Brian Welsh (ThM, 1985)
Aloha! I am Kahu Brian Welsh from historic Haili Congregational Church in Hilo, Hawaii. I will quote from our weekly bulletin about this unique ministry. "The working of God can be first documented in the early history of Haili Congregational Church. First, God used the zeal of Henry Opukahaia, the first Hawaiian convert to Christianity, to inspire New England missionaries to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his native land. Secondly, six months prior to the arrival of the first missionaries at Kailua, Kona, King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) broke the kapu system of pagan worship. Thirdly, with the spiritual vacuum created by the loss of the kapu system, the response to the Gospel was tremendous on the eastern side of the Big Island, especially through the preaching of Rev. Titus Coan, one of the missionaries of the early Hilo Mission. The Church grew to over 10,000 members with 1,705 Hawaiians baptized on one day alone, perhaps the largest church in the world at that time. Our present building is the fifth, dedicated in 1859 by Rev. Coan. The church continues today in the same Biblical and Christ-centered ministry as when the Royal Family was a part of our congregation. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, and the Bible is our standard in all matters of faith and practice. I give frequent tours of this historic ministry since many people are interested in its part of the Hawaii Revival of the 1800's. I find it fascinating how little people know about one of the greatest success stories of Christian Mission in the last two hundred years!
I graduated from the ThM program here at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1985 and have many delightful memories of interactions with my professors. Thinking back on our time in Dallas, a major highlight is the many times my wife and I were invited to the homes of some of our luminary and legendary teachers. Spending an evening with Dr. Walvoord and Dr. Ryrie and Dr. Pentecost telling jokes and sharing inspiring stories is something you can't put a price tag on!
Dallas Seminary helped inspire a life-long love affair with the Word of God. The skills I learned during my four years there have been well invested in an almost 30-year ministry of teaching Scripture. Currently, I have loved my thirteen years of ministry as the Senior Kahu at Haili Congregational Church and continue to practice the Hawaiian value of "Aloha" in every aspect of church life. My wife and I grew up in the Islands, so this comes naturally to us, but we have had to learn new skills such as singing songs in the Hawaiian language on a regular basis. The Hawaiian history is very important to us since our grandchildren share the bloodline of Henry Opukahaia. Our prayer is that the Lord will continue to use us to share God's aloha in the beautiful islands He has called us to serve!