Not many people are blessed enough to reach the age of 90 these days. But for those who do, it is an opportunity to look back and acknowledge the hand of God for bringing them this far.
That’s exactly what happened when Laufale’aina To’afa Eli reached her 90th birthday. Her children hosted a thanksgiving service for her at her Tulaele residence in the morning before her party at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel. There, her children, grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, families and friends joined to give thanks and celebrate the life of a God-fearing woman.
Laufale’aina is the daughter of the late Letalu Faitala and Fuala’au of Lalomanu.
She was born and raised at Lalomanu but later moved to her eldest sister’s place at Tulaele at the age of 10 and that’s where she spent the rest of her life raising her children.
Laufale’aina has seven children with her late husband To’afa Eli from Tufutafoe Savai’i and Lotofagā Safata. They are Mousie Skews, Vaisaili Falagi, Fualaau Pisa, Kukuana Laulu, Olive Eli, Taiai Tariu and one who is deceased. Looking back, Laufale’aina said she was a busy mother.
“I do this and that but my husband always looked after our children,” she said. “While looking after the children, my husband makes sure they go to church, Sunday school, pastor’s school.”
“He made sure to sit down with them every day and teach them the message that Jesus said on Mount Olive to bless those who fear Him. That’s how my family was raised back in the days.”
At her age, Laufale’aina still has spontaneous activities that she likes to do by herself.
“I can go bingo on Fridays,” she said. “My children and family give me strength all the time and I thank God for them.”
At her birthday party, she said: “To all of you who are here today to celebrate my 90th birthday, thank you all for coming and may the Lord continue to bless each and every one of us continuously.”
One of her daughters, Taiai Eli-Tariu described her mother as a “strong woman who always sees the best in her children and family”.
“We all know mothers, they scold us, they tell us off all the time but behind all that they want to see the best in us.”
“She’s a hardworking and loving mother and she has had to be strong when our father passed away and that has been over 30 years now.”
“She loves reading to us the blessed message of Jesus in the book of Mathew 5 every day and that’s how she wants us to live and walk in this life and most importantly to stay strong in the Lord.”
“From your children – we love you Nana and may God add more years to your life.”
Laufaleaina is one of the eldest deacons of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vailoa-Uta.