There is VERY exciting news of what happened for us over here in Kane'ohe this week. Actually I should say what happened in La'ie this week! It was awesome!!!! :) I wanted to build more suspense before jumping right into the "big news", but I just can't hold it back, I am so excited about this!!! :) So, approximately one year ago I was serving over on the island of Kaua'i in Kekaha and while I was there we worked a lot with one of the recent converts in the ward. He was making a ton of progress in the ward and in the gospel! He was always at church, actively participated in the gospel principles lesson, took a very vocal part in our Thursday night Book of Mormon study class and even got to the point where they extended him the calling of Ward Mission Leader, the calling he still holds and still magnifies beyond belief!
Anyway, so yeah, long story short he is a GREAT guy and REALLY solid convert! So, this last week marked his one year anniversary of being an official member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as such he got the special opportunity to go to the temple and get his endowments and be sealed to his wife and we got to go with him! It was super exciting! It was me and my companion, Elder Luke (my companion from when I was on Kaua'i) and his current companion, Elder Gale (one of the elders who baptized him) and his current companion, and the family. But to top it all off and make it EXTRA exciting, Elder Gerber and his parents flew over to Hawaii for the week to be there for the session and sealing!!! He was also one of the missionaries that was there for Anthony's baptism over a year ago now. So yeah! It was a SUPER cool and a SUPER spiritual experience!!
Anyway, so that was the big news... honestly other than that I can't think of anything else major to report on, probably because everything else seems to pale in comparison to that! But I will try to make the rest of the week sound even half as cool! :) haha! So, while eventually we did have to make our way back to this side of the island, we would not be away from blessed La'ie for very long as we got invited to go with a part-member family to the Visitor’s center on Saturday! It went well and the family said they were really impressed with a lot of what they heard! So yeah! Progress there too! :)
Other kind of small news from this week. Bishop P asked me if I could sing a musical number at church for the youth and so of course I said I would love to, to which he replied "great! We’ll have a combined third hour block THIS SUNDAY!" haha! I was a little taken aback but was able to miraculously pull off a sort of impromptu musical number with two INCREDIBLY talented sisters in our ward who accompanied me on the piano and violin as I sang Rob Gardner's version of "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" it went pretty good and bishop said he'll probably have me sing it again in sacrament meeting sometime... so yeah, that will be fun! :)
We also had a couple of pretty good visits this past week including one where our bishop, following a prompting from the spirit said "elders do you mind if we stop by this recent convert family before we go home" (he was driving us back home after church) and of course we said ok and so we pull up and he goes in while we kind of hang out outside and talk to some of the kids, and he goes to talk with the father who, following the wife and kids baptisms, kind of just petered out and hadn't come to church for quite a few weeks. Anyway, really long story short, Bishop was incredible and sincere and loving as always and talked with the father and left with a firm commitment from him to start coming to church and working through some other personal problems so that one year from now he can ordain his son to the office of a teacher and hopefully take his family to the temple!! So yeah! SUPER cool to see how in-tune with the spirit he is and how powerful the priesthood keys that he has can be! Bishop is such an awesome man!! :)
Oh! So one more kind of funny story from this past week that shows I still have a LOT to learn out here on the mission and that even missionaries need to be taught things sometimes! So we were going around just kind of greeting people at church and talking story and just sort of waiting for sacrament meeting to start, and so I go up to greet this older gentleman in our ward who always sits right up front in the first row on the far right, every single week! He is always there with his wife and just kind of sits there silently with a sort of smile and happy look on his face. He's about 90+ years old and can't see well at all and so as I go up to greet him and say hi he says "Is this Elder Kirkham or Elder Powell" I told him "This is Elder Powell." to which he said "oh, well how are you doing today Elder Powell." and I replied that I was doing well and asked how we was and he said in effect the same answer and then, without really thinking about what I was saying I responded "well thank you for coming today Brother Andrus."
All of a sudden his face changed a bit, he got serious and looking towards my general direction with his foggy eyes said with a bit of humor, "Well, thank you, but I sure didn't come here for you. I came here to worship my God and partake of the holy Sacrament. Still I suppose you can treat me like an investigator if you would like too." and by this point he was sort of chuckling. It's a good thing his eyes weren't too good because he would have probably started laughing out loud if he saw my face. I felt... well... I felt silly that's for sure! Haha! I mean, here I am greeting people as if it is some sort of social club and in one sentence he flips me straight, reminds me of the purpose of Sabbath-day services and sends me on my way! :P haha! Never underestimate the wisdom of those older than you! And DEFINITELY never underestimate their wit either! haha!
Anyway, I hope that you all had a great Sabbath-day yesterday and that you are having a wonderful memorial day today as well. I hope we can all find ways to make the Sabbath more meaningful for each of us and that we will also all find ways to go to the temple more frequently in the coming weeks and months! I know I'm super excited to go to the new Phoenix temple someday as well as plenty of others all over the world! What a blessing it is to live in a day and age where they are so accessible!! :) Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! Be sure to send all of my love and aloha to everyone back home as well as the rest of the family in general! Mahalo nui for all the gifts and wishes again on my behalf for my 21st birthday! It was a good one for sure! :) Mahalo and ALOOHHHAAA!!!