The almost-closed church
As Pastor Peni Leo began his work on the island of Upolu, Samoa, he was confronted with tremendous challenges in the village of Siumu. The church in that village was not accepted by the people there, and he was not allowed to walk through the village for visitation or any missionary activity. The church building sat on land owned by the Tafu family. This family became immersed in legal problems with the chief—an extended relative—who wanted to remove the building from their land and close the church for good.
Church members responded to these difficulties with prayer and fasting, trusting that God would care for His church. After many struggles in court, the Tafu family won the right to keep their land. And, incredibly, it was revealed that the rightful title of “chief” actually belonged to the immediate members of the Tafu family. This was a tremendous answer to prayer!
Since the ruling, the Siumu church has gained the favor of the Siumu Chiefly Council. Relationships with villagers have become positive, and the Siumu church has expanded its ministry to the local community. Last year, the congregation completed construction of a new building, which was officially recognized by the village council of elders.
Pastor Peni was inducted as a village minister, granting him the ability to conduct Bible studies and outreach programs and to visit any family in the village. Shortly after these events, 26 precious souls gave their lives to Christ and were baptized. One of those individuals happened to be a member of the Siumu Chiefly Council! Pastor Peni and the members of the Siumu church continue to worship God with thanksgiving and praise, casting all their worries into the hand of a God who has never let them down.
—Written by Pastor Kenneth Fuliese, Samoa-Tokelau Mission president, Apia, Samoa. A version of this story originally appeared in the Trans Pacific Union News Letter.
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