LORD GOD’s Promises Are Active. Fulfilling All Needs
My Faith Journey–The God Who Loves Unconditionally
QUESTION: Then, the word of the LORD spoke to Jeremiah asking, “Behold, I am the LORD, the GOD of all flesh: is there any (one) thing too hard for me (to do)?” [Jeremiah 32:27]
RESPONSE: Only a God who loves mankind unconditionally can make a promise and fulfill it seventeen years later. When God promised my abandoned mother with six little children that “my prodigal father” would return to her if she waited for him, absolutely no one believed it. I am here to share how God’s Love is unconditional and proven through testimonies in this true-to-life story.
Chapter 5: “LORD GOD’s Promises Are Active, Fulfilling All Needs”
God went the extra mile when he took on the role of “Husband” (Isa. 54:5) to my mother and provided her children with daily bread, prom gowns, and a college education for all six children. Today, as I look back at my mother’s faithful and sacrificial lifestyle, she reminds me of Proverbs 31:10: “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
From the onset of my educational career as a five-year-old, my paternal grandfather, Tūtū (casual Hawaiian for grandpa) Paleka, was the person who took the time to make sure I was guided into a career that I would be able to support myself and family if my home was left without a father-figure through divorce, accident, or premature death. In my life, he became my guardian, disciplinarian, protector, teacher-helper, role model, and moralist. He was a police officer of the County of Kauai, Territory of Hawaii, USA. He was a believer of Jesus Christ, and in his church, he had studied and attained the level of priesthood. His life and attitude said, “Every day is a new day—the Past is buried; the Future lies ahead.” He was a very just and moral man. He believed a gentleman’s handshake “seals the deal.” Therefore, a man’s “promise” is as good as gold.
A few years after moving her children to her parent’s home, my mother, Mary, humbly went to Tūtū Paleka, asking him for permission to have church meetings in the abandoned Bamboo Restaurant on his property. He gave his permission. The rent? No rent for holding a church meeting whenever they needed it. This became a new mission in 1952, sponsored by the parent-church, Koloa Assembly of God Church located about twenty miles away.
Kekaha Church [dba Westside Christian Center] flourished. When I returned from college, I became Sunday School Superintendent. Easter Sunday was a special day for the children. They dressed in their Sunday best and after church, about fifty children with Easter baskets went hunting for over a hundred eggs hidden on the landlord’s property. I also recall someone calling my attention to Tūtū Paleka’s smiling face in a window, watching the excited children searching for eggs in his front yard and the church parking lot.
Paleka was a man searching for God. He may have walked out of his former church because a white priest claimed that “a black man” would never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But Paleka knew there was a Creator, and he wanted to find Him.
Paleka Is Born Again!
A few weeks before Paleka’s death from a heart attack, my mother’s pastor and his wife were cleaning the churchyard in Koloa on a Saturday afternoon. The Spirit of God spoke to Pastor Michael Black. He said, “Go to Kekaha to visit Paleka Ono.” After a short prayer for confirmation, Michael and his wife were on their way to Kekaha Mission Church to visit the mission’s landlord. Paleka was cleaning his yard when they arrived. But he gladly invited them into his home. There, Pastor Michael began with John 3:16. “For God so loved the world….”
Paleka and Keahi knelt before the rattan sofa beside the Blacks. They repeated a sinner’s prayer. When Paleka stood, his eyes were filled with tears. He shook Pastor Michael’s hand and thanked him profusely for his prayer. Thus, one more soul was added to the Kingdom of God.
Somehow, no one thought to tell me about Tūtū’s repentance prayer until ten years later. Bro. Michael Black and his wife came to SCC in 1964 for Missionary Emphasis Week. Three of us (Ono sisters–Pat, Yvette, and Marieann) were students there. As I chatted with Bro. Michael, he shared the day Tūtū Paleka was “born again.”
Alone in my dorm room, I wept on my knees, thanking Father GOD for saving Tūtū’s soul. I remembered (between eleven to thirteen years old) the many visions of “hell fire” and Tūtū being thrown into it. “No! No! Lord, please save Tūtū. Please, GOD, please!” I begged and cried bitter tears. Then, as quickly as the burden came, it was lifted.
Tūtū Paleka died instantly of a heart attack. He lived from May 1888 to May 1956, sixty-eight years. A promise I kept in my heart (that he inspired) was to attain a college degree. I was compelled to keep this promise.
Ono Children Return to the Hawaiian Acre
After Tutu Paleka’s death, the Holy Spirit directed my mother, Mary, to move back to Kekaha, where my paternal grandmother and I resided. Mary was obedient to the Lord, even though she knew that living in Kekaha would remind her of the painful memories of her lost love.
The next period (1954-1966) was the most trying twelve years of Mary’s life. Her children were supported by the Kauai Social Services now, and she felt it was crucial that she remained a stay-home mother for the sake of her five girls and baby son. Meanwhile, every Saturday, she and her lady friends dusted, swept, and mopped the Kekaha Church floor and furnishings and set up folding chairs for Sunday services. When Solomon Jr. entered the seventh grade in Kekaha School, Mary began working as a salesclerk for Kekaha/Kuramoto Dry Goods stores in her hometown.
Kekaha Plantation town was a small, tight-knit community made up of Japanese, Portuguese, and Hawaiian families with the latest immigrants from the Philippines. As the years passed, the Kekaha Church’s Sunday School grew from six Ono children to about 35 to 50 children. Parents were willing to send their children to church because they saw the moral and sacrificial lifestyle my mother lived. One of those children (25 years later) recognized me while we were shopping for groceries in Honolulu. She inquired about my sisters. She mentioned sitting on the curb across the street (as a ten-year-old), admiring the beautiful (homemade) gowns that my sisters wore to the Junior and Senior proms. Then, she told me that her mother’s dream was that she and her sisters would become like the “Ono sisters.” She proudly said that she is a Business College graduate with a good job, (thanks to your family).” Comments like this indicated to me that, perhaps, parents did send their children to Kekaha Church because of my mother’s humble influence in the community.
“For Thy Maker is Your Husband….” (Isaiah 54:5)
MY MOTHER, MARY MACTAGONE ONO, became the most influential person in my life after Paleka passed away. She obeyed the Holy Spirit’s direction to move from her parent’s home to her ex-husband’s father’s (Paleka Ono) home, where Mama Keahi and I were living.
After almost ten years of awakening to a “quiet” home, I awoke the next morning, hearing my sisters talking, giggling, and Mami admonishing someone for her bad choice of…? Nevertheless, this was the beginning of the grand finale—a Miracle that no one in my life believed would happen. To understand the fullness of GOD’s Miracle, let’s go back to the beginning of my mother’s life and her love story.
Mary’s story began in 1920—the year that she was born. To give you a bird’s eye view of the world that Mary lived in, let’s hop, skip, and jump through the years of her life, highlighting the happy as well as heart-breaking moments that left her feeling all alone.
Some called it the “empty nest syndrome.” This is how mothers feel when their youngest child leaves for college. A home with six children is seldom quiet and serene. Therefore, when Mary’s son left for college in 1966, her father-in-law’s 2100 sq. ft. house felt like a “hollowed-out pumpkin,” and oh, so lonely. But don’t misunderstand…she still had her eighty-year-old mother, her sixty-year-old mother-in-law, and her oldest daughter, Patricia (twenty-five years old), living with her at this time.
We find her scooping out pumpkin seeds to bake pumpkin pies for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Her thoughts went back fifteen years. She recalled receiving the heart-breaking letter from her husband. He was her first and only love. Except, this wasn’t a love letter. Instead, he wrote to her from California, encouraging her to file for divorce and that he would not contest it.
Two years later in 1953, a wealthy widower in her hometown proposed marriage. He promised to help her raise her children. She remembered him as the older boy in elementary school who pulled her braided pigtails and teasingly sang to her, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, I’m going to marry Mary.” She would snub him and walk away. Now, twenty years later, he was proposing marriage. What should she do? She was still in love with her husband, Solomon.
She read her Bible and prayed daily (as was her custom) and asked GOD, “What should I do?” She reasoned out the pros and cons of marrying him, but the bottom line could not erase the love she felt for her ex-husband. After a month or so of thinking and asking GOD every morning, “What shall I do, Lord?” the Lord answered in a small quiet voice within her.
He asked, “Whom do you love?”
Mary responded, “Oh, LORD, you know the answer to that. I love Solomon, but he is married to someone else now. And Mark promises to help me raise my children.”
She heard the LORD reply, “Solomon will return if you wait for him. Meanwhile, I will help you raise your children.”
Not many days later, this message was confirmed when Mary read Isaiah chapter 54 (TLB).
While reading verse 5, all GOD’s words came flooding back. “He (GOD) would be her husband until Solomon returned.” She felt overwhelmed with gratitude. Tears overflowed from the deepest part of her being. It would truly be a dream come true.These verses became the “foundation” of her faithful heart. She stood on it for the next fifteen years as she took her children to worship on Sundays, went to Prayer Meetings on Wednesdays, and served as Sunday School Superintendent and teacher.
Just before Thanksgiving 1966, Mary was in the kitchen baking pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving dinner. Feeling very alone, she recalled the past seventeen years of her life. She talked to the Lord as she worked with her hands.
“Lord, I have done what you asked me to do. I have raised my children in Your House, teaching them to love You as I do—my one and only true GOD. Now, my last and only son has gone to college.” (She wept as loneliness surrounded her.) Reprimanding herself for being weak, she quickly wiped away the tears, thinking happy thoughts of how her children had made her proud… her thoughts returned to her lonely state.
Mary prayed, “Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes, would you please grant me a special gift this Christmas? Thank you, Lord.”
Her heart was missing the presence of her children. Nothing, at that moment, could bring solace to Mary’s heart. It was seventeen years since Solomon abandoned her.
Solomon Answered GOD’s Call!
Unbeknown to Mary, the Lord had already been working in another person’s life—ex-husband Solomon. His second wife’s unfaithfulness was exposed one day when he returned home to retrieve his forgotten briefcase. A short time later, he transferred from Los Angeles to Northern California and rented a cottage near his worksite, Good Humor Ice Cream Company.
On Sunday mornings, Solomon and a friend went fishing. Several times while he sat on his front steps with his fishing gear waiting for his friend, an older woman with white hair walked by. She greeted him and invited him to church. Solomon promised that one day, he would take up her offer.
After an early dinner alone one Sunday afternoon, Solomon decided to go for a walk. It was a cool late afternoon—about six o’clock. As he walked, he heard music…church music that brought back memories of long ago. It was coming from a little white church building at the corner of the block where he lived. Well, he had nowhere to go, so he decided to go in and listen to the music. He planned to leave after the singing ended. He sat on an empty pew inside the church, enjoying the music. The singing was with gusto…he liked that.
Between songs, people said “Hallelujah” quite often. This was new to him, so he just listened. When the praises subsided, a woman’s voice called out his name: “Solomon Paleka Ono…” and continued to speak in the Hawaiian language. He waited, expecting someone to explain what the lady said since he couldn’t translate her message. But no one moved. Then, the singing continued.
Solomon wasn’t ready to leave after the singing stopped. He sat and listened to the pastor’s message, but no explanation of the Hawaiian language was mentioned.
At the end of the service, the pastor stood at the entrance saying farewell to people. Shaking the pastor’s hand, Solomon asked, “Sir, who is the Hawaiian lady you have in your church?”
With a puzzled look on his face, the pastor replied, “We do not have anyone who is Hawaiian in our congregation.” But Solomon was sure that someone called out his name–Solomon Paleka Ono. The voice also spoke in the Hawaiian language of his parents.
Solomon’s persuasive words brought back a memory. “Oh! Will you wait here for me?” Pastor asked. “I will be right back.” The pastor turned and walked quickly towards the altar of the church. He returned with a short, stout older Mexican woman. “This is Maria,” he said. “Maria is from Mexico and does not speak English very well. She washes and irons clothes for a living. She is also filled with the Spirit of God and speaks in Tongues. When she spoke in Hawaiian, her native language receded, and the Holy Spirit within her became her voice.” After an exchange of niceties with Maria, Solomon was convinced that her limited language abilities proved that she truly didn’t know the Hawaiian language. So began his search for the Power that emanated from this simple woman’s voice. Was it God? He wanted to know more about Speaking in Tongues. In the following months, Solomon accepted Jesus as God’s Son and was baptized in water. He was ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit and Fire (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16). He asked, “What must I do to be filled with the Holy Spirit and Speak in Tongues?”
After several months of Bible Study on the Holy Spirit, Solomon learned to pray on his knees facing his bed at night. After reading his Bible, he prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Then, after expressing all that was on his mind to God, he would pause and ask the Lord, “Please fill me with your Holy Spirit.” With his hands raised up over his head, he waited quietly on the Lord. After a few minutes, he said, “Well, Lord, I guess tonight’s not the night for me to receive your Holy Spirit. But I will ask again tomorrow. Thank you, Lord, and good night.”
His prayer time was regularly at ten o’clock at night. One night, at midnight, he was awakened by a thunderous voice, that summoned him to his knees, “Solomon! Get up! This is the day you will be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
He quickly moved into his kneeling position and said, “I am ready, Lord.” Then, he opened his mouth and said, “Hallelujah” twice, which is the Hebrew word for “Praise the Lord.” And, out of his mouth flowed a babbling sound like a baby. He was praying and he had nothing to do with the formation of sounds that came forth. A powerful urge from his belly was producing sounds that meant nothing to him. At the same time, he felt so humbled and unworthy of the Great Love that flowed over him from the top of his head to his feet. It felt like electrical currents… or chicken skin… combined with a shaking within his belly. Was this God? Whatever it was, he didn’t want it to stop. Nothing in his life could compare with the awesomeness of what his pastor called, “…filled with the Holy Spirit and Fire.”7
“Go Home, Son! Your Wife Is Waiting for You!
The Spirit of God’s next command came from two visiting pastors (who knew nothing of Solomon’s past). These messages were delivered several years apart, but each message was “one and the same.” Maureen Gagliardi, author of The Path of the Just, Volume I & II (1963), was the first pastor. [While she conducted a week of services, Solomon bought and devoured her books and studied the Tabernacle of Moses so well, that in Heaven’s Library, he now teaches classes on it to saints who come, inquiring about it.]
Solomon met Pastor Maureen Gagliardi as he was leaving the church after a service. Pastor Gagliardi shook his hand, but she didn’t release it. Instead, she said, “You are not from here, are you?”
Solomon responded, “No. I was born in Hawaii.”
Gagliardi continued: “The Lord would have me say to you, ‘Go home. Your wife is waiting for you.’”
Shocked by this command, in the privacy of his home, Solomon cried out to God. “Please, God, how can I do this? I left my wife Mary with six babies. I am worse than a dog. How can I go back home now? Everyone hates me for what I have done to her. To go back home and ask her for forgiveness would be like a dog going back with his tail between his legs. I am so ashamed. How can I do this? Is there any other way?”
Solomon did nothing. He found out, through visiting ministers, that three of his daughters were in Southern California (Bible) College.
Then, a second guest speaker came to minister at this church. After service, he shook hands with Solomon and (almost verbatim) asked him where he was from. (Hawaii.) He advised, “My son, go home. Your wife is waiting for you.”
By November 1966, Solomon was convinced, to fulfill the Divine Will of God in his life, he had to “go home.” With no other options, he wrote to Mary, asking for her forgiveness. He had become a Christian and asked her to forgive him for all the pain he caused in her life. If she (Mary) said it was okay for him to return to Kauai, he would ask his birth mother, Alice Makaawaawa Akita, to allow him to live with her for a while. (Alice welcomed him home.) So, the letter was written to Mary and dropped into a mailbox.
Finale: A Thanksgiving Wish Became a Christmas Gift
I sat down for breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate and toast on this clear, sunlit morning. Mami’s (children’s pet name for mother) cup of coffee preceded my arrival. After checking on her mother’s well-being, she joined me to finish her cup of coffee. Between moments of silence, Mami pushed a plain white envelope towards me. “Read it,” she said calmly.
I opened the envelope and read the letter she received the day before. When I looked up at her in amazement. Mami asked me, “What should I do?”
“What do you mean… ‘What should I do?’ This is the Miracle God promised you… that we have believed for…prayed for…and waited for.” From the day my mother shared with me that God promised that Dad would return home to her “IF she waited for him,” I had no doubt, for a moment, that he would return home to her. Throughout the years I was away in college, I was considered “a dreamer” when I shared that my dad would walk me down the aisle on my wedding day…especially when they found out that he was already gone for over ten years.
“Write to him, Mom,” I urged. “Give him permission to come home. (Pause) Wait. Do you still love him, Mom?”
She nodded her head and wept. It seemed like a lifetime since he left. But, our Heavenly Father, the All-Knowing God, had kept His promise.
GOD’s Promises Are Active, Fulfilling Every Need (Phil. 4:19)
After Solomon remarried Mary, they joined the sales force of Shaklee Corporation. In the next five years, they attained the highest level—Shaklee Diamond Key Coordinators. At the same time, Sol’s Army of God evangelistic meetings attracted attention as people who were healed spread the word to their friends and families. A FGBM Voice magazine reporter asked and wrote about his life (Voice, Dec. 1972 “The Prodigal Returns”). Long story short, he served as President of the Hawaii chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association until he and Mom were called to the field of evangelism. Sol and Mary Ono traveled throughout the United States for three years, establishing churches in South Carolina and Honolulu. At the end of his three-year tour, they returned to Honolulu and became founders of Gospel Assembly Church.
My thirteen-year-old daughter played the piano for Gospel Assembly worship services. The sermons and healing service were most impactful upon her. When Grandpa Nakama came to church specifically to ask Pastor Ono to pray for him, Daughter stood close by with her brother (7) because she was determined to “see” this miracle take place. (She didn’t close her eyes when Pastor Ono prayed.)
Sitting on the front pew, Grandpa explained that he was suffering excruciating back pains from (rheumatoid) arthritis. He could hardly stand or walk straight. Knowingly, Pastor Ono placed a chair before Nakama and sat on it. He lifted Nakama’s legs and pushed them against the back of the wooden pew with all his might, so Nakama’s back was straight up against the pew. Pastor held his two feet together. Shockingly, one leg was about six inches shorter than the other.
Then, Pastor Ono closed his eyes and began praying in Tongues (Hebrew language). Amazingly, at the sound of Yeshua’s (Christ) name, the shorter right leg visibly lengthened, matching the length of the left leg. In a few seconds, Grandpa Nakama was healed. He stood and walked around claiming no pains. That day, the Almighty GOD of the Bible proved that “Healing is for Today!”
Mary Welcomed into the City Gates of Heaven
My mother passed away in January 1996. From Dad’s return in January 1967 to the day Mom passed away in 1996, they enjoyed an additional twenty-nine years of marriage, for a grand total of thirty-nine years. Sixteen years later, Dad passed away from a massive heart attack that his attending doctors said should have stopped his heart immediately. Instead, God allowed him to live about a month longer to “put his house in order.” Solomon’s words in his obituary revealed his heart…. “He devoted most of his later life to Bible study and spreading the Word of God. A passionate evangelist, he was an active member of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association, evangelizing throughout the United States, and establishing churches in South Carolina and Honolulu. He dedicated The Army of God training album to his wife and children, “…who prayed and believed for my salvation for many years even though it seemed like a hopeless dream. My thanks to you, my wonderful family, for praying for me into the most fulfilling way of life.
Walking with God: Our Journeys in Faith
[First Edition E-Book, © 3 March 2022]
By Patricia Piilani Ono Nakama, et.al.