News Release

New Zealand Boxer Joseph Parker Speaks to Youth in Samoa

New Zealand boxer, Lupesoliai Joseph Parker, spoke to members and guests of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a special devotional meeting in Apia this week. 

Born in New Zealand, Parker is of Samoan heritage.

In his remarks on Sunday evening (17 January), he attributed his success so far to hard work and family support. He noted that he and his crew pray regularly, especially before and after bouts.  

Joseph's mother, Sala, also spoke at the devotional. She emphasised the power of education.

Her desire as a mother, she said, was to help her children receive an education. In order to accomplish that, she had to go to school herself. So they all went to school and they all did homework together. Sharing ideas and helping each other was the norm in the Parkers' home each evening. 

Mrs Parker talked about the time she was callled to the principal's office after Joseph was caught fighting.

She told her son that this was the first and last time she will have to come to the office because of him fighting in school.

"The only time you can fight is when you’re in the ring, because it’s a sport and it has rules," she recalled telling him.

She tried to introduce Parker to other sports but boxing was what he was passionate about.

She challenged the adults in the audience at the devotional to support their children by asking them questions of what their goals are in life and by helping them in their journey to accomplish those goals. "Nothing is impossible with the Lord," she said.

Young Samoan Latter-day Saint, Ellenlina Moala, also spoke at the meeting. She talked about persevering through life, despite struggles. She shared stories about her humble beginnings including how she walked to school most of the time, sometimes without lunch or lunch money.  

Her main motivation, she said, was to achieve her goals so she could help her family. She set three goals: to be an artist; to be a flight attendant; and to become a lawyer.

She said she failed in her first two goals because "she couldn't draw and hated heights." She rose through her struggles, she said, and achieved her third goal of becoming a lawyer.

Ellenlina urged the youth "to be brave enough to face any obstacle that you may face.Never run away from it because you can learn so much from it. 

"You can conquer anything with the Lord’s help," she said.

Summing up, she said, "No pen, no homework. No homework, no “A”. No “A” no Pass. No pass, no graduate. No graduation, no job. No job, no money. No money, no food. No food, no life.

"The point is," she said, "Don't lose your pen!"

Latter-day Saint leader, Elder Meliula Fata, was the concluding speaker at the devotional. He spoke of how he delayed his own education several times due to other commitments. But he continued his education even in his adult life.

He remembered a few people that were older than him, that still continued to seek education despite their age.

He challenged the youth and adults in the congregation to gain as much education as they can "so they can be self-reliant physically and spiritually."

He left a blessing for all in the congregation as they begin another school year.

Newsroom contributors: Natalia Te'o and Motisha Saifaaua Aiono-Solo.

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