News Release

“Please Give Me One Good Woman”

A widow's prayer is answered in finding a good woman


Stevenson and Lerryte Herman are from the beautiful island of Pohnpei. They can still be considered ‘newlyweds’ because they just got married in October 2023. He is from the village of Kitti and she is from Madolenihmw.

Before Stevenson joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he would often meet with the missionaries.  He became good friends with these missionaries. Every time that the missionaries tried to teach him about the Church though, he’d run away from them.  He didn’t want to hear about it.  His friends had told him that the Church of Jesus Christ was very bad for people.  He told the missionaries that he had made a promise to his friends that he would not join the Church.  He said: “Me and my first wife would always argue and do bad things in our house.  My wife wanted us to pray to God and ask Him to help us so that we could have a good family...a better family.  We did pray. One day right after our prayer, two missionaries knocked on our door! They wanted to give us a lesson.  I told them that I didn’t want to hear their lessons.”  The missionaries left but returned on another day. His wife asked him if the missionaries came back if they could let them inside their house. He agreed.  The missionaries did return and were invited into their home.

The first lesson that the missionaries taught them was about the importance of families.  They taught them how the gospel can help their family be better.  Stevenson said: “My wife and I just looked at each other and were surprised that our prayer was answered.  From that time on, the missionaries continued to come to our house and teach us more about the gospel.  We could really feel the Spirit. My wife and I and our kids were baptized in 2013.”  At that time there were only six members of the Church in his community. Because his community didn’t have enough members to make a branch or a ward, the church leaders wanted to make it a unit.  Brother Stevenson was called to be the unit leader. This was hard for him because he didn’t know how to write or read very well.  He asked the missionaries at that time to conduct the sacrament meetings.  He presided but was not comfortable standing at the pulpit in front of the congregation.  Six months later, all the missionaries serving in his unit left.  He didn’t know what to do.  Before they left, he asked one of them to please make an agenda for him so he could follow what they did.  He would go home and study a lot.  He said he was grateful that his wife gave him the time he needed to study and learn.  He would start studying at 4:00 in the afternoon and continue until about 3:00 the next morning.  He did this every night and tried his best, not only to learn to read and write, but also to learn English.  That was eleven years ago.  He can now speak English, read, write and stand in front of people to conduct the meetings.  He said that he is thankful for this Church for teaching him all these things and more. 

His wife got sick and passed away three years ago.  He made a promise to himself that he would not marry again for one year. After that first year, he felt ready to marry again.  He asked his son to help him get on Facebook because he didn’t know how to set it up.  His son helped him and soon he added one “friend” after another.  Some friends were not members of the Church, so he started teaching them the gospel.  He said: “I prayed and asked God if I was to marry again and have another family, would He please give me one good woman who could help me.  If not, can I be one of the temple workers?” After his prayer, he felt like he needed to marry again.  One day he saw a picture of a pretty woman named Lerryte on his Facebook page.  (They had known each other when they were younger.)  He added her to his list of growing friends.  The first thing that she sent him was a scripture in Matthew from the Bible.  He laughed and asked her: “Do you know what this scripture means? Was this before or after Christ?” She didn’t have an answer.  She said: “I only read scriptures.  I don’t know if this was before or after Christ!” From then on, they began to share more scriptures with each other. They continued to get to know each other online.  Stevenson said that sometimes they would even argue online.  One day, Lerryte, after an argument “blocked” him!  He got frustrated and began “talking” to another woman online.  But his feelings for Lerryte were strong and he couldn’t quit thinking about her.  One day she changed her profile and sent him a message. He wasn’t sure who it was because there wasn’t a picture with the profile. The words that were written sounded like they were someone who knew him.  He discovered that it was Lerrtye!  They “talked” for about an hour and then he “blocked” her! It didn’t last long though and before long they were back to being “friends” again.  

Stevenson prayed to God and asked Him if this was true love that he was feeling toward Lerryte and if it was, should he marry her? It felt right, so he asked Lerryte if they could get married.  Lerryte didn’t think they could because she was a protestant, and he was not.  She told him that she would go to her church, and he would go to his.  He asked her why she couldn’t go with him to his church.  She told him that she could join any church except his.  He tried talking to her about the gospel and would share his testimony. He prayed for her heart to soften about the Church and about getting married.  Once again, he asked her if they could get married. This time, she agreed.  He gathered up his family and they went to her village to ask her family if they could get married.  Her family agreed and they got married that same day by the second counselor in the stake presidency! 

The first Sunday after getting married, Brother Stevenson woke up at 5:00 am as he was accustomed to doing on Sundays.  Lerryte asked him what he was doing.  He told her: “I am preparing to go to Church.”  She said: “Why? Why don’t you please stay at home and worship?”  He explained to her that the Church teaches that we need to go to Church every Sunday.  He said: " I didn’t invite her to go, but one of Lerryte’s daughters asked if she could go with me."   Before they left, he asked his wife which church she wanted to go to, and he would drive her there.  She answered: “Why?  You don’t want me to go with you?” He told her that he would really like her to go with him, but she had her agency to choose.  He would not force her.  She ended up going with him and her daughter to the Kitti Branch where he always went.  That Sunday happened to be a testimony meeting where people can get up and share their testimonies of the gospel with each other. After the sacrament, the branch president invited anyone who wanted to come up front and share their testimonies.  Lerryte had never seen or heard of this before.  She told him on the way home: “That is a very good thing that your church teaches people how to bear their testimonies.”  Stevenson had also gotten up to bear his testimony.  He reached over to her and took her hand and said tenderely: “Kalahngan, for coming.” (Kalahngan is “thank you” in Pohnpein.) He felt so happy that his wife was willing to support him.

One day, the stake president gave them an assignment.  Lerryte was not a member of the Church. They were asked to go with the young adults to help chaperone them on Nahlap Island for an activity. This was Lerryte’s first time to join the members for an activity.  They spent the night there along with President Ozimy (Stake Presidency counselor) and Sister Eliza Edward, and Elder and Sister Hirschi. (senior couple missionaries) The next morning, Lerryte woke up and said that she wanted to get baptized today…in the ocean!  It made everyone so happy!  They explained to her that before she could get baptized, she needed to have the missionary lessons.  She began the lessons as soon as they returned home.  Two of her children joined her in the lessons. It wasn’t long before Lerryte and two of her children were baptized in October of 2023.  She has become a strong member in the branch and a blessing to her husband. 

Stevenson has been a branch president and is now serving as a counselor in the stake presidency.  He said that he really loves this Church.  It helps him to be a better person, husband, and father. Between him and his wife, they have ten children. Not all their children are members of the Church yet, but they have hope and pray that one day they will be.  He hopes that one day they will all be able to go to the temple and be sealed together as a family forever.  He has a testimony of eternal families.  He shares his testimony and scriptures with them.  One of his son’s attends the protestant church with his family.  He got up one Sunday and shared with his congregation the scripture that his father had shared with him from the Book of Mormon.  The congregation liked it and asked him afterwards where he found that scripture!

Lerryte had attended many different Protestant churches.  Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often stopped by her house to share a message.  Many times, she pretended not to be home.  Her oldest son was in an accident one day and blacked out.  During that time, he had a dream or a vision where he saw two “Mormon” missionaries in white shirts and badges.  The first thing he said when he woke up was “Mormons”.  Neither of them forgot this. 

Herman's from Pohnpei 2024
Herman's from Pohnpei 2024
Lerryte Herman with her granddaughter© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

She said that she had prayed before but never out loud or in front of other people.  She has learned so much and has grown in confidence since becoming a member of this Church.  She now serves as a counselor in the Young Women’s presidency in the Sapwalap Branch.  (Their membership records were transferred from Kitti to Sapwalap due to where they presently lived.  Lerryte didn’t understand and wanted to keep attending the Kitti Branch.  Stevenson tried his best to explain the procedure to her and finally she decided it was alright.) It was hard for her to stand in front of people and teach or bear her testimony, but it is becoming easier the more she has done it.  President Stevenson said he is so grateful for his beautiful wife and all that she has learned in the gospel.  He said that she now knows the scriptures better than he does.  Lerryte said that the first testimony meeting she attended, her heart was really touched the most by all the children that stood and bore their testimonies.  She used to hide in the car when they went to church so other people would not see her.  Now, she sits up tall and wants everyone to know that she is not ashamed to be a member of this Church.

Because of President Stevenson’s calling, he often must attend other wards or branches and also has lots of meetings.  Lerryte and some of their children always go with him, attend those sacrament meetings, and patiently wait for his meetings to be over.  Sometimes this could be eight or nine hours before they can return home.  His wife and children never complain.  Stevenson said he recently took his wife’s hand again and said: “Kalahngan.  Thank you for supporting me.”  The gospel has helped them be more kind and loving toward each other.  It is easier to repent and forgive each other because of the gospel.  Their hearts have been changed. They have learned that actions speak louder than words.  They look forward to being sealed together in the Yigo Guam Temple in October 2024 for their one-year wedding anniversary. 


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