Family of late Paul and Akenese Stanley celebrate

The children and grandchildren of the late Paul and Akenese Stanley have flown into Samoa from Australia, New Zealand and America for a family reunion.

The eldest of the 12 from the Stanley siblings, Tofilau Isitolo Stanley, told the Sunday Samoan that the holidays should compel families to regroup, unite, and remind themselves of the importance of love and the spirit of giving. 

The official program began on Thursday with a mass at the family residence at Sinamoga for the program and its activities to be blessed. It was attended by close to 100 people representing various family members. 

“Emphasizing unity and bond amongst the siblings as well as our children, is relatively important in this time and age.”

“In truth, during the holidays, it’s about more than spending time with loved ones. We are in fact strengthening our support systems.”

“We need each other, your family are the very same people we turn to for help, advice, support, and encouragement,” he said.

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Tofilau Isitolo said they grew up together with the promise they will never drift apart. 

“However, when we grow old, we have our own families and then somewhat drifted apart hence the importance of having such gatherings to remember the humble beginnings and to share the love.”

The former principal of Don Bosco Technical Centre, Tofilau Isitolo, said the reunion is important for their children — who are raised overseas — to know their roots. 

“It’s very important that our children are reminded of their identity, roots, genealogy and where they come from and most importantly they are Samoans.”

“And as Samoans we make sure our culture and tradition are alive and well in our household no matter where in the world we settle.”

“That is why we are different and unique if I might add. We live to serve (tautua), we serve the church, the village and our families; we look after our elders, we care for them, we do everything for our elders, we are compassion and we love passionately.”

“These are some of the values and principles, we must instill in our children so they will never forget who they are and where they come from, why our culture must be kept alive,” added Tofilau Isitolo.

Tofilau Isitolo Stanley said the reunion is a celebration of their parents’ investment and support for their wellbeing, and the sacrifice they had to personally make to get to where they are today. 

“We give all the glory to our Heavenly Father for he has been endlessly faithful and amazing to us all.” 

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