Joe Lee sat quietly in conference listening to the people who spoke. He couldn’t understand all they said, but he loved singing the songs with them. He thought how wonderful it would be if he could go up on the stand and tell everyone how exciting it was to be a member of the Church.
Joe was an eight-year-old Korean-Hawaiian boy who had just been baptized. He lived on the island of Molokai in Hoolehua, Hawaii. Joe and his mother were members of the Church, but his father had no interest in it at all. Joe had such a good feeling that he wanted his father to become a member of the Church too.
That night after conference Joe told his mother the thoughts that had come to him during the meeting and later she told Brother Murphy, who was conducting the conference, what her young son had said.
During the next session of conference Joe suddenly heard his name called. Brother Murphy was inviting him to go up to the pulpit and speak!
Joe quickly stood up, and while he was walking up to the pulpit, someone on the stand hurried to get a little chair. Many in the meeting wondered what an eight-year-old boy who was called out of the audience might say.
Joe stood on the chair and spoke into the microphone. A breathless hush came over everyone as Joe began, “Aloha everybody!” He paused only a moment. Then in a clear calm voice he went on, “I know that Jesus is God’s own Son. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet.”
Tears filled many eyes when Joe said, “My father is not a member of the Church. Please pray that he will become one so he can take Mother and our family to the temple. Then we will all be together in the next world.”
Joe’s prayer and the prayers of others were answered a short time later when Joe’s father was baptized. One of the happiest days of Joe’s life was about a year later when his father took his family to the temple at Laie, where they were sealed as a family.
Sam John could hardly wait until class was over so he could talk with Brother Murphy. He had a very special question to ask—one that he didn’t want anyone else to hear.
At first Sam had gone to Brother Murphy’s classes because he liked being with the older boys and girls who attended. Then he kept going because of the lovely music. Finally he found that more important than anything else was the feeling he had when he listened to the things Brother Murphy said.
Now he had to know if these things were really true!
Sam John waited patiently until almost everyone had left the class. Then he went up to the white-haired man and asked if he could talk with him alone. A bench under a spreading tree made a perfect place for Sam to ask his most important question.
“Brother Murphy,” he began, “are these things you have told us about Jesus and Joseph Smith really true?”
The man looked down, surprised that a boy only eight years old could be so serious and sincere. Then he took the boy’s hand, looked into his eyes, and asked a question too. “Sam,” he said, “do you think Sister Murphy and I and all the other missionaries who have come to these classes would spend money to come to Hawaii and take our precious time to tell you these things if we did not know they are true?”
Without hesitation, Sam answered, “I believe these things too, and I want to be baptized into your Church.”
Then Sam told Brother Murphy that his mother had been baptized when she was just a little girl, but that she didn’t understand much about the Church and had never been active in it.
“What would she think if you were baptized?” Brother Murphy asked. “And what about your father?”
Sam had to admit that he didn’t think his father would be very happy, but he promised to talk to him.
A few days later Sam John’s father, a Chinese-Hawaiian, went to the mission home. “What is this you have been teaching my son to affect him so much?” he demanded. “He even wants to become a member of your Church.”
“Mr. John,” the mission president answered, “I’m glad you’ve come to talk with me. There is nothing we’ve taught Sam that you should not also know, especially since your boy wants to be baptized.”
The next night Sam’s father went back to the mission home, and the next, and the next.
Sam could hardly believe it when a few weeks later his father suggested that Sam wait a little while to be baptized so that he and Sam’s older brother could be baptized.
Now we are united as a family, Sam thought after their baptisms, and it seemed as if his heart would burst with happiness.
These are two of the stories told by Castle H. Murphy who served as a missionary and later as president of the Hawaiian Mission for many years. He calls Hawaii a “Garden of Eden, minus the snake, and my other homeland.”
Here is another story told in President Murphy’s own words:
During one of my visits to the island of Molokai, I was invited to go to the hospital at Hoolehua to administer to a little girl.
On the way to the hospital her father said, “Our little girl Louise is very sick. The doctors all agree that she cannot live. During her few years in our home, she has shown great faith in the missionaries and the priesthood they hold. This morning when I told her that you were coming to visit us, she asked if you could give her a blessing.”
As we arrived at the hospital and entered a small room, I was shocked to find ten-year-old Louise Makaiwi too weak to move and too sick to speak. Tears rolled from her big brown eyes as she tried to shake hands with me. But she could not raise her little hand from the sheet on which it rested.
Louise’s father anointed her head with oil. I sealed the anointing and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit promised this sweet little girl that she would live. Then I suggested that she be taken to Honolulu to be checked by specialists.
Louise was carried on a soft mattress to Honolulu. Several outstanding doctors examined her, but each shook his head. Not one gave any hope for her life.
Weak and weary, Louise was brought to the mission home, but because of her blessing she was not discouraged.
Louise returned home full of faith, and only a month later she stood in a testimony meeting and told how she had been healed by our Heavenly Father.
Louise speedily regained her health and became one of the loveliest girls in that wonderful land.