"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

November 19, 2012

"Special Conference"

My dad is the stake president for the Tongan stake in Provo, the Utah Wasatch South Tongan Stake.  They have stake temple night every single Tuesday.....and their attendance is amazing.  Every single Tuesday they fill up a whole session, sometimes two.  My dad's stake are very temple going people!

About 3 weeks ago, on a Tuesday night, my dad had just finished the session with his stake and he was getting ready to leave.  As he opened the door to his truck, his phone was ringing. 

Dad:  Hello
Woman:  Hi, is this President Makai?
Dad:  Yes, this is President Makai.  How can I help you?
Woman:  My name is Stephanie and I'm Elder Holland's secretary....he was wondering if you had a few minutes to talk to him right now?
Dad:  Of course I have time for Elder Holland!

She transfers the phone...

Elder Holland:  Hello President Makai, how are you?
Dad: I'm doing really good, how are you?  What can I help you with?
Elder Holland: I'm just calling because I noticed your stake conference is coming up in January, but I would like to come and have a special stake conference with you and your stake on November 18th.  Would that be ok?
Dad:  Of course it will be ok.  What a blessing.
Elder Holland: I will come with a general authority....please make sure all your stake is in attendance.  I will be in contact with you.
Dad:  Yes, I will.  Thank you so much Elder Holland.  What a blessing.

My dad called all of us right away to tell us about the phone call he just got.  He was so overwhelmed and humbled and crying that an apostle of the Lord called his cell phone.

Of course we were all wondering what that meant.  It's not too often that you hear an apostle calls a 'special conference' with a stake.  We were speculating and making our own guesses about why.  Was their stake going to be split?  Was my Dad going to be released?  Was he going to get another calling?  Maybe a 70's?  My dad has always wanted to go on a mission.  He's a convert to the church and never got the chance to go when he was younger...and he's been counting down the time that him and my mom will be able to go serve a mission.  He was hoping they would come and release him and call him to be a mission president or something.  LOL.  Wishful thinking.

The truth was that none of us had any idea what the 'special conference' was for.  Nobody knew what, if anything was going to happen.  All my dad knew was that he had 3 weeks to organize a whole stake conference, and that was not very much time!

I think we all had anxiety in the days leading up to the conference.  Just trying to guess and wonder what was going to happen.  We kept calling my dad and asking if he knew anything and he would just always say no.  We all just had to be patient and wait.

November 18th came and it was such a beautiful, spiritual conference.  My dad has 3000 members in his stake, and over 2800 were in attendance.  That was amazing!  Elder Holland brought Elder Worthen from the 70's with him and they both gave such great messages.  It was definitely a fill-your-cup conference with such a strong spirit.

The stake got all the senior citizens together to form a choir and it was perfect.  My dad was the first speaker.  He shared with us his testimony and shared with us a story about a man in his stake that lost his job and had been looking, unsuccessfully to find another job.  As the man went back to the basics and did what he knew he needed to be doing, the Lord put someone in his path that helped him get a job.  The same goes for us.  If we are faithful and righteous and we do the things we're supposed to do, our prayers will be answered and we will be blessed!

They called a few people from the audience to come up and bear their testimonies, and then Elder Worthen's wife bore hers.  Elder Worthen was next.  He gave a very powerful talk about an experience he had a few years ago.  He travels and gives motivational speeches and one of the places that he traveled to a few years ago was Gunnisen, Utah.  If you're from Utah, you know that Gunnisen is where the prison is...he was giving a motivational speech in the prison there.  He talked about the experience he had there.  He knew going in there that he was just there for a short time and then he'd get to leave and go home, and all the men that were there wouldn't be able to leave....not that day, some not for years, and some would never leave.  He talked about one certain prisioner who didn't want to have anything to do with the church when he first got there.  He was a piano player, and he played for their church meetings they held in the prison.  He didn't want to have anything to do with prayer or the gospel part of it, he just liked to play the piano.....and so everyday before he would go in to play the piano, he would wait outside so he didn't have to hear the prayer.  That's how it started out when he first got locked up, but slowly he started going in for the prayer, then he started listening to the talks and allowing himself to feel the spirit.  He's now been in prison for several years and he is the one that prays, and he has gained a testimony.  It's never too late to turn to God.  That was the message of Elder Worthen's speech.....even if you're at your deepest and darkest, you can always find God.

Elder Holland was the final speaker.  He is one of my most favorite Apostles to listen to.  He stood up and told us how much he loved us, and how happy he was to be there with us.  He thanked the choir and the previous speakers, then he said "you probably are wondering why I called this special conference, aren't you?" He told us that all the apostles would like to be able to visit and meet with every single stake....but they did the calcualtions and it would take them 29 years to get to all of them, and that's it we stay how we are right now and there is no more growth.  With the way the church has been growing and progressing, and the number of people joining, the 12 of them would never be able to do it.  Instead, they are visiting several stakes at once.  He had a priesthood training meeting on Saturday and he met with 18 stakes in Provo.  Other apostles are doing the same thing in other parts of the world.  Then, they get to choose one stake out of the stakes they met with on Saturday, to have a special conference on Sunday.  My dad's stake were the lucky chosen ones.  :)

He counseled us to be more faithful and told us that he even questions himself and his faithfulness sometimes, asking himself if he's doing all he can and should be.  He talked a lot about when Christ came to the Americas...that's one of his favorite stories from the BofM.  Can you imagine having the Savior come and stand before you?  Can you imagine being able to feel his spirit and his love?  Can you imagine being able to see and touch the marks on his hands and feet?  Can you imagine being taught by him?  I think about that a lot, how blessed those people were to have been able to experience that.  Elder Holland told us that the time is close.  He doesn't know why we are the chosen generation, but we are.....he doesn't know if it will be us or our children or our children's children....but it will happen in our time, when Christ will come again.  My mind almost can't fathom the thought of that.  We, or our children or grandchildren will get to have the same experience that the people of the BofM had.  How blessed are we!  Evertime that He has come in the past,  it's always been to give us his church or teach us what he wants us to learn....this time when he comes, it will be different....this time, we will be giving his church back to him and he will see what we've done with it.  That was really powerful to me.  Made me wonder about myself.....am I doing all I should be?  It's so easy to sin now days, and the sad thing is that it's totally socially accepted.  It's almost to the point where if you live and walk the straight and narrow, you're the outcast.  Signs of the times.  He asked us to stay faithful and to live the gospel.  He told the husbands to honor their wives and their kids.  He told us to stop the abuse, towards each other and especially towards the children.  He emphasized to the men to respect and honor the women in their lives.  Even though the woman don't hold the priesthood, they are the ones who keep the church strong.  He is where he is at today because of his mom and grandma.  His dad wasn't even a member of the church....his mom took him to church faithfully when he was younger and look where he's at now.  He told us how grateful he is for the faith of women and how grateful he is to his Grandma for converting to the church and for teaching his mom, and for his mom for teaching him.  Very powerful talk!

Before he ended his talk, he left us all with an apostalic blessing.  I don't think there was a dry eye in that building as he was blessing us.  He said he wishes he had time to walk around and lay his hands on every head in that building, but time just didn't permit.....but he told us as he blessed us that it was as if he were laying his hands on each of our heads individually and he blessed us with the things that we've been praying for, the things we need.  Then he paused and he said he doesn't only bless those that were in attendance, but he extends his blessing to all those people that weren't there that we have been praying for.  That meant so much to me.  Ova wasn't able to go with me to the conference because he was in too much pain....baby Katea stayed home with him because I didn't want to take her around too many people.  My heart hurts and I pray everyday, all day for them.  I pray for Ova to be out of pain and for us to be able to find out what's wrong with him.  I pray for baby Katea's little lungs.  Elder Holland blessed them directly, even though they weren't there.  What a blessing for us to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord.  What a blessing!

After the conference was over, we (the stake presidency's family) got to go upstairs to meet Elder Holland and Elder Worthen.  That was amazing.  The spirit that he carries with him and the love he has is so strong, you can feel it.  He hugged our little kids and shook our hands.  What a blessed day!  I left there with my cup completely full, and overflowing.  I left there with my testimony strengthened and my hopes high that my prayers for my husband and baby girl would be answered.  I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to be there and to be part of that wonderful 'special conference' for my Dad's stake.  I am blessed!

My dad and Elder Holland

Our whole family.....
Missing Ova, Katea, Tani, Lika & baby Cindy :)


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