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‘Being There for Each Other’ Key to 30-Year-Friendship

Porirua friends Suzanne Galo and Ota Savaiinaea have been close for 30 years.

The two ladies, both members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have shared joy and sorrow throughout their friendship.

Ota and Suzanne

When Suzanne moved with her family to Samoa some years ago, the two exchanged weekly letters. When Suzanne’s husband decided to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ota and her family, with little financial resources, found a way to attend the baptism service in Samoa. 

In February 2013, after celebrating 28 years of marriage, Suzanne lost her husband in an accident. Ota says after years of love and support from Suzanne, it was her turn to be there for her friend.

Ota takes Suzanne to her doctor appointments and dialysis treatments three times a week.  They both say that they value this time together.

“In all the years we have been best friends,” Ota says, “we have never given each other birthday or Christmas gifts. We celebrate by being there for each other."

To encourage the role that friendship plays in promoting peace in many cultures, the United Nations’ International Day of Friendship is observed around the world on 30 July each year.

“We are going to mark International Day of Friendship by counting all our blessings and by celebrating our sister-ship,” Suzanne says.  

Ota agrees. “We’re like sisters.”

“True friends love unconditionally,” she adds. “They forgive and laugh with each other, and support each other.”

Founder and first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, taught that: “Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’…It unites the human family with its happy influence…It is designed to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease and men to become friends and brothers.”

Latter-day Saint emeritus general authority, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, urges all to be good friends. "The power is in each of us to be a friend. Old and young, rich and poor, educated and humble, in every language and country, we all have the capability to be a friend." 

For Latter-day Saints and many other Christians, friendship is exemplified by Jesus Christ's life, ministry and sacrifice for humankind. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).




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