Tongan LSM final session: For such a time as this

April 27, 2023 | by Kalesita Fa'asisila

Tongan LSM final session: For such a time as this

“TAMA, kapau te ke tali ‘eku ngaahi lea, ‘O tuku tauhi mo koe ‘eku ngaahi tu‘utu‘uni; ‘O ke tuku ai ho telinga ke fanongo ki he poto, Mo ofe‘i ho loto kia Fakahinohino; Te ke toki lave‘i ‘a e ‘apasia kia Sihova, Pea ma‘u ‘a e ‘ilo‘i ‘o e ‘Otua.”  VEPIŌPAL 2(1-2,5)

Fakafeta’i ‘etau lave monu mo ma’u tapuaki fakataha moe kau taula’eiki ‘i he kelesi moe ‘ofa ‘a hotau ‘Eiki. Fakamalo lahi atu kihe tangata ‘eiki Faifekau Tevita Koroi, Chair of Committee on Ethnic Ministry and Outreach of California Nevada Conference. We are grateful to Rev. Tevita Koroi who graced us with his presence in providing words of affirmation and blessing the students as they complete the UM Polity course in Tongan. And appropriately, our last session was on the topic, “For such a time as this”. Rev. Koroi shared that his eyes were opened to a new way of leading LSM classes such as ours, that five conferences can share and learn resources together. Thank you Rev. Koroi for blessing the students and the program. And therefore, the team offered up to support him in the Fijian courses should he calls on us, too! We wish Rev. Koroi well in his ministry and in leading the LSM in the Fijian language. Rev. Koroi also leads the first Charged Conference Church in the Fijian Language from California Nevada Conference.

Lay Servant Ministry in Tongan were also blessed with the presence of California Pacific Conference Lay Delegate Monalisa Tu’itahi as she led the final session, “For such a time as this”. If there were any doubts brought in by the students when tuning in that evening, it was all so cleared up by the time the session ended. From the first session of UM Polity to the end, it was an eye opener for many of us. We learned the structures of the UMC and its Agencies and plus its responsibilities and resources. Therefore, confirming what Dr. Rev. Kalesita Tu’ifua and Tongan Mission Chair Rev. Sifa Hingano have been teaching us, “that we are a connectional church, communities, and/or people”. One of the prayers read during the Closing Worship was created by our Western sisters during a Leadership Development Days Training in St. Louis just before Covid 19 changed our lives in 2020. Monalisa Tu’itahi and Kalesita Faasisila were among the creators of the prayer, which was later published in the United Women in Faith Magazine (aka UMW), The Response. That is connectional, as Monalisa represented the UMC and Kalesita represented the UWF. Neither one of us had expected to meet up again in the LSM program, what a small world. Monalisa also is a lawyer and is the spouse of California Pacific Conference First Tongan District Superintendent, Rev. Siosaia Tu’itahi. We thank you Monalisa and we wish you well also in your ministry.

The LSM in Tongan program is on break for the next couple of months as we start to prep for annual conferences across the nations. We anticipate returning by August/September as we have UM Heritage and Deeper into the Bible to complete by the end of the year. We will continue to keep everyone posted to our return by posting in our FB page, LSM in Tongan. In addition, we urged everyone to review each conference and get into an English class if time permits, during our absences. Many of our students who started up with us in 2022, have just two courses left in order to satisfy being a Certified Lay Speaker in order to be eligible for the CLM program next.

We wish you a very wonderful summer with your loved ones. Please check in regularly as we keep you posted with updates and provide resources for your journey. Until we meet again!

‘Ofa atu moe lotu!

Kalesita Faasisila, Sevaniti Ngaue

Kalesita Fa'asisila is a member of the Bay District United Women in Faith and is on the Lay Leadership track in California-Nevada. She serves as the Secretary for the LSM Tongan program and is the Dean of UWF Mission u 2023.