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Elder and Sister Rasband Minister to Maui Fire Victims

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The people of Maui are still rebuilding from the deadly wildfires that swept through the area five months ago. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in Maui on February 10 and 11, 2024, to share a message of hope and love.

“Good things come from Jesus Christ,” the Apostle told Latter-day Saints. “I pray He will turn ashes to beauty for you. I know the Lord loves you. I know Heavenly Father loves you. No one here needs to feel alone. We are all sons and daughters of loving Heavenly Parents, and Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, the High Priest of good things to come.”

 

Sister Melanie Rasband, who joined her husband on the ministry visit, reminded the Saints that God, through the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, promises to make beauty out of ashes.

“Driving near Lahaina, it is sad to see such devastation,” she said. “As we see more catastrophes in the latter days, our hearts ache for you and for what this stake has endured. … The idea of beauty for ashes I hope applies to the lovely Lahaina area to be made beautiful again.”

The Rasbands made a similar visit to northern California six years ago after fires decimated neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. In the ruins, they found nesting dishes with the words “love, hope, dream” on them. A bright future is possible, Elder Rasband said on Sunday, because of God’s plan of salvation.

“Some might ask when faced with intense suffering, how could Almighty God let this happen? And why did this happen to me?” Elder Rasband said. “Why must we experience disease and natural events that disable or call precious family members home early or extend their years in pain? Why must we go through heartache? At these moments, we can turn to the great plan of happiness offered by our Heavenly Father. That plan, when presented in the pre-earth life to all of us, by the way, prompted us all to shout for joy with the Savior’s plan. Put simply, this mortal life was to be a training ground for eternal exaltation. That process means tests and trials. It has always been so, and no one has ever been spared.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ronald A. Rasband (@ronaldarasband)

 

“With faith in Him,” the Apostle continued, “we draw on the power on Christ’s Atonement when questions abound and when answers are few.”

Matavaimo’ui Ma, the bishop of the Lahaina 2nd Ward, said Elder Rasband’s visit was a needed boost to keep going.

“It strengthens me to do more to my ward members that lost everything,” said Bishop Ma, who lost his own home in the fire. “And it gives me more energy to tackle the work that I do in Lahaina.”

The Church’s North America West Area President Elder Mark A. Bragg joined the Rasbands during their visit to Maui.

“The Savior does not forget us on the isles of the sea,” Elder Bragg told the Hawaiian Saints. “He never forgets us. A manifestation of the love that He has for you is that he has sent Elder Rasband to be with you today. I have a strong personal feeling that [God] is proud of you and that he loves you — and has sent Elder Rasband to confirm that.”

Elder Rasband left the Saints with three invitations: to keep God’s commandments, to prepare for the house of the Lord coming to Maui, and to seek priesthood blessings.

“We thank you for all you are doing for your brothers and sisters,” Elder Rasband said. “You are not forgotten.”

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