Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Last Stand in Huron

Dah Jr and Zed, Diane’s Hake’s nephew

The Karen people are a big part of Huron, SD. They are currently 15% of the population. By next year they will be 20% of the population! 20 of our 80 active members of the Huron ward are Karen, so there is a need for Karen or Burmese elders. The growth of our church right now in Huron is the Karens! The real trouble is the language barrier. Only 2 million people in the world can speak Karen, a sect of the Burmese language. In turn, there is no Book of Mormon in Karen, so our Karen members only go by their undying faith. Faith is the reason these people come to church. For 3 hours they sit through mostly English lessons. Brother Barton teaches Gospel basics and a Karen priesthood holder, Da Poe, translates and teaches the class too, so that helps a lot. 

In September, Elder Black and I are preparing a Karen lady to be baptized! The funny thing is we already thought she was a member. When we first met her, we got a call from the office that they had a referral for us. It was for someone who was a member, Bruce Lee (Yeah, I know. Awesome name.) He was referred by his sister-in-law living in Salt Lake City who was preparing to move here because her husband, John Menlaw, was living with Bruce Lee and his wife, Dah Jr. They wanted Elder Black and me to get them reactivated so when Da Blu Ma, the really active one, moved she would come into an active home and they could all live peacefully. Of course I was excited to reactivate the legendary Bruce Lee! 

We got to the apartments, were greeted warmly, and shown certificates of membership. Bruce Lee told us he had been living in Huron for 2 years and never went to church because he didn’t know where it was (Devil alert! The adversary is very cunning.) His wife Dah Jr asked us if we could give her baby a blessing because she was sick. We did. (My 2nd ever blessing). I was scared, but I was able to bless her with confidence and ease. It felt good. Dah Jr also asked if her baby could have a baby blessing on Sunday. 

Bishop White tried to find paperwork on Dah Jr, but couldn’t find it. Dah Jr, Bruce Lee, and John Menlaw all went to church and have been going for awhile now. I never thought Dah Jr was not a member, until last Sunday when the bishop called us into his office. Bruce Lee and Dah Jr and their baby were already sitting in the office. Dah Jr asked to be baptized! I felt dumb. All this time searching for investigators to be baptized and Dah Jr, who wasn’t a member yet, was right under our very nose! After that we set a date. 

Yesterday we taught her almost all the lessons in one night! Dah Jr is on fire right now! It’s time to put out that fire with the waters of baptism. This experience has made my faith grow stronger. I know in the next couple of weeks leading up to Dah Jr’s baptism the devil will do all he can to destroy her, but I’ll be there to backhand and sucker punch that devil if he tries anything funny! We want Bruce Lee to baptize Dah Jr, but he is too shy , but we’ll work with him and hopefully he will come around.   

Dah Jr was baptized on September 15th, and Chan was transferred to Williston, SD, on September 24. Since Williston only has one ward, he is there with our neighbor, Brother Zak Dietz, who works in Williston. He says seeing Brother Dietz last Sunday was a “Godsend.” His cousin, Bridgette Clarke and another cousin’s husband also work there, so he may run into them too.  It really is a small world.

Elder Chan Staheli with his former Priests Quorum adviser, Brother Zak Dietz.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. So interesting. I have never heard of the language, Karen, before (oh, I'm a writer friend of your mom's ~ but you probably don't see this while on your mission anyway - she must be posting your letters and pics). So, it was all quite fascinating to me. Thanks for sharing.

    Stephanie Abney
    Mesa, AZ