Former C.C.C.S. Chairman exits Matautu Falelatai
Retired church minister of the Congregational Christian Church of Matautu Falelatai, Rev. Elder Tautiaga Senara, bowed out from spiritual work with the church with a parting message to all church ministers.
The former C.C.C.S. Chairman encouraged ministers of religion to be patient and wait on God during times of trial.
Rev. Senara and his wife, Olita Senara and children exited the Matautu Falelatai congregation on Saturday after their last church service to farewell the village they had served for 25 years.
In the course of their service as spiritual parents at the congregation, Rev. Senara said there are a lot of times they face trials and challenges.
But he remained focused on God who gave him strength to overcome those difficult times.
“It is patience and waiting on God no matter how hard and difficult the situation is – praying and waiting on God (is key),” said the 71-year-old father.
“I believe that no matter what happens in this lifetime if you are patient and wait on God you will feel his spirit with you.
“That was my weapon is to be patient no matter the circumstance you have to stand firm and do his will.”
Having served a congregation that has seen its previous church ministers walkout without an official farewell with the village, Rev. Senara believes that love is the answer.
He said one has to be patient with those that do wrong to you because spiritual work is the foundation of God’s work.
“My advice to the spiritual leaders is to be patient because if you cannot find peace in Jesus to endure the challenges you are facing, you will have a very difficult time and some will leave their villages.
“But if you are patience and do God’s will he will answer in his own time.”
Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Sualauvi Va’aletoa II said it will be very hard for another church minister to achieve what Rev. Senara has done during his time with the congregation.
Speaking about the spiritual work and the history of Matautu Falelatai congregation, Tuimaleali’ifano said the last church minister that had held the reverend elder position in the district of Falelatai and Samatau from Matautu Falelatai was Rev. Filemoni in 1948.
He said Rev. Filemoni was also the last church minister that Matautu Falelatai had a proper farewell with when he passed away.
According to the Head of State, the three other church ministers after Rev. Filemoni had walked out from the congregation and the other was forced to leave the church.
Rev. Senara and his late wife Oli started their work in Matautu Falelatai in January 1994.
In the beginning of 2007, Rev. Senara’s late wife Oli passed away, after working 13 years with the congregation.
Tuimaleali’ifano said because of requirement from the Church General Assembly that a church minister has to remarry within 6 months after the passing of their wife, Rev. Senara then remarried to Olita Senara in 2007.
“It has been 12 years and six months since we have worked together with Rev. Senara and Olita,” he said.
The Head of State spoke highly of Rev. Senara’s accomplishment in the district of Aana and within the General Assembly.
Furthermore he said Rev. Senara is the first elderly reverend from the district that has held the Chairman and Vice Chairman position for eight consecutive years.
Tuimaleali’ifano compared Rev. Senara’s service as a reflection of the work of Christ saying he continues to follow the teachings of Christ with love.
He made reference to the bible, I Corinthian chapter 13, verse 4 to 8 where it talks about how love is patient, kind and is does not envy or boast.
He recalled that in the past there were times of trial when some villagers were at odds with Rev. Senara but he loved them still.
“It was then that we knew about his love and patience and had forgiven us,” said Tuimaleali’ifano.
“Love conquers anything and love remains.
“That is the love of Christ that he continues to preach about everyday in the last 25 years and six months he has been with us.
“Thank you for your love and forgiving us…may the love of God be with you and bless you and continue to use you to serve him.”
When Rev. Senara started his service with Matautu Falelatai there were 20 families in the congregation.
That number has grown to more than 40 with the membership of the congregation spiritually strong.
As a token of appreciation, Matautu Falelatai bought Rev. Senara a brand new Hilux truck that has a value of $116,000 and a monetary gift of $200,000 as his sendoff present.