News Release

“If We Do This, There Is No Turning Back!”

A couple from Pohnpei discover the truths of the gospel and never looks back.

Edward's 2024 from Pohnpei
Edward's 2024 from Pohnpei
Eliza and Ozimy Edward© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Eliza Edward is from the island of Pingalap but has lived in Pohnpei all her life.  Her husband, Ozimy Edward is from the Sokehs village on Pohnpei. In their early years, they lived with his parents in Sokehs. They often saw missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around town.  The Church was not well-known in that part of Pohnpei at the time.  The Edward’s had heard stories about the Church from their friends and some of the other churches.  They were told to stay away from “the Mormons”.  Ozimy’s mother told them not to let the missionaries from this Church into their home.  They didn’t allow other churches to preach to them.  Eliza respected her mother in-law and did not talk to the missionaries in the house or in front of the house.  She would talk to the missionaries on the road. Her own father was different.  He welcomed anyone from any of the other churches into their home to teach the gospel as long as they were teaching about the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

In 2012, Eliza had to go to the Philippines for heart surgery.  When she returned to Pohnpei, her and her husband could no longer live at his parent’s house.  The doctor told her that she could not climb stairs at that time.  They moved into her grandfather’s house where there weren’t any stairs. She began to welcome the missionaries into their home.  Ozimy did not want to talk to them. He would go out the back door so they wouldn’t see him.  The missionaries asked Eliza if they could talk with her husband.  She told them that she would not force him to learn about the Church, but she would ask him.  She said that she would let him make his own choice whether to come to the lessons or not.  She had been talking with him about the Church and what the missionaries were teaching her.  She told him: “I cannot teach you everything, but if you want to learn more, you can join me and ask them your questions.” Sometimes, Ozimy did join the lessons.  Sister Edward asked the missionaries if they could bring the older senior couple missionaries to teach them.  She wondered if she could really trust what the younger missionaries were teaching her.  She said: “I told them that I want to hear from someone older, perhaps wiser.”  She explained that she believed what the younger missionaries were teaching, but she felt like she needed to hear from some older missionaries who had lived the gospel longer.  Elder and Sister Chandler from Utah came with the young missionaries. (They also invited some members of the Church to come and visit with them around this same time.) Eliza said: “I remember the time when the Chandler’s came to our house.  We only had one light bulb in the room for light at night.  As they started teaching, the bulb went out.  We tried turning the light switch on and off, but it didn’t seem to work.  It was dark.  The stores were all closed at that time of night.  There was a full moon, so we opened the door to let the light into our home.  It was so bright! We realized that we didn’t need the lightbulb after all!  It seemed to be as bright as day!  When the couple started talking about the gospel, I could really feel the Spirit and the difference in the room.  It was so strong!”  With tears in her eyes, she continued: “I had felt the Spirit with the younger missionaries, but that night, it was so much stronger!  I couldn’t believe how strong the Spirit was!  I thought to myself that ‘yes’, I had found the right church, the really true church.  I had never felt that kind of feeling before.”  They had visited with members of other churches, but she explained that she had never felt like that.  It was so different. She said: “When the Chandler’s began to talk to us, it was a very different experience.”  After the missionaries left, she and Ozimy discussed what they had felt and what they had learned.  Not too long after this experience, they found out that the Chandler’s would be finished with their mission and return home to Utah in December.  Eliza said: “I didn’t want anyone else to baptize me except for Elder Chandler!” He had touched her heart with his spirit.  Her husband agreed and they set a date in December 2014 to be baptized. With conviction in her voice, she told her husband: “If we do this, there is no turning back.  No family can come and tell us no, and no one come change our minds.”  Ozimy agreed, and they moved forward with the baptisms.  The missionaries asked them to speak with their families about their decision to be baptized.  Eliza talked to her father, and he said: “Well, I’m not the one to take you to heaven!  It is your decision.  Whatever decision you make, you need to make sure it is the right decision.  Don’t make decisions that you will regret one day.  If you make it today, then you make sure it is the right church.”  She bore her testimony to her dad saying: “I know this is the right church.” Her father told her that he was not against her decision.  This made her so happy.  Her mother agreed with her father as well.

Ozimy’s story is a little different.  He was raised in a protestant home.  His father was a pastor for the church.  He has three brothers and two sisters.  They were all raised hearing his parents tell them that this was the only church that any of them would ever join. His parents did teach him to love Jesus Christ, of which he is so grateful.  When he finally decided to listen to the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it was so different from the way he had been raised.  The things they taught him really changed his life.  He remembers one lesson where the missionaries were teaching about baptisms for the dead.  That was something new to him.  At first, he didn’t believe them.  He kept listening to them and learning more. He said: “When Elder Chandler talked about the priesthood and the power that men can have, I was amazed.  It really touched my heart.  All the teachings really stirred my heart and mind.” He asked his wife if the missionaries could come back and said: “I want to learn more.” 

Around this same time, Eliza had a sister who had joined the Church earlier and had received her mission call.  They had a big dinner and celebration for her before she left.  They invited the Chandler’s and all the missionaries on the island to come and celebrate with them.  Ozimy remembers everyone singing ‘God Be With You Till We Meet Again’.  He said: “During that song, I felt the Spirit so strong.  I started to cry. It was then that the Spirit spoke to my heart and told me that this was the true Church.”  Brother Edward said that he is very grateful for the gospel now in their lives. 

After he was baptized, all his siblings stopped talking to him.  It was a really hard time.  They even stopped ‘talking’ to him on Facebook!  He didn’t hear from anyone in his family for a very long time. His older brother tried to convince him not to join the church.  He cried and pleaded with them both not to join the church.  Sister Edward explained to him that they had already decided, and they were not going back on that decision.  He told them: “When something goes wrong in the church, you will come back to the protestant church!”  Sister Edward chuckling said: “And you know what?  Nothing went wrong!  It was just perfect!”  They still have relatives that are against the church.  They still ask them why they joined the Church.  Early on, it was hard to talk to them, but they don’t mind telling them now.  They know that this is the true Church on the earth today.  When their family starts asking about the church, they share their testimonies with them.  Eventually, they began talking to them again.  Other people told him and his wife that they had changed.  Ozimy became the bishop of their ward.  His siblings even called him ‘Bishop’! He said: “I’ve done things that I’m not proud of, but I’m so grateful for the Church and the gospel.” His father passed away when he was eight years old. He feels extremely blessed to have grown up in a home with a dad who taught him how to follow Jesus Christ at a young age.

They are grateful for the things they have learned such as eternal families and the plan of salvation.  After joining the Church, the Edward’s were sealed in the Manila Philippines temple.  While there, they were able to do his father’s temple work. They became excited to do their family history work.    

When they joined the church, their daughter was twelve years old and attending the Protestant church.  They didn’t want to force her to join the Church.  They told her that it was her decision.  They felt like it was important for her to gain her own testimony.  When she would attend the Protestant church, many people would tell their daughter: “We feel so sorry for your parents.  They just made the wrong decision.”  She would come home and tell them what the people said.  They told her: “We don’t care what others say about us.  We know that we have found the true Church.”  One year after Eliza and Ozimy were baptized, this same daughter was baptized and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Their son is a lot younger than his sister.  He was also baptized when he was old enough. When he got baptized, they invited all their relatives to his baptism, particularly Eliza’s family.  They did come and witnessed the baptism.  Sister Edward said: “They were amazed that our church did baptism by immersion because in the Protestant church, it was just done by sprinkling. They kept asking why they should be baptized again to join this church.  They said that they were already baptized once.”  Sister Edward told them “That wasn’t baptism!  That was sprinkling water!” She showed them in the Bible about Jesus getting baptized.  She explained: “You have to go down into the water to be baptized.”

Sister Edward said: “Sometimes I just want to go and preach the gospel to my family.  I know that they know that it’s true, but there is something that is holding them back.  I just give them time.  Whenever we video chat online, I try to ask them questions about what they think about the Church. They have so many questions!” She said that she tries to show them the answers using the Bible.  She’ll show them verses in the Bible explaining the truth.  She stated: “Everything that they want to know about the Church whether it’s true or not, can be found in the Bible.” She knows that one day, her family will discover that the Church is true. 

Brother Edward said that his family believed that they were worshipping Joseph Smith and not Jesus Christ.  He also thought this before he joined the Church.  He said: “I realized that I was wrong to judge people of the church.”  Sometimes he overhears people in their village talking about this very thing.  He shares his testimony to them and says: “We do not worship Joseph Smith.  We worship God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.  We begin our prayers by addressing our Father in Heaven and end our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ.”  He has come to realize that most people only believe what they hear from others who don’t know the truth.  “I try to tell others that Joseph Smith was a prophet like Moses. I know that this is the true Church.”

They’ve both learned that there are things in the Bible that they’ve never heard about or been taught.  They feel like they missed a lot of things in the Bible until they joined the Church.  Brother Edward said: “When the missionaries were teaching me, the tears would just start to roll down my face.  I didn’t know what was happening.  I became emotional all the time! They were good feelings—happy feelings.”

Eliza works in the young women organization in the Panasang Ward, teaches self-reliance, seminary, and institute.  She said: “The more I read and the more I learn, the more truth I find.  In my heart, I know that this is the true Church.  I just keep on reading because I know that whatever I am looking for, I will find it in the scriptures. I continue to ponder and pray.”

Brother Edward served as a bishop and is now serving as the first counselor in the Pohnpei Stake presidency.  He works for the Department of Education as a data operator and collects data for the schools.

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