In 1850 Brigham Young sent ten missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands. Without understanding the language and culture, they became so discouraged that five of them went home. The youngest of the five who stayed was Elder George Q. Cannon. He went to the Lord in prayer and was inspired to go to Lahaina on the island of Maui.
When he got there, two ladies went screaming into a nearby house and brought out a gentleman. The night before, this man had had a dream that a messenger of God was coming and that he must feed him. The man was Jonathon H. Napela, the magistrate of that area. The two men became close friends, like Alma and Amulek in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 10–15). Because of the guiding hand of God and Brother Napela’s great help, missionary work began to do very well in Hawaii.
In 1873 Jonathon’s wife, Kitty, got leprosy. Leprosy is a contagious disease that people feared getting, and at that time there was no cure for it; if you got it, you were forced to live in a leper colony. The sailors who took the lepers there were so afraid of this dreadful disease that they pushed the patients into the sea, forcing them to swim to shore.
When his wife had to go to the leper colony, Jonathon went with her. This valiant and giant man of God worked in the colony and fought to obtain government assistance for the lepers to have a more comfortable place to live. He became a leper himself and died two years before his wife did. Why did he risk his life and do all this? Because he loved her so much! He knew that life is eternal and love is eternal, even through times of sickness and suffering.