would put herself out for others. I was amazed at her courage and clarity.

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