We had a baptism!!!!!
So a baptism's kind of a big deal, but for our ward, it's a huge deal. Like I said, we've had a baptism drought in Honoka'a for the past roughly eight months. We had our investigator Haunani that I talked about get baptized this week and it was awesome!
Pre-baptism miracle. So Hauanani was supposed to be baptized a few weeks ago, but postponed her baptism because she wanted her parents to be there, but they were staying in their house in Hana, Maui (a different island). We worked and worked with her, and she finally agreed that this was her day, and that the most important person to be there was her, because this day is all about her and her choice to follow Christ. So she agreed to be baptized, and move forward with it regardless of whether her parents would be able to be there or not. So we had everything all set for the baptism, and the day before she went to the next town over to do some shopping for white clothes. While she was there, she ran into her dad, who didn't even tell her he was coming to Big Island! He asked her if she wanted to come watch the super bowl with him, and she replied no, and that she was going to be at church. She also told him she had her baptism tomorrow and invited him to come. He accepted and said he'd love to be there to support his daughter. He showed up at the baptism and supported her through it all!
We've also been meeting with this guy Ted. He has such a profound love for Christ, one I haven't seen in a lot of members, but he tells us he's looking for the truth and can't seem to recognize when it's right in front of him. He keeps going to all these different churches, but seems timid about giving ours a try. We invited him to Haunani's baptism and he said he'd love to be there to support anyone who's taking a step to bring them closer to Christ. He showed up and had the best experience. He called us after and told us that he thinks he's finally found what he's been looking for! He loved how Christ-centered, loving, and caring the members were. He told us he felt the Holy Spirit witness to him that this is the place he needed to be going. And on top of that we introduced him to Haunani after, who was glowing, and they just talked briefly, but she ended up telling him "hopefully you'll be able to get baptized soon too!" And he agreed.
Everything went perfect and Haunani couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day. After the ordinance of the baptism, she gave her testimony to everyone there. She was so full of the spirit and showed and told everyone how much she loves and respects Christ. It was great for her dad and Ted to see how much happiness and fulfillment the gospel has brought to her life. The spirit was crazy strong. And I love how in Hawaii they give leis after big events. She had leis up to her eyes and I don't know how to describe it other than she was just so happy.
She told us that after the baptism was over and everything was cleaned up, she got home at around. She fed her dogs, and then went right to sleep because she wanted it to be already so she could get the Holy Ghost! Her excitement about the gospel is just what our ward needs, and she's already begun to make a difference and boost people up! After I gave her the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting she was crying, and again just so happy.
I love this work and seeing the change it brings about in people. I, along with Haunani, know the blessings that come from this gospel and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the chance I have to be a part of it.
Ij iakwe kom!
-Elder Sammy Merrill