Head of State addresses 'Saints of Samoa' at devotional

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, Tuatalatala.com (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • LDS President Russell Nelson on a courtesy call on the Head of State High Highness Tuimalealiifano
    LDS President Russell Nelson on a courtesy call on the Head of State High Highness Tuimalealiifano

Samoa Head of State His Highness Tui Aana Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II addressed the thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who assembled at Pesega field Saturday night to hear their visiting Church leader President Russell M. Nelson speak.

The Head of State and his Masiofo Faamausili Leinafo Tuimalealiifano, both graduates of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) Theological College at Malua, were special guests of the devotional

Tui Aana delivered special remarks at the beginning of the program, extending a traditional Samoan welcome (faalupega) before Church leaders spoke.

He welcomed "the Prophet" President Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson, President of the Pacific Area, Elder O. Vincent Haleck and Sister Peggy Haleck and the many LDS Church leaders of Stakes and Wards of Samoa, who were in attendance.

Elder Haleck, he thanked, for the opportunity to speak.

"Thank you President Nelson and your good lady Sister Wendy Nelson. We just met this afternoon at our home at  Vailele and I've experienced your loving kindness and your consideration and your love for our people here in Samoa and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," the Head of State said

Rev. Kasiano Leaupepe, Chairman of the National Council of Churches,  Members of the Cabinet and Members of Parliament were  recognized by the Head of State.

"I thank God for this opportunity. For it is God who Samoa depends (tapua'i) upon. Samoa is a Christian nation, founded upon God, His Son and His Holy Spirit," the Head of State said.

"I feel glad and thankful to have the chance to meet the Prophet, the President Russell M. Nelson and his wife Sister Nelson. I am  convinced that God loves Samoa and that he blesses us, especially our children, the future of our country."

He encouraged The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to continue sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ

"It (the gospel) brings harmony to our families, harmony to our villages and harmony to our country," said the Head of State.

"Let us continue to carry forward our nation's motto 'Faavae le Atua Samoa.' May God's blessings be upon this gathering and may we continue to glorify His name forever. Not to us, oh Lord, not to us, but to you we give the glory and honour for everything we have is from you."

President Nelson's visit coincided with the annual conference of the CCCS, the largest denomination in the country.

"I thank God for the opportunity that I have been able, and my wife, to meet up with you and your good lady. May the Good Lord keep on blessing you and may He guide you in your travels because the distance from here and Salt Lake City Utah in the United States of America is very far far away but we pray to God that He will guide your travels safely back to Salt Lake City," said Tui Aana.

"President Nelson, you are 94 years of age I think I will ask you: what is your secret? So that I may attain some years like that God be willing."

His Highness thanked President Nelson for visiting Samoa which brought him to the devotional to speak before the country's Latter-day Saints.

When President Nelson later spoke, he called members of the LDS Church in Samoa, the "Saints of Samoa."