Being an Engineer

Okay, continuing the story from last time…

After the sealing, they moved back into their home in Fasi, Nukualofa, Tongatapu. Grandpa continued working for the radio station and the church. They had three more children; Lani, Tupu, and Leola. Grandpa actually sent Grandma to Utah to give birth to Leola here.

Grandpa got a job as an engineer at Liahona High School, so the family moved to Matangiake, Tongatapu, Tonga. They lived in a house right across the street from Liahona. Their house had four bedrooms (one was a master bedroom), kitchen, living room, and two bathrooms. They also had an eight acre plantation in the Vaheloto.

Grandpa took the family to Hawaii in 1974(?) so he could finish his school. He went to BYU Hawaii for a year. This was my dad’s sixth grade year. They lived in Hauula, in a house that belonged to Uncle Tui’one (my grandpa’s youngest brother). Uncle Tui’one had been living there, but bought a property in between Laie and Hauula. This property was big enough for his carving, so he moved there. When my grandparents went to Hawaii, they stayed there. Great Grandpa Taufa was still living in the little house in the backyard. He lived there by himself, because Grandma Ane Lupe had already passed away. He had a garden and everything. During their time in Hawaii, Tupu passed away. She is buried in Laie.

Grandpa then took the family to live in San Mateo, California. All the Brown family (Grandma Hika’s family) lived in San Mateo at the time, including her mom, Grandma Soko. Grandpa moved back to Tonga to work, but Grandma and the rest of the family stayed in San Mateo for about six months. Dad started seventh grade at San Mateo Junior High School. Grandma and the rest of the family moved back to Tonga by the time the school year started in Tonga, in January. Instead of finishing seventh grade, dad went straight into eighth grade.

Grandpa was in the bishopric in Fasi. When they moved to Matangiake, he was called to be the bishop in Kolomotu’a. This was a brand new ward and building. Dad remembers traveling all the way to Kolomotu’a every Sunday to go to church.

Grandpa Ka was the only engineer at Liahona for a very long time. Eventually he hired an assistant, but it wasn’t till many years later. In addition to engineering, he was in charge of taking all the pictures for Liahona, for all the students and staff. He also became the head translator for the church in Tonga. He would do a lot of his translating at home at night. When the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple was dedicated in 1983, Grandpa Ka was hired as the temple engineer and then years later called as a temple sealer (my dad had already moved to the states by this time).

In 1991, Grandma and Grandpa came to Utah for my parents’ wedding. They were here for a couple months and then they went back. Not long after that, they retired and officially moved here to Utah. All of my dad’s siblings had already moved to the states anyway, mostly Utah. Because he left, they closed the translation department for the church in Tonga and moved it to Salt Lake City. Grandpa no longer worked for them, but they frequently brought things to him to proofread. They’d still pay him for that too.

Part of the reason they moved here was because of Grandpa Ka’s health problems. He had diabetes, and he needed surgery. He had a cataract in both his eyes, due to diabetes, and he was going blind. He had surgery in the worst eye, which helped him see better. But later, he developed a heart disease, and he was put on dialysis for kidney failure.

Well that’s a wrap. Great life right? I’m pretty impressed myself.


New Zealand Temple


Hama, Stanley, and Lopi – This picture is a little later than the story, but these are the three boys.

I talked to my dad on the phone tonight for over an hour! That’s really long for him. I learned a lot, not just about my grandparents but about him. My dad’s memory is terrible! Just like mine haha I must get it from him. I have to think really hard to remember things. That was pretty much going on for him the whole conversation. He kept going back and forth, needing to correct his story. He would remember more and more as we continued talking. For that reason, it was a good thing our conversation was so long. By the end, I think we got a pretty accurate summary of the story. I will have to double check with Leola later though, just in case :).

After high school, Grandpa Ka studied engineering at a college in New Zealand. Maybe in Auckland? When he came back to Tonga, he married my grandma and got a job as an engineer for the only radio station in Tonga, A3Z. While my grandma was pregnant with their first child, my dad, the radio station sent him back to New Zealand to do a little more schooling. He wasn’t there for very long before he came back, maybe a month or a couple months. He got another part-time job in Tonga, working as a translator for the church. He would help translate the Ensign and other church publications from English to Tongan. We actually have copies of some of the Ensigns he translated at my home.

At this time they were living in Fasi, Nukualofa, Tongatapu, Tonga. They lived in a little house with one big room, divided in half with a sheet. Grandma and Grandpa slept on a bed on one side and the three little boys slept on the floor on the other side. There weren’t any other rooms in the house. No living room, not really any kitchen. The kitchen was basically just outside, as well as the bathroom. They lived this way for a while, and Grandpa Ka was working two jobs. All of this, however, was in an effort to save money for their family to travel to New Zealand. At this time, there wasn’t a temple in Tonga. Grandpa Ka was trying to fly his family to the New Zealand temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.

Dad doesn’t remember very much about the sealing. He was still young. It took about three years for them to finally save enough money. They had three children at this point; dad, Stanley, and Lopi. Lopi was just a baby at the time. They stayed with family in New Zealand, which was the only way they could afford to make this trip. And they stayed there for about a month. Most importantly, during that time, they were sealed.

Okay, pause. I want to talk about the sealing. Grandpa and Grandma definitely had the right priorities. Despite how poor they were, they saved everything they could to get to the temple. The temple was important to them. I used to go to the temple every week, but lately it hasn’t been as much of a priority for me. I need to be there, and I need to make it a priority. This story was a gentle reminder of that. My family is sealed together forever because it was a priority to them. By making this a priority to me, I can help other members of my family attain those same blessings.

Mission Presidency


After my dad graduated from high school, Grandpa Ka felt like he wasn’t doing enough with his life :). He was in between the phase of graduation and going on a mission. So one Sunday, Grandpa held a family home evening and told my dad to pack his bags because he was going on his mission tomorrow. Grandpa Ka was in the mission presidency in Tonga. So the next day, he took my dad to the mission home and he got his first companion. My dad served in Tonga for about seven months before he got his official call to the Kiribati Islands.

After my dad’s mission, Grandpa Ka was still serving in the mission presidency. When he travelled to different islands for stake conferences, he would take my dad with him. Oftentimes my dad spoke before the mission president did. Grandpa Ka spent a lot of time traveling during this time. Grandma Hika would go with him sometimes, but other times she would stay home with the children. My dad is the oldest, so there were still young ones at home. Either way, this was a sacrifice for the whole family.

Their examples taught me about faith and sacrifice. My grandparents magnified their callings. It must have been hard to be gone so much, but they did it because they loved the Lord. This reminds me of many missionary stories from church history. Men would leave their families for long periods of time to serve a mission. Like these pioneers, I know my family has been blessed a lot by my grandparents’ service. More importantly, their influence makes me want to magnify my calling as well. Honestly, I have been struggling with that lately. I know I can do more. If they can sacrifice like that, then I need to as well. It’s amazing that writing about them can help me come closer to Christ :).

Memories of Grandpa

I created my first podcast. I asked Hika to share what she could remember about Grandpa. She was only six when he passed away, but she could remember a few things. Her memories of him were very simple, but they really demonstrated his love for us. Sometimes it’s the small and simple things that have the biggest impact.

Articles of Faith

I was talking to Sam about Grandma. He said that every day when Auola would walk to pick up Stanley from school, he would wait with Grandma. Grandma would recite the Articles of Faith with Sam. They would do this while they waited for Stanley. Sam said that there were days he didn’t want to do it and so he would watch out the window anticipating Stanley’s return. He remembers being with Grandma all the time. Because of her, he had all thirteen articles of Faith memorized by the time he was five or six.

Every night he would say prayer with Grandma before he went to bed. The night before she passed away, he went into her room and Leola and Lani were there. He could tell that they were sad, but he didn’t understand what what going on. He remembers waking up the next morning, excited for his birthday,  but learning that Grandma had already passed away.

It amazes me that the two things Sam remembers most about Grandma, is that she helped him memorize all thirteen Articles of Faith and to say prayer every night before bed. She left a strong legacy of Faith.

Twenty Dollars

Grandpa gave us, grandkids, $20 for everything. When it was our birthday, he’d give us $20. When he missed us because we hadn’t seen him for a few days, he’d give us $20. We always laugh about it now, and still wonder where he got all these $20 bills from in the first place. One of Laniola’s favorite stories about grandpa also involves $20.

“When I was younger he was always busy, in his garden or on the computer. He would come outside to watch us play a lot too! I remember one time me, Sam, and Stanley were playing basketball in the backyard and grandpa picked a line that was far away and told us, ‘If you can make a shot 3 times in a row from that line, I’ll give you $20.’ None of us made it but it was fun and he would laugh with us when we tried?”

The $20 bill still reminds me of him.

Pineapple Pie


Sunday dinner in our house is always the same. Everyone sits in their assigned seats, in an attempt to prevent fighting (I say attempt because it’s nearly impossible to get through dinner without some kind of nagging or teasing). Mom and Dad sit at the head of the table, of course. After a few jokes, a comment or two about dad’s English, and a round of ‘Thank you Mom and Dad, this is Delicious,”  – Mom begins the family discussion. We usually talk about what we learned at church that day, starting from youngest to oldest. This past Mother’s Day dinner was special though. Dad invited us to share something about our mom. Then to top it off, he shared a story about his mom – Grandma Hika (I recorded it and wrote it down, word-for-word later. This way, we get the full affect. FOB-ing out and everything). This story happened while Dad was on his mission.

“It took us about a day and a half to get there. Because once we left the island, the wind stopped. So we had to battle our way over there, hoping the wind would pick up again. And we were fasting. So we fasted and then we left in the morning and in the night time we were still going, and the next day we were still on that canoe. Then it was time for us to break our fast and we didn’t have any food. In that evening, we broke our fast. And I told my companion, ‘Well maybe the guy that was taking us can catch a fish or something so we can eat.’ But he didn’t catch anything. So it was early morning, that next day, when we got to the place where we had to stay. There was a family there that we already communicate with, they had a place for us to stay. When we got there, we were really tired and hungry. We went into the little house that they had prepared for us, and then we kneeled down and started saying prayer before we rest. And then, while in the middle of our prayer, I smelled something… food. After our prayer, we looked around. Maybe the member, somebody, brought us some food. And we couldn’t see anything. And then I got onto the little bed thing that I was going to lay down on. And there was a cloth covered, and I picked it up, and it was a pie… a pineapple pie. And I said, ‘Hmm, smell like my mom’s pie.’ And I picked it up and told my companion, ‘Hey, look at this, we got food.’ And then we ate, and then yeah, it tasted just like my mom’s. You know the upside down pie. And my companion said, ‘There is no way anybody here can make this kind of pie.’ There’s no pineapple there. We both kinda knew it was a miracle. When I ate it, I knew right away that it was my mom’s pie. I just wasn’t sure how it got there. So we still kinda asked around in the next few days, if maybe there was a possibility that someone brought us a pie, because they knew we were coming. It was a big pie and so we didn’t eat all of it, and the people that was there ate some and they said ‘Did you guys bring this with you?’ ‘No, we thought you guys brought it.’ There’s no pineapple in the Gilbert Islands.

“When I came home from my mission, and my mom told me. [He started crying] On that very same day, she cooked the pie, and it disappeared. And she prayed that maybe I would have this piece of pie.”

#ThePowerOfAMother’sLove #FaithToMoveMountains


Turning Our Hearts To Our Fathers

fb_img_1431149367321I am writing this blog in memory of Kakolosi Kioa Tui’one and Hola-ki-Finehika Brown Tui’one. I have wanted to compile a history of them for a while now and felt that this was a good opportunity to do so. My purpose for this blog is to strengthen my personal relationship with them, and allow their memory to influence our family. In Malachi 4: 5-6 it says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” As we come to know grandma and grandpa better, our hearts will turn to them. We will feel them more. We will grow in love. We will come to know ourselves better and our divine potential. And most importantly, we will come closer to our Savior.