News Release

Can I Get Baptized Now?

A woman from Kosrae takes a walk to cool off from her anger and ends up walking with a stranger that leads her to a Church fireside where she is warmed by the Spirit.


Many years ago, Permides Abraham Mongkeya from Kosrae, was kicked out of her house after a bad argument with her father.  After walking about three miles to cool off, she was joined on her walk by a very old woman.  They visited and walked together.  Eventually the conversation turned to religion. This lady introduced her to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She told Permides that this was the only true church.  Permides became mad at that statement.  At the time, she was leaning toward the Jehovah Witness religion.  She argued with the woman, but the woman answered her arguments by “opening up” the scriptures to her.  Before she realized it, they were standing outside the Church building.  The woman invited her to come in.  Permides was curious so she went inside.  The woman invited her to the fireside.  Permides thought: “What do you mean a ‘fireside’?  There is no fire.”  The woman explained to her that a ‘fireside’ is what they called this kind of meeting.  She invited Permides to sit down and listen to the speakers.  So, she did and ended up sitting in the very front row! The first speaker was an older man.  The woman explained to her that it was their mission president and told her what he did.  She said his name was President Thatcher.  As she sat there listening, she said that she remembers having all of these ‘goose bumps’ on her arms.  She said: “I felt like he was talking directly to me about the Word of Wisdom.”   President Thatcher talked about the twelve steps program that could help you quit smoking.  Permides felt something in her heart as he spoke. She said: “It felt good. Really good.”  In the middle of his talk, she saw the missionaries sitting behind her, both Elders and Sisters.  She looked back at them and said: “Can I get baptized?”  The missionaries couldn’t believe it!  They were so excited!  They began teaching her the next day.  After having the lessons for two weeks she told them: “Come on, I want to get baptized now.”  They explained to her that they could not baptize her because she was still smoking.  At the time, she was smoking four packs of cigarettes a day.  The missionaries helped her to conquer this addiction by using the twelve-step program of the Church. Through a miracle, she was able to stop smoking after three weeks and was baptized in September 1993.

Permides sent the Elders to her family home.  (Because of the strained relationship with her father, she was living with members of the Church at this time.) Her mom told her that when she opened the door and saw the missionaries, they started singing hymns.  Her mom said that it was like listening to angels.  Her mother was receptive to the missionaries and allowed them to come in their home and teach her the gospel.  She was baptized about three weeks after Permides in October 1993.  Permides also introduced her brothers and sisters to the gospel.  Most of them were not interested, but three of her brothers did accept the gospel and ended up getting baptized as well. 

The following year, she met and married her husband Mongkeya Mongkeya.  He was not interested in the gospel and would often lie to the missionaries, making excuses not listen to them.  Eventually, he did listen to them.  He told Permides that he felt different when the missionaries were teaching him the doctrines.  It all made sense to him.  He was baptized into the Church in 1994.  He hadn’t been inside of any church for over twenty years. He felt like what the missionaries taught him was true. He said: “When the missionaries taught me, I learned that the things that were lost in the Bible were found in The Book of Mormon.” At that time, he didn’t speak much English and the Book of Mormon was not yet translated into his native language of Kosraen.  The missionaries would read passages of scripture to him, and he believed what he heard in spite of the language barrier.  After he was baptized, he would go with the missionaries to teach others.  Many times, the people would say bad words in Kosraen to the missionaries that they couldn’t understand.  He would tell the people to stop and not translate what they said to the missionaries.  He said: “When I went with the missionaries, there were many people that became angry with me.  It was really bad.” His parents were angry at first, but they watched him change.  He stopped doing the bad things he had been doing and  became a better person.  He shared his testimony saying: “I believe this Church is the only true church.  This is The Church of Jesus Christ.  I know that these are the last days.  I know that through the Restoration, the Church was restored.”  Brother Mongkeya served as a branch president from 2005-2011.  He said: “I want people to know that I know that this is the true Church.” 

In March 2024, Permides and her husband and two of their children were able to go to the Yigo Guam temple and be sealed together as an eternal family.  Describing her experience in the temple, she said “I feel like I’m in a palace.  Everything is exquisite.  When I was in the temple today and going through all the motions, I felt like I just needed to repent and reconnect with the Lord.  The Church rented a bus and a hotel for us.  They got us plane tickets so my two children could receive their endowments. I saw them go through the trouble of getting us food. It’s been all about giving.  I need to repent.  Going to the temple and seeing all the smiles and kindness and all the love, I feel like this is the way I should be when I go home.  I need to repent and be more kind and be a better gentler wife and mom.  I guess I was too strict and would get frustrated when I get tired.  Coming here and witnessing all the love and sacrifice that everyone has made to be here to make us feel welcome made me realize that I wasn’t giving my all.  It makes me want to repent and try to be a better person.  A person that the Lord wants me to be.”  As she was sitting in the temple with her family she thought: “I can go on and live like this every day.  I will relive this moment every day.”  Brother Mongkeya said: “This is the second time I have come to the temple.  My wife and I were sealed in the Manila Temple years ago.  When I came to the Yigo Guam Temple, I was scared.  I was afraid that I would do something wrong.  I want to just try and do my best. I want my children to come to the temple and partake of the Spirit.  I have felt the Spirit very much in the temple.”    

Sister Mongkeya shared her testimony by saying: “When I was six years old, my mom sewed me a beautiful red dress.  I twirled in my red dress.  I was so happy.  I had a thought come to me and I asked my mom if I was in another place before I came to earth.  My mom wondered where that thought came from.”  After she joined the Church, she told her mother that her question all those years ago had finally been answered.  She said: “I was there.  I was in the preexistence.  This is the only true Church.  This is the only church that has answered all my questions.”

Her mother had a desire to meet her great-grandfather who was of European descent and was a whaler.  After Permides heard about baptisms for the dead, she told her mom that there was a way to ‘meet him’.  “This is the only Church that binds us together.  It is one of the doctrines that really strengthened my belief in this Church.  Families are forever. I love this about our Church as well as all the forgiving even though we are not perfect, we can keep on repenting and the Lord will keep on forgiving us. It’s like my husband.  He is so kind and forgiving. I’m also glad that Heavenly Father gave me these children.  They help to remind me to do better.” She has learned that it doesn’t matter how poor or how unpopular you are.  The Lord doesn’t look on the outside because every soul is of worth to Him.

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, and then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” (Moroni 10:32 The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Christ)

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.