Preparing the Way presents a concise pictorial account of the first American Protestant mission to arrive in Hawai‘i as told through the lives of three Polynesian men: ‘Opukaha‘ia (Henry Obookiah) and his close companion Hopu (Thomas Hopoo) were instrumental in requesting the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to send a Protestant missionary company to Hawai‘i. The untimely death of ‘Opukaha‘ia in 1818 led to the publication of his Memoirs, which in turn drew financial and spiritual support from across the United States for the formation of the pioneer American Protestant missionary company to Hawai‘i. They departed for Hawai‘i from Boston in October 1819. Their arrival in Hawai‘i led to the conversion to Christianity of the majority of the ali‘i nui rulers of Hawai‘i and their people, and the rapid spread of literacy as the Hawaiian people sought to read Bible scriptures printed in the Hawaiian language. In 1822, the Tahitian Christian ali‘i, Auna, explained the Christian religion in Polynesian terms to the rulers of Hawai‘i, ensuring the success of the mission to Hawai‘i.
This book’s release coincides with the celebration in New England of the Hawai‘i Mission Bicentennial of the sending of the Pioneer company from Boston in October 1819, and the arrival of the Sandwich Islands Mission in Hawai‘i in Spring 1820.