Telei’ai Pepa Puni had his 83rd birthday on 22 March 1929. His father, Puni Ierome, was a hardworking and honest man. He was also a devout member and a lay preacher of the Congregational Christian Church (CCCS) of Samoa. Telei’ai Pepa shares his story:
When my father accepted the Seventh-day Adventist faith, he stood up to preach his last sermon as a member of the CCCS Church and informed them that he had accepted the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Although my father was a much-loved person in the church and in the village, their love and respect turned to hatred and rage. Despite the fact that he was a prominent village chief, my father was punished and banished from the village for almost ten years. He was ridiculed and sneered at. There were also threats to his life. However, he stood firm for the Lord. His land is where the Samatau SDA Church and church minister’s house have been located over the last several decades.
My father was persecuted, victimized and ostracised for his faith in God and for keeping the Sabbath.
I believe in the God whom my father served, and I thank God for my father’s sacrifices in paving the way for his family to serve God. I don’t want to go back to keeping Sunday. I know and believe God, and the fourth commandment tells me to “remember the sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” I will never go back to Sunday keeping!
Right now we are facing challenges and difficulties from members of our extended family and Seventh-day Adventist church members who now keep Sunday. They also make annoying and aggravating acts by doing things which should not be done on God’s Sabbath, especially when we’re around. However, we will not let those things take away the peace and joy which we feel in our hearts in keeping God’s Sabbath day holy.
I thank God for His love and blessings for me and my family. As an 83-year-old, I have had many health problems in the past, but I thank my Lord for giving me health and strength this year. Since the Samatau Church was divided due to the instructions from our Church leaders to keep the wrong day of the week, I have never missed a Sabbath. I worship with God’s faithful people each Sabbath to keep His Sabbath day holy and I will continue to do so until my journey in life ends and I rest in the grave to await my Saviour’s voice on the golden morning.
We want to thank our overseas relatives, friends and God’s people overseas who understand and support our stand.