Wednesday, July 5, 2017

President Taniela B. Wakolo

President Wakolo left the Arkansas Little Rock Mission 
this past week.  The following are 2 favorite stories of him.  

The story of the two blue books.  

"When President Wakolo was new as the ALRM Mission President, he was at a restaurant.  His blue Book of Mormon was on the table right by him.  A stranger came up, grabbed his Book of Mormon, threw it on the ground, and with anger yelled, 'Blasphemy, Blasphemy, y'all don't believe in Jesus Christ!' President Wakolo was shocked and didn't want this situation to happen to any of his 18 and 19 year old missionaries.  He wanted to better prepare his missionaries.  A lot of thought and prayer went into coming up with a solution that he would feel comfortable with and what the Lord would be comfortable with.  President Wakolo decided then, back in 2014, that his missionaries would carry both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  He ordered hundreds of Blue Bibles for his missionaries to carry along with their Blue Book of Mormon.  He then teaches the missionaries Ezekiel 37:14-20, 'The Book of Mormon is the stick of Ephraim and the Bible is the stick of Judah and they should be one in our hand, always carry them together as one in your hands, so that you can testify both of the Bible and Book of Mormon together.'  So the missionaries in the ALRM have carried both a Book of Mormon and the Bible together, 
everyday, everyday, everyday "

Elder Merrill with his Blue Book standing beside President Wakolo

"The Church is True - The Book is Blue"

Brother Wakolo’s Disciple’s Soul by Spencer Condie
While serving in the South Pacific, I received a letter from the First Presidency with an assignment to travel to Fiji and deliver a letter to Taniela Wakolo, president of the Nausori Fiji Stake. After I handed the letter to him, he read aloud the call from the First Presidency to serve as an Area Seventy, and tears flowed freely from his cheeks and those of his lovely wife, Anita.
After discussing with him the nature and duties of his new calling, I observed the tattoo on Brother Wakolo’s large right hand. Now, tattoos are very common throughout the South Pacific, and long before he joined the Church, Taniela Wakolo had the back of his hand tattooed with a large, garish design.
I said: “Brother Wakolo, in your new calling as an Area Seventy, you are going to be speaking to the youth on many occasions. I would suggest before such meetings that you put a large Band-Aid on the back of your hand to cover your tattoo. It’s hard to discourage our youth from getting tattoos when the speaker has one himself.”
He smiled a broad smile, and with a radiant expression he said, “I’ll take care of it. I want to be a good example.”
A few weeks passed, and the next time we met, his hand was heavily bandaged as if he were preparing for a boxing match. I asked, “What in the world happened to you?”
He smiled with glistening eyes and said, “I followed your counsel and had the tattoo removed.”
“Was it laser surgery?” I asked.
“No,” he replied with a big smile, “they don’t remove tattoos with lasers in Fiji. I had it surgically cut out.”
A month later Elder Wakolo and I were assigned together to reorganize a stake presidency in American Samoa. As we met at the airport, I immediately noticed an unsightly scar on the back of his hand where the surgeon had removed several square inches of skin and then very crudely sutured the gaping wound closed. This had not been performed by a plastic surgeon.
I apologized for having been the cause of the large scar on the back of his hand. He responded with a radiant Christlike countenance: “Not to worry, President Condie; this is my CTR ring. Now the Lord knows where I stand! I’ll do anything the Lord asks of me.”
Elder Wakolo has become a disciple who keeps his covenants and strives to do good continually.
His scarred hand represents his obedience as a disciple of Christ.  

Now he can bless this lives of  many members of the Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a General Authority Seventy.

Elder Merrill with President and Sister Wakolo 
the day he arrived in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.  
His life has been blessed by them forever!  


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your service Elder Merrill and sharing these stories about Elder Wakolo! :) My daughter is currently serving in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission with the YSA ward in Branson Missouri. :)