News Release

A Son Listens to His Mother’s Council to Stay with the Church

John becomes a passionate member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after following his mother’s example and advice

Ngriked's 2023
Ngriked's 2023
John and Angeline Ngriked were sealed in the Yigo Guam Temple December 2023© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

John Ngiraked’s mother kept seeing two young men with nice white shirts, ties, and name tags walking all over Koror, Palau.  She watched as their clothes became dirty and worn out.  At first, she thought that they were United Nation workers working on a project in Palau.  One day she stopped the young men and asked them who they were.  They introduced themselves as missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She thought it was strange as she looked at their name tags that they both had the same first name of “Elder”!  She discovered that they were only 19–20-year-olds.  She was impressed that they would be willing to travel all over the world and even to the island of Palau to teach the word of God.  She invited them to her home for lunch.  She went to the store to get some vegetables and other food and asked her son, John, to help fix lunch for them.  He had also seen the missionaries around town but was never interested in talking to them or hearing what they had to say.  They taught his mother the gospel and eventually taught her sister.  His mother was baptized and a short while later her sister was also baptized.

His cousin, Ben Roberto joined the Church as well and soon he desired to be a missionary. Ben was forty-one years old, and several people thought that he was too old to serve a mission. The Lord wanted him to be a missionary and he was set apart as missionary a short time after his baptism.  One of Ben’s missionary companions was a young man from Japan by the name of Masaru Okuda who would later become the mission president of the Micronesia Guam mission in 2022!  It was Ben and Elder Okuda who were the first missionaries to teach John about the gospel. 

John had grown up in a very strong religious home.  As he got older, he studied Buddhism like his sister when he lived in Hawaii for a short time.  He had also been baptized into the Baptist Church.  He always believed that there was a God, but never really knew who He was.  He said he remembered that Elder Okuda was always so happy and smiling as he taught the gospel.  He enjoyed the time they spent together, even though it wasn’t long before Elder Okuda was transferred.  The missionaries challenged him to come to church, but he didn’t feel ready.  They asked him to pray about it and to do it on his knees.  A couple of days later he did what they asked, and he prayed on his knees.  He said: “I didn’t really know what to say in my prayer.  I asked if the Book of Mormon was true.  I really felt in my heart that it was true!”  He had never done anything like this before.  As of that time, he had only read passages from the Book of Mormon that the missionaries showed him.  In his heart he could feel that the things they were teaching him were true, but it was hard for him to tell other people what he was feeling.  Several months after being taught the gospel, he knocked on the missionary’s door about 6:30 in the morning with the announcement that he wanted to get baptized!  Elder Henderson, who had taken Elder Okuda’s place, baptized him in 1986. 

His life completely changed after that.  Unfortunately, two years later, his first marriage fell apart, and he became inactive.  He focused all his energy on taking care of his children.  He said that he never lost his faith and testimony of the gospel in spite of his inactivity.  He said: “I knew that the Church was true.” 

Another cousin, Rebluud Kesolei, was also a member of the Church.  He came to his house to teach and try to reactivate John again.  A member of the Palau branch, Jerry Knight, also came with him.  He really enjoyed the personal visits and how these men became dear friends.  Jerry didn’t come to preach the gospel but would share a message or thought that he had learned. It was the beginning of his return to activity in the church.  Sadly, Rebluud and Roberto have both passed away now and Jerry Knight is living in the United States and is getting old.  These people were very influential in helping him remember the covenants he had made at his baptism.  His wife now, has also been a very faithful and good example for him.  Before his mother passed away, she said: “John, stay with the Church.  This is what will help you.”  He listened to her and has stayed in the Church. He learned about the ordinances of the temple and was able to go to the temple and perform the ordinances for his parents.  He and his wife, Angie, were able to be sealed in the Yigo Guam Temple in December 2023. 

John said that being a latter-day saint in Palau is not easy.  Satan seems to always be throwing darts.  Over the years, John has tried to take all the negative things that Satan has tried to throw his way and turn them into positives.  He said: “The Lord is always looking out after me. I have learned that the process of staying active is being converted again every day.  The process of conversion is ongoing, and I like that.  I’m grateful that the gospel means daily conversion. I pray in the morning and throughout the day that conversion is taking place in my life.”  He stated that some of the challenges that come his way are expected and some are not.  “I have found that sometimes those that are closest to you challenge you the most.  I know that Lucifer (Satan) is real, and he is powerful along with his legions. I would humbly ask and hope that everyone investigates the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon.  It is true.  I want people to know that we have a prophet on the earth today by the name of Russell M. Nelson and he is the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We are so blessed to have someone who has the priesthood keys to receive revelation.  If we are struggling, just find out what the prophet has said.  His words will guide us and help us.  His words will also lead us to the Savior and eventually to God as well.  We have to follow him.  I cherish my membership in this Church.  I know that the Savior lives.  He’s awesome!  I know that He died for me.  I have seen miracles throughout my life.  It’s great to be a Latter-day Saint!”

John currently serves as a high councilman in the Barrigada Guam Stake.  He also helps his wife with the self-reliance programs in their Palau branch. John is passionate about the gospel and finds great joy in sharing his testimony with others.  He knows from experience that oftentimes, it is the one-on-one visits (true ministering), that can make all of the difference.

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