Our Mission On This Trip:
In the military, you have what is called a “Recon Mission”. When I was in the US. Army Infantry, we conducted many drills on Recon Missions and how to execute them. A Recon Mission is basically collecting intel/information on the enemy troops in order to determine our next course of action. Our family trip was not only to attend the All Samoan Workshop, not only to connect to the local churches, but it was also a recon mission.
Our focus was not to collect information on the enemy. However, it was to collect information on our friendlies who were on the ground doing the work of the Lord, especially in Nuuuli. Our goal as a family is to find out how we can help in encouraging and strengthening God’s troops on the ground to continue the good fight in American Samoa.It was wonderful to finally meet the brethren in American Samoa. So much love shown to us and so much laughter and joy.
There are three main congregations on the island. The Nuuuli congregation with Salimu Tamapolu as the preacher, the Lupelele congregation with David Willis as the preacher and one of the elders, and the Leone congregation with Alex Jennings as the preacher.
During the workshop, we reconnected with Mika & Rosa Laufili (preacher of Vaimoso Congregation) and some of the members of the Vaimoso congregation from the neighboring island of Samoa. Here is a summary of what we did during our time in American Samoa:
The Nuuuli Church of Christ
It was a blessing to worship with the Nuuuli Church of Christ. The singing was amazing and the above video was just a glimpse of how the brethren in Nuuuli give praise to God. I was honored to have the opportunity to preach two lessons. Big thank you to brother Salimu Tamapolu for giving me this honor to preach the Word in both English and Samoan Language. The first lesson was from Psalm 1 “The True Servant of God.” The second was during New Year’s Eve from Psalm 23: Emphasizing God’s care for his children. I am encouraged that after offering the invitation on both Sundays, four souls came forth to be restored to the fold. These souls were tender-hearted. They stood in front of the congregation and confessed their need to be recommitted to the work of the Lord. We give God the glory that His Word is powerful to change lives (Rom. 1:16).
Youth Devo with the Nuuuli Church
Athena and I conducted a youth devotional with the Nuuuli Youth. I presented a devotional message for the youth emphasizing “Trusting God.” Our main passage, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV) Before the singing we all did the books of the Bible in Samoan and did kid-sing with these five main questions:
- What is God’s ideal for marriage? One man and one woman for life.
- What is true success? Living your life and going to Heaven.
- What is true failure? Living your life and not going to Heaven.
- What is our goal? To go to Heaven.
- What is our second goal? Take as many people with us.
The youth at the Nuuuli church love to sing, and they really appreciated coming together to sing songs of praise, hear a message from the Word, and to eat a nice treat of pizza and ice cream provided by auntie Athena.
The Church of Christ All Samoan Workshop 2017
I am thankful to the elders (David Willis and Ti’a Misa) of the Lupelele church of Christ for inviting me to speak at the 2017 Church of Christ All Samoan Workshop. The workshop was from Dec. 25-29, 2017 with classes from 9am – 12 pm, and a message from brother Ron Coleman every night at 7pm. I was honored to preach on Monday the 25th, during the 11 o’clock session which was set for stories of reconciliation. My topic at this hour was “Joseph and His Brothers.” The other lesson I presented was on the topic “A Lesson On Anger” Matt. 5:21-26 on Wednesday the 27th. I am encouraged that I got to be part of the All Samoan Workshop. To hear the messages and the translators translate was a first for me. I had the privilege to translate brother Mika Laufili’s lesson from Samoan to English on one occasion. At the very end of the workshop, Athena and I received nice gifts from the brethren. We were so honored and encouraged by their love. We look forward to the next workshop which is in two years.
My family and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity to go home for two weeks to connect with the Nuuuli Church and other local churches, reconnect with family and friends, and attend the All Samoan Church of Christ Workshop.
A big thank you to all who supported us on this trip to American Samoa our homeland. If you know anything about flying to American Samoa from Hawaii or from the mainland, tickets are expensive. But thanks be to God for our supporters who really helped us on this trip:
Churches: Coldwater Church of Christ, West Huntsville Church of Christ, Honolulu Church of Christ.
Individuals: William & Vilma Preza, Ren & Rose Bumanglag, Rod & Susan Bumanglag, Prisca Maluotoga, Harry & Carol Torres, Penelope Sekio, Fia Galeai, Margaret & Doug Davidson, Wayne & Donna Collins, Bettie Kahn.
We also want to thank our family in Faleniu, Petesa, Leone, Ottoville, Nuuuli, and Iliili for shelter, food, fun, and gifts.
We love being in our homeland for these two weeks. Our children had a great time with family even though it was so short. Now that the Recon Mission is over, we are now preparing our next course of action. We are excited about this New Year and the many opportunities that God will provide for us to serve him. Keep on sowing and watering the seed, leave the increase to the Lord. To God be the glory in all that we do.