News Story

A Fijian Story of Faith, Family and Service

Aliitasi Talataina from Samoa and Fei Ucunibaravi from Fiji serve three senior missions together.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Fei Ucunibaravi was 38 years old when her husband, Vilisi Ucunibaravi, passed away. Her eldest of six children was age 12 at the time. Her youngest was just two.

That was nearly 34 years ago.

“After my husband died,” Fei recalls, “I was alone with my children for years. I look back and recognize how the Lord helped me raise those children. I couldn’t have done it without His help, so He sent angels along the way.”

She continued: “One of those angels took time from her busy schedule to spend time with me at home, helping me understand the scriptures, and providing a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on when I needed it.”

She said another angel was “like a father” to her children. This local church leader individually interviewed her children on the first Sunday of every month for 15 years, offering love and guidance.

All six of her children served full-time missions with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It is interesting how the Lord prepares people to do His work,” Fei says. “The Lord knew the desires of my heart. I wanted to give something back to Him.”

As Fei’s children grew into young adulthood, she decided to serve as a senior missionary. After her first 18 months senior mission, she put in her application to serve again, for another 18 months. And then another mission for 18 months.

She served as a full-time missionary in Fiji as a young woman, before she was married—and now, as a senior missionary, she has completed three more full-time missions in Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.

Her missionary companion for these three senior missions was Aliitasi Talataina, from Samoa.

In the early days, money was tight, but as her children grew older, completed their education, and started careers and families, she was in a situation where she could serve as a missionary.

When she told her children that she was going to serve a mission, Fei says it gave her children “the shock of their lives.” But, in hindsight, she believes that the experience helped them become more independent.

“They learned about trusting in the Lord more fully and letting God prevail in their lives.”

In fact, her children were able to assist their mother financially during some stages of her missionary experiences. “I will be forever grateful to them for doing that so I could complete those three missions,” Fei says.

Her assignment as a senior missionary was the same for all three missions. She said it was called “rescue work.”

“We did not have instructions on how to do it, but we went with members of the Church to find those who had not attended for some time,” she said. “We invited them to come back and enjoy the blessings of the gospel and renew their covenants by partaking of the sacrament.”

Fei remembers with joy that she and her missionary companion “witnessed the results of small things as we saw the chapels fill.”

Learn more about senior missionary opportunities here.

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