Friday, April 26, 2013

Belonging to Heaven by Gale Sears

Belonging to Heaven

Descended from the Hawaiian royal line, Jonathan Napela became one of the first—and most influential—converts to the Church in Hawaii. A man of intelligence, social status, and wealth, he used his considerable position to further the gospel in his native land. He developed a lifelong bond of brotherhood with Elder George Q. Cannon, helping to translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian and establish a gathering place for the Hawaiian saints in Laie, Oahu. But when his beloved wife, Kitty, was stricken with leprosy, Jonathan made the defining decision of his life. He would leave his life of privilege to become her caretaker and spend the rest of his life on Molokai, the island of lepers. To those who suffered similar heartbreak and banishment, Jonathan’s self-sacrifice became their lifeline. Based on true story, this is an extraordinary novel of a man who chose love in the face of death.

Author Gale Sears

Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The Silence of God and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My Review


I listened to the book on my kindle and it turned out to be a good thing. It would have taken me forever to read the last quarter of the book through all my tears. I cried at tender moments, happy, sad and everything in between. I was on a seesaw with my emotions. I think of my hard times and they are not hard compared to what some face in the world.

I love the notes at the bottom that tell you what is true fact and where it came from. Makes journals important and keeping letters. Also like the story I had no idea on most of it. I learned a lot and felt so much with Belonging to Heaven. I really like the phrase riding on a rainbow talking about someone who died.

These characters in the book were real people who lived, loved, suffered and made a difference in a lot of lives. With this book they continue to make a positive difference by the example they lived.

The story is a historical novel that starts August 3, 1843 in Oloalu, Maui with getting ready for the marriage of Jonathan Napela and Catherine Keliikuaaina Richardson.
Than it tells George Q Cannon being in California and getting called on a mission to the Sandwich Islands at age 23. They were prospecting gold and found a vein that was enough to pay their way and personal needs, even a little to send to Utah. It was the first of miracles that they share.

It shares how they started the mission and how they decided to teach the natives they were going to have to learn the language. That their was only 12 letters in their language. The missionaries share some of their experiences through their letters and journals. Tell about some of the trials and blessings teaching the gospel. The prayers that were answered.

Elder Cannon worked to learn the language. They figured it would take about a year to learn it. Elder Cannon with hard work received the gift of tongues he could understand a lot of what he heard before that. With their efforts to learn the language opened more doors to them. He met Jonathan and began to teach him and his wife.

Jonathan was a judge and had gone to missionary school. With him opening up his house to Elder Cannon and listening to him. He started getting threatened to loosing his judge job. His minister was preaching lies against the Mormons. Jonathan before he even decided to join the Church helped them build a little Church to preach. He also wrote letters of introductions to others for Elder Cannon. He lost his job before he joined. His wife did not join but supported him.

The people of Hawaii suffered many trials one disease came through and took around 30 percent of the people. Some where saved through the power of the priesthood but not all. The church also lost around 30 percent of their members. Just thinking about all the suffering.

The last part of the book deals with lepers and what they went through. People tried to keep their family members hidden but the government came into the homes and shipped all of those with the leprosy to a remote island. Even little children they sent by themselves. Some were allowed to go and take care of their family but not too many.

Jonathon made the choice to go with his wife and the government gave him the job of taking care of a lot of the colony. Dealing with being in charge of food, welfare. The boat they went on could not even take the long boats to shore only so close than they had to get out and swim in rough waters to shore.
Most of the people could not feel their feet and hands. Some could not swim even. Jonathan was able to organize those who could help others so none were lost before they got to shore.

How bad things were once they got to the camp. They only had fresh water aways away. Their was no law and a few took from those who could not stop them.
Jonathan and a Catholic priest Father Damien worked for years taking care and building a place for those who kept being sent there. They helped each other help those in need.

I learned so much reading this book. Felt so much. Saw how much service to others is really what Jesus showed by example. Both Jonathan and Father Damien showed their love of the Savor by giving love and service to so many. How their prayers were answered. I am glad I was able to read Belonging to Heaven.

I was given this ebook to read and asked to review it on its book tour hosted by I am a reader, Not a Writer. Also by Netgalley.
Pub Date Mar 18 2013. Shadow Mountain Publishing ISBN:9781609071592

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