Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 47 - And I'm Proud to Be a Hawaiierican

AloHA everyone!
I hope you all had a great 4th of July this week! The 4th here was pretty lame actually. I swear I've never seen less patriotism in my life. Everyone has Hawaiian flags raised and they'll support UH (University of Hawaii) no matter how bad their football team is, but when it comes to American patriotism there's not much there. The only fireworks shows were put on by the resorts and I could count the total number of American flags I saw on one hand. But as missionaries we still had a good time. All of the missionaries in our zone went to a park and grilled out. We cooked some hot dogs (cheapest meat, ballin' on a budget) jammed on the uke and played football and volleyball. Then we met up with another zone and watched a fireworks show one of the resorts was putting on. That's basically how you Hawaiianize a holiday. Just add the beach (which we can't go to) and you have the perfect 4th of Hawaii!
As for the work, all continues to move forward. We were teaching Johnny, Jibas, and Monalinda this week and Johnny's little sister Denise came and sat in on our lesson. We asked her if she wanted to study with us be baptized with Johnny, Jibas, and Monalinda and she said yes! So we recommitted all of them to baptism on the 17th, so that Denise can meet the church attendance requirement for baptism. So hoping and praying that we can have four baptized on the 17th!
Had a really cool experience at church yesterday. We went out into the parking lot and I saw this lady that I had ran into/taught back when I was in Honolulu. My companion and I were out contacting former investigators when we knocked on her door and asked if some person was home. She said no, and that she didn't know who that person was. We thanked her and turned to walk away, but she said "But I'm a Mormon, I just haven't been to church in a while". We asked if we could come in and found out she was baptized like 13 years ago, and hadn't really been to church since. We asked if she had any family we could teach and she told us she wanted her husband and kids to be taught and baptized. They all came to church the next sunday and we worked with her husband over the next few weeks and set him with a baptismal date! I got transferred to Big Island before I could see him get baptized, but talking to this lady yesterday she told me that her husband was baptized, as well as all but one of her kids (not old enough) and she also just gave birth and had her baby blessed in the church. They still go to church every sunday and they've invited some of their friends to start taking the missionary discussions too and they're working towards baptism now!
It was really cool, like an Aha moment to see how far her and her family have come, and also the effect that one person can have.
It reminds me of the story of Abinadi. He might have thought he was a failure because seemingly no one would hear his words and he was burned to death. But Alma did hear his words and wrote them down, then went about teaching people the words of Abinadi. Alma had his son Alma the Younger who, with the sons of Helaman, converted many of the Lamanites. And basically the rest of the Book of Mormon, all the converts, prophets, etc. all come from the effect of that one person. That's why it's so important to stay strong and be a good example to all, because you never know the effect you might have on someone, and who they in-turn might change.
Love you all. Mahalos for the prayers and support.
-Elder Merrill

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