Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore has long been home to some of the world’s best surfers, best waves and some of the world’s premier surfing competitions. Now it is also the home to a growing presence of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii.
Last September, the Sunset Beach YSA Branch was officially formed from the Laie YSA 4th Ward and the Laie YSA 13th Ward (recently renamed the Lanihuli YSA Ward) in the Laie Hawaii YSA 1st Stake. In just 10 months, the branch has gone from fewer than 20 people to more than 90 as a result of the numerous outreach efforts of all the branch members.
The first meeting for the newly formed branch was held on Sept. 8, 2013, on the BYU-Hawaii campus. It was a day that branch clerk Roman Pearl admitted was “pretty discouraging.”
“[It was] hard to get people there. I was still doubtful in the beginning,” he said. “But we stuck with it and developed more faith.”
Three months after the first meeting, the small branch secured a new meeting location — a recreation center right on Sunset Beach, in the middle of all the surfers and tourists flocking to the beach to catch the waves. Brother Pearl said the area has “the most beautiful beaches [and] most beautiful waves. It draws people from all over the world.” With that, though, the area has bars, clubs and lots of parties.