Yes, we were instructed and inspired and business was conducted. I so testify.
Here's a recap:
Presiding was Stake President George Kaluhiokalani. Conducting was President Bud Gibson.
Stake priesthood business: a number of men, (mostly young men) were ratified as recently ordained recipients of the Melchizedek Priesthood, including a couple of young men from our ward: James Ahuna and Braeden Santiago.
Singing for us was an Aaronic Priesthood choir, conducted by Micah Hirokawa, formerly of our ward and now Stake Music Director. It was wonderful listening to the young men sing hymn #60: Battle Hymn of the Republic and ""Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
The opening speakers were two current full-time missionaries, now serving as APs (aka Assistants to the Mission President), one being Elder Preston Stelter (at left), who served in our ward a few months back. Remarks from the Elders that I noted:
- "Teaching cannot be done without the spirit."
- "I would not take $1 million to forgo my mission."
- "Nothing offends God more than laziness, disobedience, and ingratitude."
- "I've learned to hate the things of the world."
- While we remember to clean our houses, cars, etc, we sometimes to clean ourselves (via repentance)."
- Obedience brings blessings; exact obedience brings miracles.
- Counsel to young men preparing for missions: "Put love on hold" (i.e. don't fall in love prior to serving a mission).
- Weak discipline = weak missionaries
- Discipline is closely related to being a disciple (of Christ).
- Cut down/cut out watching television.
Next up was President Carl Kawakami, who told us a story of a young man who worked and saved to pay for his mission and now is putting himself through aviation school on the mainland by working, saving, and walking to and from school, work, and his living quarters. Referring to Elder Stelter's comments, President Kawakami said that in his work as a counselor, he has seen how laziness, disobedience, and ingratitude by husbands have led to marital problems. The message for us: work hard, be obedient, be grateful. An interesting comment by President: "If you want a release (from a calling in the church), do it like the Prophet does it."
Finally, President Kaluhiokalani (at left) addressed us, relating a story about a recent business trip to Guam which led to a visit to Yokoi Cave, named after Shoichi Yokoi, a soldier in the Japanese army in WWII. In 1944, when the American military regained control of Guam, Yokoi went into hiding in a self-fashioned "cave" in the jungles of the island. He remained in hiding for 28 years until 1972, an example of steadfast dedication and loyalty to his country and a cause he believed in.
The example of Yokoi's dedication to a cause was not lost on us. We, too, should be dedicated to the great cause and work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
President K also told us that
- Many young men in the stake are struggling (with a variety of issues) and we need to help them instead of continuing to allow them to struggle.
- We need to help the young men establish and develop a testimony.
- We need to help them establish goals.