Standing by the ocean with my iPhone camera pointed up to the mountains thinking, “Wow God! What a beautiful day. What a beautiful world you have made for us.” Knowing my 5s camera wouldn’t do the scenery justice, but taking a picture anyway. Then I get the email…
Instagram Trademark infringement Notice. We’ve removed or disabled access to the following content you posted on Instagram because a third party reported that the content violates their trademark rights: @akaclothingmaui
First I’m baffled. Our account is down? Then I find out some details. A young man from the mainland created a tropical inspired lifestyle brand using the name Akua. He claimed to own the word Akua for anything relating to clothing/apparel under a trademark filed with the USPTO. Slowly my confusion starts turning into anger as I think of all the reasons this can’t be right. How can someone own God? Our Business names are different right? Why would someone claim ownership of a prominent word from a culture he knows nothing about? Lot’s of people here use the word Akua, why is he coming after me?
Later more disheartening emails came stating he had reported our website and it was going to be taken down. One email titled “Cease & Desist” from the accuser. This whole mess was absolutely crazy! Two weeks of messaging, emailing, calling friends, finding a lawyer to talk to, and getting disheartening emails.
Initially my anger led me to think, “Let’s blow this up. I’m going to reach out to Maui Watch, Maui News, Maui Now, FB groups, Family, Friends, etc. I’m going to let the people of Hawai‘i know about this pilau situation. Close friend braddah Jacy (@jacyedlao_hawaii) had the same initial reaction saying, “Brahhhhh, I’ll blow that up.” (Love you Jacy!)
But in the heat of the situation, God showed me something amazing!
He brought to mind 2 Samuel 16:5-14.
In this passage David the King of Israel, had just been betrayed by his own son Absalom. Absalom stabbed his father in the back by overthrowing David’s kingdom, and forcing him and his army to flee from Jerusalem. You can feel David’s broken heart from 1 Samuel 15:30, “David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning.” As David and his army continued to flee we’re introduced to a man named Shimei.
5 As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. 6 He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. 7 “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. 8 “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”
This crazy dude Shimei comes up onto to road throwing stones at the King of Israel and his men. He yells profanities and mocks David and his men. We’re here thinking “Who does this guy think he is? There’s warriors with swords and spears. Warriors loyal to David, and he’s throwing stones.” Then Abishai a warrior and military leader who was loyal to King David steps in.
9 “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”
Cheeehuuu! Watch out! Shimei’s bout to get blasted! David’s loyal army had seen countless battles. Any warrior in David’s army would have gladly shut Shimei up with a quick swing of the sword, but David’s response is remarkable.
10 “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?” 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. 12 And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” 13 So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David. 14 The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River.
Instead of ending the annoying cursing of Shimei, David recognizes God’s hand in the matter. Imagine David taking rock after rock to the head. Hearing words that are pushing his buttons, but he just takes it. David understood that if God wanted Shimei to stop throwing stones, the all powerful creator of the universe could do it. He let his body catch the stones and swallowed the painful words Shimei spit at him.
In my struggles with the stones thrown at Aloha Ke Akua Clothing Co. this became my heart. If God wants us to close up shop, then so be it. I know He has a beautiful plan for my life, and I want to be a part of it. Thank you God for helping me to understand myself a bit deeper, and deal with my reactions and anger. I know you see the injustice and have the power to solve all of my problems.
It was 14 days. 14 days of struggling and truly learning to trust in God. Eventually I got an email from our website provider stating they were not going to take the website down. Instagram got back to me later apologizing for the inconvenience and reactivated our account.
I haven’t heard from the accuser again. Perhaps I will. There may be more struggles ahead, but I’m thankful for God doing a good work in my heart. Though the struggle is real, I choose to trust in You.
My hope is that Hilinaʻi: The Believer’s Blog will be a way I can share what God has done in my life, and what God is doing right now! If you’ve stumbled across this and have any questions or thoughts please leave a comment below. We hope to connect with you, and that you find this series encouraging.
Mahalo Nui for supporting Aloha Ke Akua Clothing Co. Maui's Christian clothing brand. Here is our shop where you can find our products