If you live on the Big Island, you have a relationship with Madame Pele (the Hawaiian Fire goddess who lives in Kilauea Crater) whether you like it or not. Some people have made peace with it, others are terrified, and the majority seem to be ambivalent about it. We live next door to Madame Pele and so try not to do anything to offend her.
This past Thursday, January 3rd marked the 25th Anniversary of the eruption of Kilauea Volcano. Scientists on Hawaii Island (Big Island) say that it is the longest Kilauea rift zone eruption in at least the last 800 years.
50,000 gallons of molten lava gush from cracks on the volcano's flank every minute--enough to fill Diamond Head crater to a depth of one foot every day. All of this lava has created 212 acres of new coastline making the Big Island that much bigger!
Besides Pele creating land, she can also be a destructive presence burning native forests and destroying whole subdivisions of homes. That is what happened in 1990 to the area known as Kalapana and a subdivision named Royal Gardens. My Hawaiian friends told me that Pele took back her aina (land) because she didn't like what the people were doing there on her land. There was lots of drug activity, lawlessness, and the people who lived there were selfish with natural resources that were supposed to be for everyone.
I don't know if that it true because I did not know anyone personally that lived there during that time. All except for Uncle Robert. Uncle Robert as he is known to local people around here, is an indigenous Hawaiian man of great faith--the Catholic faith. (In Hawaii it is not unusual to believe in Hawaiian beliefs and have a other religious faith also.)
Uncle Robert's house was spared from a lava flow headed directly towards his house and property in Kalapana near the beach. As the lava flow was approaching, he prayed and left everything in the hands of God as he placed his rosary onto his property's rock wall--then drove away with his family. When he came back later, the lava flow had diverted just enough to spare his property as it flowed past towards the ocean. I have been to his home and met him years ago. You can see a 10 foot? wall of lava that runs along one side of his property line!
The bible talks about having enough faith to move mountains, but to move a lava flow?! Now that is what I call faith.
Back then at Uncle Robert's house, people were laughing at my husband and I because our mouths were open as we walked besides this towering wall of lava rock, puzzled by what we were looking at. It was then that Uncle Robert told us the story about his home and faith.