A few weeks ago, Toailoa Vaosa stood up, after Divine Service in the the Laulii SDA Church, to formally inform the pastor and members that he had resigned from his responsibilities as Head Elder since he and his family will no longer worship on Sunday, because they are now keeping the seventh-day Sabbath of the Lord.
I found out about the new Sabbath-keeping group in Lauii when Pa’u Fereti Puni called me from Auckland, New Zealand, about 10:00 pm on Thursday 5 April 2012, to confirm the good news that for four weeks now, Toailoa Vaosa and his family have have been worshiping in their own little Sabbath-keeping group at Laulii. Pa’u requested for our Sabbath Keepers Network (SKN) team to reach out to Toailoa Vaosa and his family, to encourage and support them, and to include them in future combined services of the SDA Sabbath Keepers.
The next morning, Good Friday, I was not able to get through to any of our Lighthouse elders. They were probably having a very ‘good Friday.’ I therefore went with Elsa to Laulii to visit the Toailoa family. We spoke with Toailoa and his family, and we were invited to worship with them on Sabbath. I asked if I could bring another couple of members, and they eagerly agreed. On return from Laulii, I contacted Tamua and Malae of Solaua to worship with us at Laulii. They were excited at the thought of worshiping with our new group. I also informed the Lighthouse preacher, Lealailepule Sini Laikum, of our plan, so that the Lighthouse members can pray for the Laulii Group.
At 9:28 a.m. on Sabbath, 7 April 2012, our two vehicles turned in to the Toailoa premises at Laulii – Tamua and Malae in one vehicle, and Ta’i, Elsa and myself in the other vehicle. We were welcomed into the house where the family were gathered and the children had been taught their memory verses.
After the usual greetings, I introduced our members. Then Toailoa introduced the members who were in attendance – his wife Ufiata, his family and extended family, including a SISDAC lady and her young daughter who were present for our Sabbath worship.
As we sang the opening hymn, “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms,” I looked around the spacious living room at the eager souls singing from their hearts, and I quietly thanked the Lord of the Sabbath that another beacon of light has been added to the “lower lights” which are steadily and brightly burning for the Lord’s Sabbath in Samoa.
Tamua offered a prayer, then Toailoa led the study of the Sabbath School lesson for the adults and youth, while the children had their classes in the open section of the residence.
The discussion was free and lively, and our group chuckled when Toailoa gave an example that our people are like the ve’a and the sisi-vao. During the six days of the week, we’re like the ve’a – difficult to catch as they dart in and out of their uncultivated habitats – but on God’s Sabbath, we drag our feet and move ever so slowly like the sisi-vao.
At the end of the lesson, the children joined the main group and they recited their memory verses for the whole quarter.
Toailoa was the preacher for Divine Service, his sermon titled “What Garment are you Wearing?” was based on Zechariah 3:1-7.
The Toailoa family had prepared a lovely lunch, but we had also brought our ‘toonai’ to share with the Laulii group.
During and after lunch, Toailoa mentioned that he and his wife were baptized by Pastor Fereti Puni in the sea at Satomai in 1957, when Pastor Fereti and Puataunofo were taking care of the Satomai Church.
I informed Toailoa and the Laulii Group of the good wishes, support and prayers of God’s great family overseas, for them at Laulii and for all the Sabbath keepers in Samoa. They are most grateful for the encouragement and prayers of all the kind people abroad who support the keeping of God’s Sabbath day in Samoa.
As it was time for us to leave, Tamua spoke on our behalf, thanking Toailoa, and his wife and family, for a wonderful Sabbath, for welcoming us into their midst and for their courageous stand for the Lord’s Sabbath at Laulii.
Toailoa requested that we worship with them again next Sabbath. However, we extended an invitation for him and his family to worship with us, the Lighthouse Group, at Vailoa, Faleata, next Sabbath, and they gladly accepted the invitation.
Mrs. Toailoa and her daughter, Sulu, left on Saturday night for the States. Please pray for them as they travel overseas for medical treatment for Mrs. Toailoa, and please pray for the whole Laulii Group.