Members of the Samatau Catholic Church gathered for a unique celebration yesterday.
No it wasn’t the opening of a new building or the launch of a project. It was simply a thanksgiving service that the church has made the final repayment of a $500,000 loan from the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.).
The loan was taken out in 2008 to complete their church building project.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the Chairman of the Church, Mano’o Fatu Te’o, said they are extremely happy they have been able to pay off their debt.
“It’s been ten years since the church members have been paying for this loan and so today we came together to give thanks to God for his many blessings on us.
“It wasn’t easy, but we did it and it was through God’s love and guidance especially his blessings upon the church members that we are able to pay off our loan.”
Mano’o offered special acknowledgement to the Te’o Sanele family from Australia and New Zealand who offered to pay $100,000 of the loan.
The thanksgiving service was conducted by Deacon Kalolo Talo, who said the occasion was a time to celebrate.
“There were times when people were complaining,” he said. “Some were teasing us by saying that we will never get to finish paying off this loan.
“Some have changed their denomination because of this and some have left because they said they were tired of this. We have been through so much and for so long we have been paying for this.
“It was hard but most of us stayed and today we can finally say we did it. So we are free and it is a great feeling.”