We had a pretty fun, exciting, and productive week here in the Honomu Branch! This past week there was King Kamehameha Day. (said like Ka-may-ha-may-ha, not said like when people go supersain in Dragon Ball Z) For those who don't know who he is, he's the guy that conquered all the Hawaiian islands and brought them under a unified rule. He's basically worshiped here because there were prophecies about him and the things he would do. Anyway, it was the __th anniversary of his birthday, so they had a big celebration with parades and all. Kind of similar to Alpine Days back home. But on Friday they had a big festival at this place called Coconut Island. Basically all these people set up tents on this island with crafts, jewelry, live Hawaiian music, etc. Some members had a spot for a genealogy booth so they invited the missionaries over and we took shifts at a commissary table talking to people that walked by at the festival! It went pretty well. We had the usual crazy people come and present the weirdest theories I've ever heard, but we also got to meet lots of cool people and give them a chance to hear about the gospel!
Another really cool thing that happened was a stake activity that they did for the young men. It's called Aaronic Priesthood camp and they had all these activities to help build faith and testimony. Like this one activity called the Atonement Walk, where they loaded these boys up with a bag full of water bottles then made them walk up a hill. They were told at the top that they couldn't enter with all the sins they were carrying, so they went to the bishop and he helped to relieve them of their burdens. Also they did an activity about holding onto the iron rod and resisting temptation. Unfortunately we didn't get to go, but the oldest of the three kids that will be baptized, Micah, was able to go! He had an amazing experience that truly converted him. On the way back the First Counselor in our branch asked two of the boys if they would share their testimonies in sacrament meeting the next day. Micah quickly chimed in, saying that he wanted to share his testimony too! He got up at church and shared what he knew to be true. He said that after that camp, he truly knows that this church is God's true church, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true! He was never the best at reading the scriptures before this, but he says he loves reading now and is going to continue reading every day! It couldn't have been more perfectly timed because it's right before their baptism. He even says he thinks he wants to go on a mission now! I'll forever be grateful to the young mens' leaders who put that camp together.
So a pretty great week. I'm loving it here and I'm not too excited to come home. It just feels like when I finally start to get the hang of missionary work they send me home. Oh well.
But hope you all have a great week. Love ya!
1. Our booth for King Kamehameha Day
2. Waterfall Road!
3. Big Island biker gangs
4. A legit road sign