News Release

Milestone 25th Mormon Stake Created in Samoa

Leadership changes in two other stakes also announced

Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created the new Tafuaupolu Samoa Stake at a special conference held this past Sunday [26 January]. It is the 25th stake in the Samoan Islands and, as such, it represents a significant milestone in the progress of the Church.

Elder Haleck presided over the conference, which was held in the Aleisa Stake Center.  He was assisted by Area Seventy, Elder Meliula M. Fata.

Nearly 3,000 attended the service, several hundred more than the normal capacity of the building. Twenty-nine buses and numerous cars and vans lined the road and filled the parking lot.

Extra chairs had been brought in the day before to increase the building’s capacity. A tent and an additional 350 chairs were also set up outside the building. Closed-circuit television monitors and public address speakers made the conference proceedings visible and audible to everyone.

Elder Haleck was the concluding speaker at the conference. He used the creation of the new stake as an example of the progress of the work of the Lord and encouraged each member to contribute to that progress.

He told them that when they are called to serve the Lord it is not important whether there are others who are wiser, more righteous, or more experienced. The important thing is that they have been chosen by the Lord. He quoted Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways….”

Edwin Mulipola, from the Upolu West Stake, said, “I was impressed with Elder Haleck’s message about the need to hasten the work.  He [Elder Haleck] gave an example of the cyclone in Tonga, and how quickly the church members had 20 containers [of relief items] out the next day.  I appreciated his comments about there not being higher or lower callings; they are all the same.  We are all equally needed.”

June Lavata’i , from the Aleisa Stake, said the comment that touched her heart was, “ ‘Obedience brings blessings.’  I noticed that on my mission to Fiji.  Obedience is the price we pay, then we receive the blessings.  Another thing I liked was Elder Haleck telling the story of Lot’s wife.  He said, ‘Learn from the past, but don’t dwell there.  Look to and live in the future.’ ”

Sister Oliva, a member of the newly formed Tafuaupolu Stake, said, “The message I heard was to be humble, have faith, and support our stake leaders.  This is important as it teaches me how to act.  It shows me the path to my future, so that I will know the things to do and how I should act as a church leader.”

A Latter-day Saint stake is composed of five to twelve congregations in a geographical area and is presided over by a stake president and two counselors. It is similar to a diocese in other churches.

Harry Finau was called to serve as the president of the new stake, with Fa’ataui Sio Faleagafulu as first counselor and Mahonri Sio as second counselor.

President Finau works as a physical facilities supervisor and lives in Safa’atoa with his wife Elizabeth. First Counselor Faleagafulu, is a businessman and lives in Fasito’otai with his wife Susitina. Second Counselor Sio works in the post office and lives in Fasito’otai with his wife Seepa. 

To create the new stake, the boundaries and leadership of some neighbouring stakes were changed.

Mataali’i John Pasina Faiumu was called as the new president of the Upolu Samoa South Stake, with John Matthes as first counselor and Sione Malama as second counselor.

President Faiumu is a businessman and lives in Gagaifo with his wife Diana. First Counselor Matthes is self-employed and lives in Niusuatia with his wife Maatasesa. Second Counselor Malama works as a printer and lives in Savaia with his wife Siolo.

Oliva Mulipola continues as president of the Upolu Samoa West Stake, and Afatia Tuitea and Vaifanau Finau have been called as his new first and second counselors, respectively.

President Mulipola is a businessman and lives in Manono with his wife Ogevai. First Counselor Tuitea is a school teacher and lives in Mulifanua with his wife Theresa. Second Counselor Finau is a farmer and lives in Manono with his wife Sara.

The Tafuaupolu Samoa Stake is comprised of the Falease’ela, Fasito’otai, Lepale, Safa’atoa, Satapuala, and Vailu’utai Wards.

The Church has a long and significant history in Samoa, starting in 1863 with the arrival of two missionaries from Hawaii. The mission was officially organized in 1888 and the first stake created in 1962. In 1974 Samoa became the first country in the world to be entirely covered by stakes.

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