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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ONE MIRACLE AT A TIME

Elder Makasini, a young Tongan American, sat stunned in his seat.  Who would have thought he would ever have the chance to keep his promise to Elder Hamala?

Months before, when Elder Makasini first received his mission call to leave his home in California and travel to Tonga to preach the gospel, one of the full-time missionaries in his ward had pulled him aside.  Elder Hamala, who had grown up in Tonga and was serving his own mission in California, told him very earnestly, “I need you to make me a promise.

“Promise me that if you ever get to Maufanga, and you find my mother, you will bear your testimony to her,” he requested.  “She’s a devoted Catholic, but she’ll listen to you, and maybe your testimony will touch her heart.”

Elder Makasini promised he would do that.  But time went by and Elder Makasini served in other villages in Tonga, and forgot his agreement with Elder Hamala.  Then one day he went on a companion exchange with another missionary, and a couple of ward leaders each took a young full-time missionary to visit the homes of less-active and part-member families.  Elder Makasini found himself in the home of a widow.  “My Tongan is still not very good,” Elder Makasini admits.  “But about 15 minutes into the conversation, I realized that this woman’s name was Hamala, and that she had a son who was a member of the Church.” 

Elder Makasini turned to Mrs. Hamala, and asked, “Is your son serving a mission right now?  In California?”  Both answers were yes.  “I know your son.  And he asked me to bear my testimony to you if I ever met you.  Would you allow me to do that?”  Again, the answer was yes, as a mother who missed her own son dearly listened to the words of a stranger, explaining to her why her own son left her for two years, why Elder Makasini had left his own family in California to come to Tonga, and the importance of the message he brought to her.  

Reflecting on the experience, Elder Makasini shares, “I knew the Spirit was strong that night.  I felt it, and I hoped that she felt it.  I bore my testimony, we all wept, and that was the end of the visit.”

Fast forward about 5 months.  Elder Makasini now serves in an area that includes the Nuku’alofa Temple, and was walking along the sidewalk across the street from the temple one day when he heard a voice call out, “Makasini!  Makasini!”  The voice belonged to Elder Hamala. They ran to each other and embraced.

“Hey, I didn’t know you were home!”
“Just got home a couple of weeks ago.  How’s your Tongan?”
“Oh, bad, really bad.  But I keep trying.”
“That’s good.  You’ll get it.  Keep trying.”
“Hey, I found your mom a few months ago, and bore my testimony to her.”
“I know.”
“Really? What, did she tell you about it?”
“That and more.”
“Well, tell me about her.  Where is she now?”

Elder Hamala pointed his thumb over his shoulder at the temple.  “She’s in there, doing some baptisms for the dead.  She was baptized months ago.”

Elder Makasini and Hamala embraced once more, this time out of sheer gratitude for the power of the Holy Ghost, which had carried Elder Makasini’s words to the heart of Elder Hamala’s mother.  She in turn recognized the power of that witness, and acted upon it.  One miracle at a time, the Lord’s work continues here in Tonga.


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