Saturday, April 26, 2014

Week 46--Resurrection for my Homies!

There was no exciting stories this week. Just the usual in terms of missionary work, which is good considering it was Easter, and I would rather have it be a calm Easter. In terms of actual Easter, it may have been one of my favorites so far. I know I have only been on this planet for 20 years, but it definitely made it into my top 20! Just kidding, it was my number one.  I did the usual things that I do at home, like eat buckets of candy until my pants don't fit, have the classic "peep wars" in the microwave, and dye my Easter eggs, but this Easter there was something more on my mind. This was the first Easter that I really, truly comprehended what Christ has done for me in this life.

Sunday morning started as hectic as any missionary Sunday starts, but things started going downhill when my companion stood up in sacrament meeting and whispered "I have to go throw up." Apparently, he ate one of the eggs we had dyed that morning, and I don't know if it were because I bought the cheapest eggs at the store, or because I had left the egg out for a while during the dying process, but the egg came up as quickly as it went down. Then, as we went back, we were sitting by the door and we heard a couple out in the parking lot using choice words while yelling at each other. Talk about spirit killer. After that, a giant black bee, about the size of a silver dollar, flew into the chapel and I was just thinking to myself, "great". But it started to get better when we were talking about eternal families in Gospel principles and we watched this power-packed movie:

I then realized literally HOW much the Savior has done for me. Because of him, my family will conquer death, and I will live with them again. Nothing brings me more joy than that simple statement.

Dinner that night was with our favorite family, the Pattons. The husband is a nonmember, and they don't have much money so they live in humble circumstances. But we watched The Testament with them, and I felt that if there were anywhere I  would want to be on Easter, it was with this family. She gives so much to the missionaries, even though they don't have much.

Other than a wonderful Easter, we had a good time seeing the "blood moon" during the lunar eclipse, eating a lot of breakfast for dinner, and hanging out with my good friend David (reference to last email).  Things were just the usual here. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy belated Easter everyone! Hope you all enjoyed the eggs and chocolate, because I sure did. 



1) blood moon
2) wedding tie and family tree

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week 45--Hulk Hogan and The King

Happy Easter week!

I hope that the big bunny will bring everyone some goodies and won't scare too many children. I never understood Easter.
Jesus Christ Death/Resurrection=Giant Bunny + Hardboiled eggs
That's okay, I don't have to question, just enjoy. But that being said, it's important to look past all the vibrant colors and investigate the real meaning of Easter. And that is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. No single event has shaped or will shape the history of all mankind quite like the suffering, death, and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ. I will always be grateful for that great sacrifice, yet I still struggle to comprehend the magnitude of such a sacrifice. The Atonement can be incredibly deep, and it's easy to find yourself lost in such depths, but
I think when we take a step back, and study the overall meaning of the Atonement, the simpleness is where you will find the peace. I remember in the MTC when I first gained a testimony of Jesus Christ. It stemmed from the scripture in Alma 7:11-13, which reads:
"And he shall go forth suffering pains and affliction and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon them death, that he might loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon them their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

I love that scripture because it gives me hope. Hope that even though there may be no other person on the face of this Earth who knows exactly what I am going through, at any given time, there is one person who does, and that is the Savior and Reedemer of the world. He's been through it all. Every heartbreak, every pain we've ever experienced, everytime we've felt hopeless and utterly alone, he's been there, and he wants to help us. I love Jesus!
This week was not quite as exciting as last week, but still good nonetheless! The other missionaries had a baptism in the my ward and it was of this wonderful lady named Malia. She is married to this big Maori guy from New Zeleand, who hasn't been to church for a while. She had been taking the lessons for 16 years, and never wanted to be baptized, and then she came to church one Sunday by herself and looked at us and said, "I'm ready. I want to be baptized." So we had that baptism last week, and the spirit was super strong. A lot of her family came out from all across Hawaii and all across the world. There was a family from Australia who live "way out in the bush" and they are six hours away from the nearest ward, and they are the only members who live in their town, so they are allowed to hold sacrament meeting in their house. Pretty neat, huh?
One week, this mentally handicaped kid named David showed up to church. He told us he use to come there as a little boy and loved it, so he came back to church. There are three wards that meet every Sunday and he goes to all three every Sunday. He's super funny and always quotes Hulk Hogan in the chapel after Sacrament meeting. Whenever we see him he looks at us and says, "You betta not mess with the king" and does a little leg jive just like Elvis Presley. Well we always teach him lessons, which usually result in an arm wrestling contest or him quoting Dog the Bounty Hunter, and Davi
d came to Darryl's baptism. He was so insipired by all of it, that he went up to our bishop and asked him if he was allowed to be baptized! Our Bishop said yes! So this week he went up and bore his testimony, (all by himself) and said "Aloha my brothers and sister. I just wanted to say I know this church is true. I use to come here as a little boy. I know this church is true. There is some of you still here, and you guys are amazing. And I just want to say this church is true. Aloha. Thanks." And he sat down. It was pretty cool! I'm not sure if he thinks the church is true or not yet, I will let you know. But he is the greatest, every week showing up in a different suit that he got from Goodwill that week. We watch the resotoration DVD with him and after he was like, "Oh yeah, I love that movie. I watch it all the time!" I can't wait for his baptism.
Well in other news, my last ward mission leader named their baby after me. Bennett Hwang, really rolls off the tounge! Love you all and have a good Easter!

Elder "Hippity Hoppity" Gleave

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week 44--Quiet Heroes

Hi family,

So this last week has been one for the record books. It's caused me to reflect a lot on the person I am, and who I want to become. It's been a rollercoaster ride of emotion, as well as a testimony builder. In fact, I feel as if this last week was something straight out of a movie. There was a lot of things that happened, like interviews with the president, watching F-22s take off, cleaning Pearl Harbor, playing pool while watching conference, and going to the temple, but one story of them all takes the cake. In fact, and I may be a little biased on this, it may be one of the greatest missionary stories ever told. And it all revolves around one man. His name is Darryl.

Often times, there are people in your life that have a greater impact then one might ever  comprehend. They come into your life, and leave a deep everlasting imprint on your soul that shapes the very fiber of your personal character. And often times these people are ones that are of no special relevance to the outside world. There may be a handful of people in your life like this, and I like to call them quiet heroes. Darryl is one of those.

For those of you just tuning in, or have been spotty on keeping track of my hectic life, let me establish the foundation of one of the best weekends of my mission, and maybe even my life. My companion and I met Darryl roughly 2 months ago. It was when my companion and I were brand new in the area, both of us, and we were as lost as a freshman on their first day of high school. We were walking down the street, discussing why we both decided to embark on this mission thing, when a local guy in his early 30's stopped us. I had seen him following us for a little bit, and he turns to us and asks, "Why did you two decided to come out on this mission thing?" His next question was as follows, "How does one go about joining your church?" In our minds, we were ecstatic! We walk with him, end up teaching him half the plan of salvation, and then the next day we finish teaching him the plan of salvation. This guy was perfect. Almost too perfect. We were a little skeptical to say the least. He either had perfect memory, or he was a less-active member messing with us. For example, we mentioned the name "Uchtdorf" at the beginning of the lesson, then a few hours later he brought up the name again. He also knew we could only call home twice a year, baptism is where you make covenants, and other weird things like that, but he claimed he only remembered talking to missionaries once for 15 minutes, and he'd had never been to church. We were a little wary. But we kept our faith up and trusted him that he was telling the truth, banking on the fact that time would tell. Well, the next day was Sunday, our first Sunday in the ward, and low and behold Darryl comes walking in. That Sunday, he stayed all three hours, and every talk, every lesson, every conversation he had was all directly correlated with the lesson we taught him. In fact, one of the scriptures we shared in our lesson the day before, was used in the Sunday school lesson. I presumed this was the spirit confirming to me that Darryl was legit. Over the next week, we met with Darryl every single day. A former stake president by the name of President Thiim helped fellowship with Darryl. It's hard to describe just how amazing those meetings were with those two, but just keep in mind I left every time with a Spiritual overload. In fact, it's safe to say those were some of the most spiritual lessons I've had as a missionary. Over the next few weeks, a number of miracles happened that will forever remain sacred in my heart. Some of which include Darryl telling us that he was an alcoholic for 10 years before he met us; him walking to church 2.3 miles to receive the Holy Ghost and a white bird landing on his shoulder (so I will let you be interpret that one. I’m not implying anything.), and a number of other things that made me believe that this was all happening for a reason. We were so happy. We felt as if our cups were running over. We felt happier than a fat kid in a Twinkie Factory. But this is when the whole thing starts to get weird.

            We wanted Darryl to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, but we first had to wait for his records from SLC. Well, we sent the records in, and usually they are sent to the ward clerk the very next day. But when we asked the bishop that Sunday, no records. The next week, nothing. Three weeks, STILL nothing. Now we were starting to get concerned. So we called the lady who works as the mission record creator, and she told us that, “I couldn’t make Darryl’s record because it says that "There is already a convert under the same name and birthday.’” So basically, unless there was another Darryl who was born on the same day walking around Hawaii, Darryl was baptized before. Shocked, confused, devastated, we started brain storming ideas on how this could have happened. Maybe he was baptized when he was 9 years old and doesn’t remember. Maybe he was drunk the whole time and can’t remember. Maybe he was just messing with us, and is a less active member trying to spite the Church. My mind was literally boggled. A few hours later we found out that the alleged “Darryl” was baptized in the Makaha Ward (where Darryl lived less than a year before he moved to Ewa Beach) in February 2011. He was baptized less than three years ago! How could he NOT remember?! I was furious. I assumed the worst. I was absolutely sure he knew, and he just wanted to make us angry. All the things we went through. All the prayers and fasting were wasted. I imagined telling the ward members, my family, all those who I bragged to about Darryl, that he was a phony. That it was all a hoax. That all those miracles weren’t real. After talking to some very helpful people, I calmed down and realized that I better not jump to conclusions. And the fact of the matter was that regardless of what happened, I still loved Darryl and cared for him. And regardless of what happened, the ultimate reason why he did this was he wanted to be forgiven. And who could be mad at that? We all want to be forgiven. At the time, my companion and I were in no state to talk to Darryl, so two of our fellow missionaries went to go talk to him. They came back telling us that he has absolutely no idea what they were talking about, and that they believed he sincerely had no idea what they were talking about. So we paid him a visit ourselves. At this point, we weren’t mad at all, just incredibly confused. So we went to go visit him, and we asked him about it, and with all truthfulness he told us that if he were baptized, he had no memory of it every happening. We could tell he was telling the truth. At this point we knew that he wasn’t messing with us, and that his baptism wasn’t a hoax, but that still left a lot of loose ends.

(Please take a water break/bathroom break before it starts getting crazy)

Alright we’re back. So my companion and I decided to do some investigation of our own. We call the missionaries in the Makaha Ward, and they were like, “Oh yeah. We know Darryl. He definitely got baptized.” And we called the bishop of the Makaha Ward, and he told us that Darryl got baptized in the Makakilo Ward, and was shortly transferred into his ward. He then called us a few minutes later and talked to the Ward Mission Leader in Makakilo Ward, who said that he physically baptized Darryl and has pictures. So now we know for a FACT that it was Darryl and he got baptized. So the next day we had a meeting with Darryl, and we were going to tell him what we found out. Our meeting was scheduled for 10:30, but he calls us around 10:00 and was like, “Hey guys. I had a super spiritual experience last night and I can’t wait to tell you! I wish I could tell you right now, but I know you’re walking so I guess I will see you at 10:30.” And he hangs up the phone. My companion looks at me and we just kinda shake our head, not knowing what to expect. When we show up, Darryl is all smiles. He looks at us and declares, “Let’s start with a prayer. Elder Gleave, will you say it?” And after the prayer, he dives into his story. I will do my best to give his story justice, but it’s no replica for what actually happened. Anyway, his story went a little something like this:

“Last night I was really bugged by the fact that I couldn’t remember why I was baptized. So I called around to all my Aunties and friends in Makakilo and this what I’ve put together. Now remember all of this is what I’ve been told, but I know the people who told me and they are telling the truth. I did in fact get baptized. In October of 2010, I had a friend named Dirk who had two little girls. Dirk asked me to move in with him so I could help watch his daughters while he was at work. One day, while I was watching the girls, two missionaries knocked on my door and taught me about the gospel. A few months later, I moved to Makaha, but still took lessons, but this time by Sister Missionaries. So in February of 2011, I was baptized by this guy, Brother Franco, because the Sister Missionaries couldn’t baptize me. The next day I was confirmed and given the Aaronic Priesthood, Apparently, during all of this, Dirk say the change in my life and wanted to follow the same path, so shortly after my baptism, I baptized Dirk and his three little kids. In fact, I guess I was a pretty great person. I guess I took a lot of my family to church. One time, the missionaries took me to a guy who was contemplating suicide, and I don’t know what I said, but I talked him out of it and three weeks later I baptized him. (So the whole time I am just wonder how he doesn’t remember this!!) And this is when it gets really interesting. I guess at the same time I was also engaged to a Mormon girl from Laie. (Darryl is single right now)”.   This is when Darryl began to cry. It was apparent he was filled with frustration and pain as tears streamed his face, “I was engaged to this girl and I don’t even remember. But apparently one day we were doing service by the harbor in Waianea, feeding the homeless. The first time we fed them, we ran out of food, so I ran back home and grabbed more. We still ran out. So I ran back home and grabbed more, and ran out again. This time the homeless people were angry that I ran out, and five guys came and jumped me. I guess they beat me to the point to where I was sent to the hospital. It was so bad that I lost of all of my memory. It was too much for my fiancĂ© to handle. She couldn’t take seeing me like that, so she broke up with me. Apparently that was so traumatic for me, that my brain forced out EVERYTHING that had to do with the church and the last 5 years. I remember none of it.” So everything made sense. Finally. Darryl had a mixture of happiness as well as frustration. Happy he had answers, frustrated he couldn’t remember. I can’t even imagine what it would be like, to know that 5 years of your life was gone. He took it in good spirits though, saying “Man those homeless guys musta been pretty angry to fight me for not having food!” It was just nice to get answers.

A cool thing about the story is that we talked to the Makaha missionaries, and Darryl went almost through the same exact process of conversion with us, as he did in Makaha. Even to the point of all the lessons in the same order and relapsing drinking right before his mission. Now this could be Gleave doctrine, but I firmly believe that Darryl was baptized again, even though he was a member, because Heavenly Father wanted him to remember his baptism for the rest of his life. There’s some many lessons to learn from this story, but I think the thing to take away is how much Heavenly Father is aware of each and every situation we are in. He knows us, and he main desire is to help us come closer to him and happiness. I’m excited to see what Heavenly Father has in store for Darryl, because it’s pretty obvious that he needs him in his church. I’m sure he’s up there chuckling, saying, “You can’t get away that easy Darryl.” Think what you will, but I would say this is a miracle and nothing less. ALSO, Darryl told us the reason why the name “Uchtdorf” stuck with him, is because old Darryl had the opportunity to sit down and have an actual conversation with President Uchtdorf. I wish I knew what they talked about, but pretty amazing regardless. Darryl will forever be a quiet hero.

It’s safe to say that it was a rollercoaster of a weekend, filled with anger, crying, laughing, forgiveness, and love. One that I may never forget in this life or the next. But besides that, last week was pretty normal. Stay tuned to find out what happens this week!

Elder Gleave

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week 43: Love @ Home

Story of the week: 

So my companion and I were cruising in our apartment, doing a little comp study, and that's when crap hit the fan. We live on the second floor of a small complex, and share a balcony with another apartment. It's a couple that is probably in their mid-thirties with a small son. We were sitting there, reviewing the plans for the day, when suddenly we hear some yelling coming from the next room. And not just like someone ate the last bit of chocolate cake yelling, but I mean full blown-we-gotta-hit-the-deck yelling. It's pretty hard to teach each other about the gospel when we are hearing F this and F that and F you. I look at my companion and both of our eyes are the size of eggs. It was like something straight off of that "cops" show. The wife was just laying into the poor son of a gun. I don't know what it was he did, but I can tell you she was mad. He's a pretty local boy, but she kept calling him a "Haole boy" as some sort of diss. I'm not sure why that is an insult, but that made things a little bit more awkward for me and my haole companion. I looked at him, and we both were kinda in shock. "Should we call the cops?" "No. Not until punches are thrown." So we have a window next to our fridge that looks in right infront of their door. And we heard a huge crash, and so we run to the window and the wife and the husband are spilled out on the front porch PUNCHING EACH OTHER!!!! NOT GOOD NOT GOOD NOT GOOD. But she was stilling egging him on! She would say stuff like, "Come on big man. HIT ME HARDER!" And then he would punch her harder! Idiot... Then we went back inside, and we heard everything stop, and we were a little worried that she was dead. Then we heard coughing and heard her said, "Oh now you're choking me big man?!" So we left our apartment and called the cops. When we came back, they were all lovey dovey like nothing happened!!!! Oh my gosh. People these days. 

Anyway, this week was good. I was sick all week, but we still worked hard. We met a lot of new people! We have been teaching a family who hasn't been to church for a while, and the children go to a different church with their auntie. BUT, when we went over this week, the kids were super interested in what we had to said, and was asking a lot of questions, and the brother of the wife who isn't a member sat in, and the wife could totally feel the spirit. The wife told us that she might get a job that will allow her to go to church! So pray for that please. Actually. 

I have been thinking a lot about how easily it is for people to get offended. I think one of Satan's jobs is to take what people say and either 1. have someone take it the wrong way or 2. let things that people say fester until a relationship is ruined. That's why I love the Savior so much. He is the perfect example of forgiveness. I understand that people say things that aren't exactly friendly, and I understand that people aren't always nice to one another, but please forgive one another. This life is way too short to be mad at each other. It's not worth it! Well, I guess that's my two cents for the day. I love you all! 

We taught all the youth in the ward at a mission prep class. It was awesome. My companion and I acted like an investigator couple that we have, and I was the girl. Unfortunately, there was a less Active girl who was there, so stay tuned to see if she ever comes back to church. We keep in touch! 

Elder "Does he even have muscles?" Gleave