Monday, January 7, 2008

How I Became a Mormon--Part 4

People Along the Pathway

Little did I realize that people I would meet along the way would play roles in helping me find the one true church. And at the time I met these people, I had no idea they were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Although I had given up my football scholarship at Boise State, I still loved the game, so I returned to my high school to coach the offensive line for Kamehameha’s junior varsity team. I coached a slew of outstanding players at Kamehameha and what I didn’t realize at the time was that many of these standouts were members of the church. Just like my classmate Stanton Akana, who I mentioned in part 2, these players were hardworking obedient, non-complaining, and did not cuss or swear. And, not surprisingly, these young men were outstanding football players, a coach’s dream, as the saying goes.

Also implanted in my mind are recollections of the parents of these young men. More often than not, these parents were very helpful, supportive, and positive. One couple, Mary and Isaac Miyashiro, parents of Masa Miyashiro, stood out. The Miyashiros seemed to always be around at practices and games, not to badger or pressure us coaches as some parents did. Instead, they would volunteer to help out the team and the coaches in any way. The Miyashiros, as I recall, helped to organize the other parents and took on the task of putting together the team’s end-of-the-season banquet.

Years later, when I walked into a chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the very first time, who did I see there but the Miyashiros. Another LDS member I met that day at church was Bob Uyehara, the father of another Kamehameha player I had coached. I came to find out the other LDS members who I had coached when they were young men: in addition to Masa Miyashiro, the lineup included Spencer Parker, Kapua Maruyama, and Michael Matsuzaki. It’s very possible that there were others as well, and I will likely learn who they are in the years ahead.

I also have come to find out that there were others I had met in my life who were members of the church, some of whom I had gone to school with at Kamehameha including Jeff Noa and Jay Serrao. As I reflect on how these guys carried themselves and lived their lives, I find it no surprise that they were LDS. Things started to click in my head.

Admittedly, this clicking in my brain took a while to occur, but I’ve come to believe that these people were put in my path for a reason, and that all that I went through was necessary for me to learn and experience what I needed to learn and experience.

And there was much more to learn and experience—much more.

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