To Japan with Aloha
More than 20 years ago, when Joe and Janice Ahuna of Kaneohe, Hawaii, were newlyweds, they dreamed of traveling to Japan to perform missionary work through music and dance. The country had been close to Joe’s heart since he had worked there as a young man and later served in the Japan Sapporo Mission.
That dream came true last summer when the Ahunas traveled with their six children to perform 18 variety shows and 3 Church firesides throughout the country—all without compensation. “We wanted to show the Church in action, how it can strengthen the family,” says Joe. “The gospel teaches us to have aloha, or love, for others. We based our theme on that idea.”
The family performed music and dances from Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, and Tahiti, as well as the Navajo 22-hoop dance. Performances were held in concert halls, stake centers, hospitals, orphanages, schools, a Buddhist shrine, and at Tokyo Disneyland. At the firesides the Ahunas shared their beliefs about the family and how the Church helps its members to be better parents, brothers, and sisters.
It was difficult not knowing Japanese, Janice says. However, “I learned that even without verbal communication, there is communication through the heart. The Spirit speaks stronger than words.”
Joe agrees. “While our show was not by any means a professional show, afterward people would tell us of the happy, warm feeling they felt and of their increased belief in families.”
Nineteen-year-old Joseph returned to Japan in October to serve in the Japan Tokyo North Mission—a call he received after the family had already made plans for their trip.
Area Authority in Brazil
Elder Eduardo Gavarret, Area Authority Seventy in the Brazil Area, has lived in five countries and says that in each location he and his family have found “comfort, friendship, and counsel.” Born on 11 May 1956 in Minas, a town of about 30,000 in Lavalleja, Uruguay, he has also lived in Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and now Brazil.
Elder Gavarret’s mother and two older sisters joined the Church in 1962. There were few other members in the Lavalleja area, and though his mother faced strong opposition from relatives and friends, she was committed to the gospel and served in a wide variety of Church callings. Two years later, at age eight, Elder Gavarret was baptized in the swimming pool of a rented house. “It was a cold, rainy day,” he says, “but I still remember that special moment with great joy.”
Elder Gavarret’s father, although not a member of the Church, has always been supportive of his family’s Church membership. After Elder Gavarret served in the Uruguay-Paraguay Mission, he started working under his father’s tutelage as a watchmaker.”
I recall one occasion when I received my first payment for repairing a watch. I asked my father, ‘What shall I do with this?’ and he said, ‘Well, pay your tithing.’”
It is Elder Gavarret’s work for a pharmaceutical company that has taken him, his wife, Norma, and their three children to various locations of the world. His family has learned many valuable lessons from their experiences in these countries—among them, the importance of relying on the Lord. “The Lord blesses us and makes us prosper as we exercise our faith in Him and as we obey Him,” he says. “I have seen His hand in our lives and in the lives of other people, helping us to improve ourselves. My testimony has been strengthened by obeying His commandments, and my life has been guided by Him.”
“I bring gospel principles into my management, and folks know I am LDS,” says Tom Carey, warden of the Tehachapi State Prison in Kern County, California. “For example, I don’t tolerate vulgar language from staff or inmates. And if a movie has graphic violence, sex, or language, we won’t show it.”
Brother Carey, appointed to his position in February 1998, is perhaps the first Latter-day Saint warden in California history. With approximately 6,000 inmates and 1,600 staff, Tehachapi is one of the largest prisons in California. In his capacity as warden, Brother Carey is the hiring authority for the institution and is a spokesman for the governor on prison-related issues. He also provides functional supervision of inmate medical care and is responsible for public safety.
Because he is on call 24 hours a day, Brother Carey and his wife, Tamsin, live in a home on the prison grounds. “It’s nice being close to work,” he says. The Careys’ five children and six grandchildren visit them often there.
“If my administration could leave a legacy based on only one principle, it would be that everyone is significant,” says Brother Carey. “Each one of us is known by the Savior, and we’re very significant to Him. If you believe that in your heart, then you treat people accordingly.”
Brother Carey serves as a teacher in the high priest quorum of the Mountain Park Ward, Bakersfield California East Stake
“Grandma” to Hundreds
Clista Holdaway of the Vineyard First Ward, Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake, loves children. For more than 20 years she served in the nursery, eventually watching over the children of those she cared for more than two decades before.
“Grandma Holdaway,” as she is known to many, has accepted and loved misbehaving children, crying children, even children who were initially frightened of her and refused her friendly overtures—only to be won over in the end. There were even cases when children did not want to go home with Mom and Dad but wanted to stay right there with Grandma in the nursery.
“It’s born in me, I guess,” says Sister Holdaway. “I think the nursery is the best place in the Church.” Having raised seven children of her own, she brought a great deal of practical experience to her calling. Now at 91 years of age, she no longer serves in the nursery, but she still knows and feels affection for many of the children in the ward as well as those formerly in her charge who have grown up, married, and had children of their own.
Sister Holdaway acknowledges that some view serving in the nursery as difficult. “Sometimes the children will cry and get upset, but if they’re picked up and loved and helped, you can overcome the challenges,” she says. “You’ve just got to have a lot of love for children. They can feel that, and it makes all the difference.”—, Vineyard, Utah
In the Spotlight
• On 28 August 1998 Richard Swett was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. He is a member of the Concord Second Ward, Concord New Hampshire Stake.
• Milton Lee, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Brigham Young University, has received an honorary doctorate of philosophy from Uppsala University in Sweden. The award was based on his contributions to the field of chemistry separations.
• Twenty years after their popular variety show appeared on television, Donny and Marie Osmond are in a new celebrity talk show, Donny & Marie. The syndicated program airs weekdays.
• U.S. News and World Report recognized the late Philo T. Farnsworth in a special issue featuring the “masters of discovery.” The Idaho native invented electronic television, envisioning at age 14 that a magnetized beam of electrons could transmit images. The 17–24 August 1998 issue hailed Farnsworth as one who “deserved to be a legend like Edison, his hero.”