Women in recovery at The Salvation Army’s Family Treatment Services have found a powerful source of pride and inspiration in dealing with their drug addiction: hula.

Kumu hula Kilohana Silve has generously shared her love of the hula by teaching these women the art of hula once a week.  “It’s wonderful how they’ve come to lift up their lives by turning to, and for some, recapturing the hula,” she says. 

“Hula is a very spiritual art that builds strength and self-esteem in men and women who need to restructure their lives in the program that The Salvation Army offers,” she adds.

Kilohana is proud to be their kumu by teaching them ancient chants that hold such precious knowledge about the culture and the heritage of the islands.

Mahalo, Kilohana, for being a shield!

An expression of love and caring through hula

Did you know that The Salvation Army has its own hula hālau?

The hālau (or school in Hawaiian) is made up of 13 young women from all the islands & called Ka Lei O Haku (The Lei of the Lord).  Music Director Crystal Nakamaejo explains the meaning behind the name: “A lei is an adornment of many different flowers. In the Hawaiian culture, children are often referred to as the flowers or ‘pua’ and when combined, all of these ‘pua’ make a beautiful lei.  In the same way that children are a product of their parents, we, as children of God are products of His love. Our ‘lei’ is comprised of hālau members who dance hula as worship unto our ‘Akua’ (Lord).”

Watching the ladies perform hula to island-style Christian music is indeed a blessing.  It quickly becomes apparent that they enjoy performing with their beautiful smiles, grace and poise to the delight of their audience.

“For me, it’s the bond that we have,” explains hālau member Klazarine Rudolph. “It’s good to know that you have Christian sisters, not just when you need them, but all the time.”

“I love dancing hula,” enthuses Kylie Leong. “I grew up dancing hula, and who doesn’t want to do what they love?”

The group practices once a month on O‘ahu, which could mean for some flying the night before and bunking at the home of the current leader, Dasia Rodriguera, and then flying home on Sunday morning.  It may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s one the members are willing to take.

Since the hālau was formed in 2006, they have performed at numerous events such as our Family Camp, Women’s Ministries Camp and Youth Councils.  They also had the opportunity to take their unique ministry to the mainland where they toured and performed with the Army’s Territorial Songsters in Florida, and in Pasadena during “The Gathering.” 

When asked if a casual viewer understands that their hula is intended to glorify God, Dasia responds, “I think that when we perform – or whenever any ministry performs – the audience feels the power of the Holy Spirit – they may not know it, but they have a feeling.”

The Salvation Army is indeed blessed and proud to have these talented young women as a beautiful expression and extension of its ministry of caring.

Aloha and welcome to our blog “Doing the Most Good,” where we will share wonderful stories behind the life-changing work of The Salvation Army in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands. 

We will feature inspiring stories of people whose lives have been touched by the Army and those who have made it possible. We will answer some questions you may have about the Army – the who’s, the what’s, the why’s and the how’s — and most importantly, the role that YOU can play in “Doing the Most Good.” We think that you will be surprised to learn a few things that you didn’t know.

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