Mission To Molokai Means Selling Laulau, Cleaning Yards

This team from Kaneohe Congregational Church volunteered at Kalaupapa last summer and will return in July, pending local fundraising efforts. Members include (from left) Keli'iakekai Andrade, Shaun Kanoho, Kawaipunahele Andrade, Kamana Luis, Kamalei Lyons, Jeremiah Himoto and Keola Fellezs. Photo from Alan Kaneshiro.

A Kaneohe church is sending its youths on a mission to Molokai this summer, and it seeks community support to help get them there.

Kaneohe Congregational Church plans its third annual trip to Kalaupapa National Historical Park at the end of July, when a dozen church members will help clean invasive plants, restore the native ones and remove overgrowth from the settlement’s cemeteries.

“This church experience has been valuable for our teenagers to walk the paths of our ancestors,” explained member Jean Kanoho, “to toil the fields that the former residents farmed, to wake up to the pristine beauty each day, and to relive history through the eyes of the residents of Kalaupapa.”

Toward that end, the youths are selling laulau and doing yard work for donations this spring. The laulau sales began April 21, and orders will be ready for pick-up from 8 a.m. to noon May 18. To order food or schedule some yard work, call the church office at 235-2764.

“How many youths today would give up one week of their summer to do hard labor in the sun for free?” asked KCC’s Kalaupapa co-coordinator Allan Kaneshiro. (The answer is that six out of eight youths who worked there last year are back for an encore trip to keep Kalaupapa beautiful.)

Their work in 2012 was praised by the National Park Service on its website, which described how KCC and Catholic Venturing Crew 144 both worked hard last summer at all tasks, and also took a break to play in Kalaupapa’s weekly volleyball game.

The church is located at 45-114 Waikapoki Road, where it has ministered to the community for 179 years.