Aloha friends and family! Also friends of family, or family of friends...whoever reads this!
A lot has been happening here in the Honoka'a Ward on the Big Island of Hawaii. We have the first baptism in about 8 months in our ward set up for this saturday and a lot of our other investigators are progressing well also! You could really say we're seeing miracles, and the ward recognizes that as well. They keep telling us how they're gonna call our mission president and ask him to keep us both here for the rest of our missions.
But in the middle of all these things that are happening, there's one subject I wanted to talk to everyone about, and that's going back to the basics. This, as you might've guessed, includes your typical primary answers: going to church, reading your scriptures, praying at least every morning and night, and going to the temple.
I'm going to share two examples with you that I've seen over this past week of people who do these things, and who don't. There's this lady, her name is Auntie Kipi. She used to be one of the strongest members in the ward. She was the primary president, seminary teacher, and the main person over genealogy work in our ward. She also worked at the temple twice a week. She had such a strong testimony, but over time she stopped doing these basic things. She stopped reading her scriptures, then stopped praying, then was referred to anti-mormon literature by her "friend". Because she didn't do those basic things, when she read this stuff, she didn't have a strong enough foundation to withstand it. You could say every time she didn't read, didn't pray, skipped church, she moved her house from a rock foundation to a sandy one. And when the rains came down, her house washed away. She now doesn't even come to church and won't talk to anyone in the church or have anything to do with it.
The second story is a lot happier. This is the story about our with date, Haunani. She has been an investigator for about 5 months and has made an incredible change over that time period. At the beginning, she'd blow off appointments, and never keep her commitments. But when I came in, my companion and I continually challenged her to read from the Book of Mormon every day, taught her how to pray, and eventually she accepted the invitation to come to church! As she did these things and strengthened her foundation, she had a complete change of heart, and has been able to withstand the many floods of temptations that have been thrown her way. The gospel has had such a profound impact on her. She gave up smoking and drinking, re-established contact with her parents who she hadn't talked to in years, and broke up with her boyfriend, who she depended on for almost everything. But what she always tells us is "I know the Lord will bless me if I give everything up to follow Him." She knows that even though things are hard right now, it's all going to be worth it in the end. And the reason that she has that faith, and that strength to press on is because she does these basic things and daily strengthens her foundation.
I know sometimes it's hard and these things seem tedious or boring, but it really is through small and simple means that the Lord brings about great miracles. I hope we can all revert back to basics so when the rains and the floods come, we'll be firmly anchored on the rock of Christ!