“We all need to realize the Book of Mormon is truly how we will get converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Art and Peggy Hannemann shared on Dec. 6. The couple recently returned from presiding over the Samoa Apia mission, and they were the speakers at the BYU–Hawaii Women’s Organization luncheon in the Aloha Center Ballroom.
Introducing the Hannemanns was Nancy Eastwood, vice president of the BYUH Women’s Organization. She said, “They love to read the Book of Mormon. They say it is a great way to start their day to feel the spirit of our loving Savior Jesus Christ.”
Peggy said the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. “Jesus is the Christ. This is the true gospel that has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I am so grateful we had the opportunity to be an instrument. We did nothing but follow the Savior Jesus Christ. It is through the Savior Jesus Christ we are able to believe it.”
Art shared how, while on their mission, he received revelation to focus on turning branches into wards. He explained his instructions were very specific, describing his prompting, “Take seven missionaries who are as converted to Jesus Christ as you are, put them in a village, and give them six weeks to turn a branch into a ward.”
He said he started by replacing the elders in one of the most physically demanding locations with sisters. Art said he would ask the elders in the area how the work was going, and they would describe how physically tired they were. When he asked the sisters the same question, they replied, “‘When you reach the top, the view is unbelievable.”
After six weeks, according to Art, the sisters had baptized six people, the first baptisms in years.
Following this experience, he said they decided to place four elders and three sisters to the area. He explained, “They do two things. They teach from the Book of Mormon exclusively, working with the members and the Book of Mormon. Number two was work with the families and family home evening.”
Art said they began sending the missionaries to several different areas that had been struggling for many years. He said each of the areas, through the power of the Book of Mormon, had turned from branches to wards.
Art credited, “Two things. Working with the members, and the Book of Mormon.”
Peggy shared the story of a devout Jew named Robert. She said when Robert was going to become a rabbi, his wife had to denounce Jesus Christ as the Savior. When the time came, she turned to her husband and said, “Oh Robert, please don’t make me denounce that I’m Christian. I know Jesus is the Christ. I cannot say I don’t believe He has come, that He didn’t live upon the earth. I know it’s true.”
At this point, Robert decided he should find Christ. He was directed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but did nothing about it. Four years later, he saw some missionaries, and he invited them into his home. They immediately encouraged him to begin reading the Book Mormon.
Peggy said, “When he did join the church, he was interviewed by our missionaries and they said, ‘Why did you join the Church, Robert?’ He said, ‘Why did you join the Church? Let me ask you that question.’ They gave all these different answers. He goes, ‘Let me tell you why I joined the Church. It’s because it’s true.’
“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we need to all be engaged in doing the Lord’s work on a daily basis. We have found so much joy. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is an ongoing challenge to find, teach, and baptize. We all need to be engaged in our homes.”
She said as people share about gospel, very little words need to come from us. “More needs to come from reading out of the Book of Mormon with investigators. More of it, less of us.
“That’s why you read the book every day. That’s the challenge right now. I circled the word truth all throughout the Book of Mormon. You can circle it yourself. You will see it all throughout the Book of Mormon.”
Peggy left the audience with a challenge, saying, “We are in the last days and the Savior needs all of our help. He needs you reaching out and inviting people into your homes… We need to all open our mouths.”
Art added to the challenge by saying, “The Savior says, in 3 Nephi chapter 11, ‘I am the light and the life of the world.’ That’s who you are. You bring light and life to people through the gospel of Jesus Christ. You have to share.”
According to Eastwood, the Hannemanns are real life examples of what they teach. “They love attending the temple together, and they love doing temple work with their sons and daughters-in-law. They love doing missionary work, and they love doing it together. They have missionaries over monthly with non-members for dinner and for FHE. They made the commitment years ago to save at least one soul by following the example of our loving Savior Jesus Christ, by helping someone enter the waters of baptism.”
Eastwood said she was grateful to the Hannemanns for showing an example of something you can do right now in your own lives and your own community.
Michelle Henderson, president of the BYUH Women’s Organization, explained the December luncheon is different from other luncheons. “Usually what we do is ask for a $12 donation for lunch. We will provide the lunch. Today is a little different. In December it has kind of become tradition to do a fun, festive potluck.”
She reemphasized the purpose of the organization. “It is always nice to get together and be among friends, and to meet new friends, and to have a delicious meal together. However, the main emphasis of our luncheons is so we can raise money for our scholarship fund… I feel so blessed and honored to be part of such an amazing organization.”
An open invitation was extended to all who wish to attend the next luncheon on Jan. 10, 2019.