Aloha, my name is Melanie Kauvaka. My maiden name is Manutai and I’m a newlywed just living the life of a typical married college graduate—not sure how to continue my education, can’t find a steady job and being absolutely anxious to have my first child.
I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii in a town called Kaimuki. I am of Hawaiian, Samoan, Chinese and Caucasian descent and I am the youngest of 3 children with two typical Polynesian older brothers who always had an extra eye open until the day I chose my eternal companion whom in my opinion is now more popular with my family than I am. I graduated from Moanalua High School and later on got my Bachelor’s degree at BYU-Hawaii in 2014. It took me about 7 years to finally get my degree with a mission in the middle and knee surgery in which took me a little off track.
I am a returned missionary. I served in the Honduras, Tegucigalpa Mission from 2011-2012. I am currently a substitute teacher at Moanalua High School and I am serving as a Ward Missionary in my ward as well as in the Young Women’s Program as an Assistant Camp Director (the Lord knew to call me to this calling since I HATE CAMPING haha!) I have been a member my whole life and so I have definitely benefited from my upbringing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I didn’t have great leaders, teachers and parents, I don’t know where I would be today.
If I could write a blog on my experiences as an LDS Pacific Woman, I would want to share experiences in which pertain to the desires of my heart. I would like to share with you how I found my eternal companion and why I love the Gospel so much that I could not imagine my life without it. I only hope that by the end of reading this blog that you will feel the love in which I have for my Savior and Father in Heaven as well as for this gospel and all of you. Though I may not know many of you, I know that we are all sisters just trying to uplift one another in the best way we know how.
Finding an Eternal Companion
When I was in the Young Women’s program, I always imagined my husband to be this dark, tall and handsome man who would sweep me off my feet and give me butterflies each and every time I saw him. I thought that was what love felt like—being so in love with someone that nothing else matters in your life but him.
When I first met my husband, I surely did not get that butterfly feeling that I had imagined myself to feel, so what did I do? I totally just treated him as a friend and took no thought in ever becoming his girlfriend let alone his eternal companion. My first impressions of him were even worse. I thought he was such a snob because he didn’t kiss me hello like how we do in Hawaii even with strangers and so I just felt like he was not even worth my time. When I first met him, we obviously weren’t on a date, we were actually just meeting up with friends and I just went on a spur of the moment with my roommate one night where she asked if I wanted to hang out with some of her friends for the night and my husband happened to be one of them. Usually I didn’t hang out with my roommate on the weekends and so it had to be divine intervention in bringing the two of us together that particular night. Of course, my first impression was not the greatest, but later on in the night, he decided to sit right in front of me at the restaurant we were eating at. I was not attracted to him at first, but then he started making all types of silly comments that would make me not just laugh, but laugh hysterically! Most times I get irritated with guys who try too hard to look cool in front of people but he wasn’t that type of guy. He just naturally made people laugh and feel good about themselves and I started to really enjoy being around him.
After that night, we ended up seeing each other more in the community which led to getting each other’s numbers. I still only thought of him as a friend and nothing more and I think he felt the same way. One night, he texted me and asked me what time my FHE for my singles ward was. I told him it started at 9:00pm at the BYU Ballroom. He texted me back saying, “Oh, ok I’ll meet you there” I was honestly caught off guard because I’ve never hung out with him and I was thinking. “We don’t even know each other like that” but, I just went with it and thought, well, if he wants to come, he can come.
As the night got closer to FHE, I was contemplating whether I should go alone to FHE knowing that he just invited himself lol, I didn’t want to look like a loner and be by myself, but I also didn’t want to go with someone else if he wanted to just hang out with me. I ended up going by myself to FHE and sure enough, I saw him and he was also by himself. All of a sudden, I felt super uneasy and kind of nervous, ok I can admit it now, but I finally got that butterfly feeling for just a little bit when I saw him. I felt prompted by the spirit that I should treat this particular night a little more special than just a little FHE that he randomly wanted to show up to.
We ended up talking and walking around campus after and he walked me to my car. At my car, we ended up talking for about 3 hours until security asked us to leave the parking lot (so shame). When I went home, I felt really good, but still not too convinced that he was my Prince Charming that I’ve been looking for. The next day, I left for a 10-day Volleyball Road Trip to California and we ended up texting that whole trip (since I didn’t want my teammates to know since they were all HIS FRIENDS). When I came back from my trip we went on more FHE nights together until he eventually asked me to be his girlfriend. I’ve never felt so special to someone before and he made me feel special every night that I saw him.
We dated for about two years until I had decided to go on a mission. It was hard for us to break up, but we both agreed that we would go our separate ways and I didn’t expect him to wait for me. On my mission, I was so happy and thought, maybe he wasn’t the man for me since I felt so happy and I wasn’t with him. He would write me occasionally but I wanted to keep my options open after my mission and I wanted to date other people. On my mission, my little brother/cousin had passed away and it was a huge obstacle in which I needed to tackle on my mission. The Monday after I had found out about my little cousin, there in my missionary inbox was a sweet letter of sympathy left by my ex-boyfriend at the time in which I THOUGHT I wouldn’t want to marry. I was very touched and I could really feel his support and prayers for me at the time.
Upon returning from my mission, he and I went our separate ways and I wanted to date other people and I tried to go on a different path thinking for sure he wasn’t the man for me in my life. I started meeting other men who were returned missionaries. Some were really cool, fun to talk to and I felt I could relate, but no man had ever made me feel the way my ex-boyfriend did at the time. There was no clear connection and everything just kept seeming really off for me each time I went on a new date trying to meet a new guy.
A year and a half later, we ended up hanging out with each other randomly this one night just catching up with each other. I felt like I was happy once again. I felt like I could be myself and I felt so at home with him. It was then I realized that I would need to make it obvious to him that I wanted to start again and see where our relationship would go. This is where my ex-boyfriend stopped me and said, “No, I’m sorry but, if you want to get back together, there has to be some kind of future in it, because I want to be with you FOREVER and if you don’t want the same thing then, we shouldn’t get back together” I decided to wait a couple months to really see if I wanted to move in this direction.
Within those couple of months, the Lord’s hand just took over in all things. I went through a really rough time in my life. I would consider this one of the hardest trials I had to bear and I felt like my spirit was being attacked left and right and I’ve never had to endure such temptations of hate and anger toward anyone before in my life. My self-worth began to sink and I honestly felt like I was trapped in one of the worst nightmares of my life. However, when the Lord puts us through a storm, he will always bring us out of it. The instrument in which he used was my very own, eternal companion. During the hardest time of my life, my boyfriend at the time was right there holding my hand through it all and I could not have had a better confirmation from the Lord that this would be the man in which I would marry for time and for all eternity. We were then sealed in the La’ie Hawaii Temple on September 20, 2014 and married life is one of the sweetest experiences in which I thank my father in heaven for every day.
Falling in Love with the Gospel Every Day
When it comes to the Gospel, really, what is NOT to love about it? There are no flaws in it and it answers every single path in which we want to make in life. The Gospel will be able to answer any question in which we have pertaining to our eternal salvation and promises in which we made to our Father in Heaven before we came to earth.
I was just thinking about how modern-day society has allowed so many people access to immoral influences in their daily lives. I am not a Mother yet, but I can just imagine what my children would be exposed to in the years to come. So many people are so money hungry thinking that’s all that matters in the world today that they forget about the consequences in which it could have on our future generation. As I was contemplating my plan in how I would help my children dodge these immoral bullets, I was taken back to the simple basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel has taught us to:
- Have Family Home Evenings once a week on Monday nights
- Study the scriptures as a family
- Pray in the morning and at night as a family
- Spend time together
- Serve others
- Diligently serve in your church callings
- Attend your Sunday Meetings
- Fast and Pay your Tithing
- Frequently attend the Temple
- Repent on a daily basis
- Trust in the Lord and not in your own understanding
- Make and keep sacred covenants, always renew them
- Follow the path of the Savior and do as he would do
I could go on more, but you got the picture. Now, is this list anything new? Have we been learning this from day one in the Church? Just because society is changing, does that mean God is going to give us new commandments and guidelines?
This is why I have fallen in love with the Gospel. Though the world may change its standards, the Lords way will never change and it will always provide a safe haven to all who seek the answers of refuge against the evil forces of the adversary. I have come to understand that my life without the Gospel would literally be chaos for me in my life and I could never be able to live the life of peace and happiness in which I feel each day of living the gospel in my life. The trials and tribulations will never stop. I know that the Lord will continue to challenge me and test my faith, but I give thanks to all of my leaders and teachers who have taught me to see beyond the trials and to truly trust in the Lord in all things. If I just follow what it has to offer, there will never be a time of worry in my life and the Lord will always take care of me.
I am a Child of God
As I end this blog my dear Polynesian sisters, I would just like to bear you my testimony that I know this Gospel is true. I too am a fellow Polynesian sister who goes through trials just like you and for the most part I have overcome some great trials due to the love of my father in Heaven. Though we may consider ourselves a category of Polynesians, I only hope that we could consider ourselves more as Sisters in Zion and Children of God. I hope my story in which I shared with you would help you want to draw close to the Savior and really seek an eternal companion in which will honor your divine womanhood and be the Priesthood holder in which you deserve. I hope that if you plan on serving a mission, that you will be prayerful about it and do it because YOU choose to serve. I hope that if ever you fear the temptations and challenges of life that you first seek your father in Heaven and put it in his hands because I can PROMISE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART that he is right there, waiting to answer your prayer and guide you in a way where you will know with a surety that he is your Father and that he has loves you so much. He has loved you even before you were born and he knows exactly what your needs are in being truly happy in your life. I am grateful for this opportunity in which I had to share with you my thoughts and testimony.
Featured Image above: Melanie with her supportive husband
Image Quote Credits: Pinterest