On Sabbath, 3 November, 2012, the Leuvaa-uta branch of the Samoa Saturday Sabbath Keepers (SSSK) group officially opened. For the first time since 29 December, 2011, the doors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Leauvaa-uta were opened on the seventh-day Sabbath of the Lord. Tears of joy and exaltation of God flowed freely as the Saturday Sabbath keepers praised the “Lord of the Sabbath” for another milestone in the journey of His Sabbath-keeping children in Samoa.
Seven private vehicles and a bus transported the Lighthouse members from Alafua to Leauvaa-uta. The ride took us through Aleisa and we enjoyed the lush green scenery of the countryside. About ten minutes from the right turn-off at Aleisa, we came across two of our Leauvaa-uta brethren, in white shirts, black wrap-arounds and neckties, waiting with bright smiles by the roadside to show us the way to the SDA church. When we arrived, Salā Peteli Kuresa (on whose land the church is built), elders and members of the Leauvaa-uta Group were waiting with wide smiles to greet us in front of their church building.
The week before this Sabbath had been a very challenging one for our members at Leauvaa-uta. Right from the start, it had been their wish to remain on good terms with their other SDA members who worship on Sunday. For that reason, they (the Saturday Sabbath keepers) were cautious and courteous in their approach in dealing with the Leauvaa-uta pastor and Sunday-keeping members, requesting that the Saturday Sabbath keepers be allowed to use the church building for their worship on Sabbath with the Sunday keepers to worship there on Sunday. Their requests were denied and all attempts were made to prevent the church being opened on Sabbath (Saturday).
After two meetings, with the last one being quite ‘frosty,’ and the Saturday Sabbath keepers being told that they could not use the church, the Sabbath keepers stood their ground, and informed the Sunday keepers courteously but firmly that the church will be opened for worship on God’s seventh-day Sabbath, commencing 3 November, 2012. The Sunday keepers did not accept this decision and the suggestion for them to continue to use the church on Sundays until the Sabbath dilemma in Samoa is resolved. So as of today (Sunday, 4 November 2012) they have gone elsewhere for their Sunday services. Thus the Leauva’a church building is now the first formal church building in Samoa to be exclusively reopened on Saturday for Sabbath worship.
Approximately 21 families used to worship at the Leauvaa-uta SDA Group until the ‘seventh-day Sabbath issue’ came up in December, 2011, as a result of Samoa’s re-alignment to the date line. Today, seven families are ‘Sabbath keepers’ at Leauvaa-uta, and it is their aim to start witnessing to their people and community. This is not easy, as their firm stand has put a wider rift between them and their Sunday-keeping sisters and brothers.
Our Leauvaa-uta Sabbath keepers are courageous people who, despite the challenges and complications in their way, are determined to “obey the Lord — come what may.”
There are now five Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath-keeping groups in Samoa: Samatau, Lighthouse, Pu’apu’a (Savaii), Multicultural group in Apia and Leauvaa-uta.
Please pray for our Leauvaa-uta members; they need your prayers, especially at this time, as their ship sails through the treacherous and hazardous seas. These days, it is that much more meaningful when we sing the favourite hymn: “Jesus, Saviour, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea.”