My companions Elder Reid, Elder Holt and I were serving on the island of Ofu in Samoa. A one lane bridge connects the island to another Manu’a island, Olosega. At the time we did not have access to a vehicle, so we did a lot of walking to and from each island.
We had been told about a woman named Leva’aia. Because of diabetes, a prevalent disease in Samoa, she had a prosthetic leg. We saw her one blistering hot day while we were sweeping leaves in the sand. From behind we called out to her. When she didn't respond, we realized she was deaf.
We tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she needed help. She turned around and we were shocked to see she was bleeding from her eyes and had tears running down her face. There were boils on both of her eyes.
We asked if she wanted a Priesthood blessing. She couldn’t hear us and and her swollen eyes couldn’t lip read what we were asking. We found a picture of the Savior healing a young woman and showed her. She grabbed hold of the word “fa’amalolo” which means to heal. She accepted our invitation immediately and we gave her a blessing. As prompted by the Spirit, we told her she would be healed the next day.
We immediately began to fast despite the seven-mile journey in severe tropical heat to the other island where we lived. The next day we came back to see that all her family were gathered together, including her husband who had returned. They were shocked that Leva’aia’s eyes were healed overnight. They were planning to take her to the hospital on the main island, Tutuila.
Leva’aia knew then that we had something special from God that could help and bless her life. She asked us for a Book of Mormon and if we could teach her the gospel.
It wasn't easy. Reading was difficult for Leva’aia. She had not finished schooling and she had poor vision. But Leva’aia was determined to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every day we would read together one or two verses and ask her a question. Then for an assignment each night we had her read it again and answer the question.
When she understood the concept of prayer and how God answers our prayers, we gave her a note asking her to pray to ask God if the Book of Mormon was true. Next to the question were two boxes; yes, or no. The next day Leva’aia walked to church and told us that she was so shocked with how sure and fast the answer came to her. She had prayed and asked God if the Book of Mormon were true and had received her answer. She didn’t know any other thing to say. She kept proclaiming, “E moni! E moni! E moni! Sa fai mai le Atua Ioe!” It’s true! It’s true! It’s true!!
Despite warnings, threats, and pressures from her neighbours, particularly a pastor and his wife, Leva’aia and her daughter, Tai, chose to be baptized.
The day of her baptism was beautiful. There was a cool breeze blowing. Leva’aia had removed the prosthetic leg and relied on crutches to get herself to the water.
Although Leva’aia felt the cold of the water and the strong breeze, she was determined to go through with her baptism. Clinging on to two missionaries, she waded through the water until it was deep enough for her to be completely immersed. She was then baptized.
The miracles didn't stop after Leva’aia’s baptism. A huge change took place her family. Her husband Tui and her sons were soon baptized. There is less anger, more kindness, and more peace in their family home. Now Leva’aia is serving as Relief Society president on Olosega, Samoa.
Elder Ammon Tuimaualuga is from California, USA. He served in the Apia, Samoa mission from November 2015 to October 2017.