“Even now, we’re still kind of dazed,” is how Elder Adney Yoshio Komatsu (pronounced Koh-MAWT-sue) and his wife, Judy, described their feelings after Elder Komatsu was sustained and set apart as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve.
When President Kimball issued the call to Brother Komatsu, they were speechless. “I said yes, of course,” said Elder Komatsu. “There was no question about serving.”
Honoring the confidentiality of the calling, they waited until Friday night to call their children—sons Jay (23) and Grant (21) in San Francisco, and daughters Jan (19) and Jill (18) at home in Honolulu. “They were speechless too,” said Sister Komatsu.
“We went back to our hotel room and just looked at each other,” said Elder Komatsu. Sister Komatsu wept; they prayed together, and thus pledged themselves to this calling, the most recent in a long history of “surprises.”
For instance, they were married in the Hawaii Temple on Friday, June 2, 1950. That Saturday they gave a private party for their families, all nonmembers. Elder Komatsu, who shares with Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., the distinction of being a convert General Authority, baptized his wife. Wanting her to gain her own testimony of the Church, Elder Komatsu had never attended her branch. They went to their own Sunday School, then went to his branch for sacrament meeting. That first Sunday after their marriage, they went to her branch for sacrament meeting for the first time. “We kind of sneaked onto the back row,” he said—and heard the branch members called to sustain him as branch president. He walked up to the stand, leaving his wife in the audience. Monday, the day they had planned to begin their honeymoon, he met with his counselors and the branch clerk—“and no complaints from my wife,” he said. “What a trouper!”
He was 27 years old then. Eleven years later, President Hugh B. Brown interviewed him and asked him if he would serve as bishop.
“Will your wife sustain you?” President Brown asked, knowing that Brother Komatsu would have no time to talk to her before the meeting.
“You don’t have to worry about that,” Brother Komatsu assured him.
At the time of his call, Brother Komatsu was the first bishop of Japanese descent in the Church. Since then he has served as president of the Northern Far East Mission, the first time a man of Oriental descent had been called as mission president. He would again be first from his national background to serve as a Regional Representative and to become a General Authority.
Through all these changes, increased responsibilities, and challenges, “our children have been wonderful,” they say. Sometimes between Sister Komatsu’s work on the Relief Society general board (she was released last October after 3 1/2 years of service) and his Regional Representative assignments, the children would be left alone. “It’s pressure for them,” she said, “but we’ve never had to worry about them.”
She praises her husband’s leadership in the home. “He’s very patient and very kind and very generous, and he’s always supported me 100 percent in my callings.”
They feel that if “the Lord’s callings come first and if we serve wholeheartedly, everything falls into place.”
Among their immediate plans is studying Japanese. Born of Japanese parents in Hawaii, they learned “rough” Japanese. Elder Komatsu laughs, “I’m never so embarrassed as when I’m trying to express myself in Japanese. I communicate, but now it has to be right. Now I represent the Church.”