ALOHA MY OHANA!!!!!
As noted last week we had transfers and Elder Livaie left for the McCully Micronesian branch (the other Micronesian branch that we sort of share the island with) so he is still very close to home and we still run into each other every now and then which is fun! :) My new companion is Elder Teerlink and sure enough he is from good old Salt Lake City, Utah!!! The hub of it all!! :) haha! anyway, he is super cool and we've been having a lot of fun together as well as getting a TON of work done! In fact, I don't think I've been busier or more exhausted on my whole mission as I have recently!! It's awesome!!!! :D It's so great coming home at night and just feeling absolutely overwhelmed and exhausted and worn out from the work and knowing that you have to wake up the next morning early and it will all start over again!! It is truly a blessing to be so worn out and tired because that gives God the opportunity to really step in and "bear you up" just like he promises us He would do! Truly, He is always good to his promises! :)
So speaking on all of that hard work we've been doing recently, it has most definitely NOT been without success and miracles to follow!!! To put it as simple as possible, we currently have FOUR NEW CONVERT BAPTISMS set up for the month of February!! I wish I had sufficient time to tell you about all of them individually, but I don't. Thankfully none of them are QUITE as random or sudden as all of the other ones from last transfer were (although one was almost this week out of nowhere, but thankfully they pushed it back and gave us a little more time to teach the kids :P haha!) but they're all still unbaptized or investigator youth. It seems like the Children are all a lot more receptive to the lessons than the adults... which has its ups and downs. In some cases the child getting baptized has softened the hearts of the parents, at least to letting us come a teach them. But in other cases it has proved to be a problem because a lack of commitment and casualness about the gospel at home has proven so often to pass down from the parents to the recently converted and still fresh testimonies of their children. It is a little scary at times but I still am grateful for the people and especially for their humility as a whole and their willingness to submit to God's will. Commitment is a little tougher but I suppose we all struggle with that or things like it from time to time. Anyway, long story short, things are going GREAT for us here in the Waipahu 3rd branch!!
Likewise, things are going great and REALLY looking up for the whole Hawaii Honolulu mission after the recent training and counsel given to us by Elder Jeffery R. Holland!! He came in this last week for a Stake Conference in Kane'ohe and a few other meetings and even amid his very busy schedule still felt it important to fit in time to meet with a talk to all of us, the full-time missionaries of Hawaii! IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!! Truly, he is a servant of the most high God and a special witness for Christ the Lord! His spirit while teaching was just incredible as was his training and just everything about him!! After the initial fear was gone of having an Apostle shake your hand and look you in the eye and ask your name and where you were from (which he made sure to do with each and every one of us!) we were all relieved to hear that, based on the impressions he had after "personally interviewing each of [us]" (with nothing more than a brief two second hand shake and short exchange of pleasantries) that he felt that over all we were a great group of young missionaries with a lot of potential for good! I find it funny that they always seem to note our "potential" instead of saying that we're just fine where we are.... I guess an apostle would know better than anyone else that we missionaries, however great we may appear at times, still have a very VERY long way to go in our personal growth and spiritual maturity!!
Anyway, so he talked about a lot of stuff and a lot of really important things and I wish I had time to talk about it all in depth, but basically, the MAIN thing that he really stressed to us, was HOW IMPORTANT THE BOOK OF MORMON REALLY WAS AND REALLY STILL IS!!!!! It is the foundation to a testimony of this church and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ because IT IS THE ONLY BOOK WITH A FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!! True it is that all of the other scriptures are holy and should be studied and cherished with GREAT diligence and fervency, but the Book of Mormon was brought forth SPECIFICALLY and ESPECIALLY FOR OUR GENERATION! FOR US!!! IT WAS THE SIGN that the dispensation of the fullness of times was begun and the first sign that the Second coming of the Messiah was soon at hand! And while there is still much of great importance for us to study and to learn from in this life and in this church, that there is NOTHING which could be of greater importance, than to study from and to cherish and love, the Book of Mormon. I know that what he said was true... I may be paraphrasing a little bit and I really don't apologize for that because the overarching message is that the Book of Mormon has a LOT more significance than any of us may now realize and that we all have a lot more studying to do of its holy pages, and I know that is true! The Spirit has born witness of that to me countless times and did again as he spoke of its significance in his life and in the lives of millions of people all over the earth!!
We also got a super last minute assignment from our branch president to talk in sacrament meeting this last week on keeping the Sabbath-day holy, and so while I won't give you a whole overview of my talk, I felt it important to note that the Spirit has born witness to me countless times, but especially yesterday of how important that simple commandment truly is and how sacred and holy that day truly is! Anyway, I would encourage all of you to study it out for yourself more this week. (Elder Russel M. Nelson's talk The Sabbath Is a Delight would be a great place to start for anyone who is interested in taking on that challenge to study the Sabbath this week.)
Well, I've once again run a little over my allotted time... I guess it was a tender mercy in some ways that our dinner cancelled on us because it afforded me a couple of extra minutes here at the library to hopefully strengthen all of you as well as share with you my love for this glorious gospel and the resplendent truths and blessings that accompany it. I love you all and pray for you each and every day!! Kommol tata for all you do and all you are! Iakwe, Bar lo eok and ALOHA!!!!!