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Church leader encourages fasting

The President of the Methodist Church in Samoa, Reverend Faulalo Ieti, has thrown his support behind nationwide efforts to fast in a bid to protect Samoa from the coronavirus pandemic. 

He says individual church ministers can ultimately decide how long their congregation members can fast for in a day.

With coronavirus (COVID-19) cases globally eclipsing half a million recently with fatalities from the virus hurtling towards the 30,000 mark, the churches and their congregations in Samoa are turning to divine intervention for answers.

Reverend Faulalo told Samoa Observer that fasting is a way to seek assistance from God and should be a priority at a time of a global pandemic.

“Fasting is defined for what Samoa and the world is experiencing today with the pandemic, a way of seeking the Lord for help in preventing us from the COVID-19 and help those who are affected,” he said.

“It’s up to the church ministers how they roll with their fasting either for a half day or the whole day but only drink water.”

At 6am and 7pm every Friday the main Methodist Church bell at Faleula is rung for families to gather in their own homes and hold their private service dedicated to the pandemic. 

A family of four in Leauvaa-uta said they believe in the power of fasting and that God is a giver of men.

For the mother of the family, Leutu Logo, she believes fasting is much more than “starving ourselves” for 12 hours.

“What fasting means for our family is not just starving ourselves for 12 hours, but by taking peace into our minds within those hours, and thinking peacefully of what we are fasting for and trying to achieve the purpose why we fast,” she said.

“And it’s not like it’s only when we want something then we’ll fast for that something. But it’s basically emptying your mind and soul from your usual chores, habits and the things you usually do, but focus on your relationship with God and asking him to grant us peace and what we want and in exchange, we continue to serve him through our activities.”

And the family are not strangers to that form of worship as every Friday is their fasting day for the week to pray for family, the safety of the children and a better future. 

“With the world we’re living in today, there are a lot of things to fast about, especially the safety of our children from worldly distractions and things like that,” she added. 

National Council of Churches Secretary, Reverend Ma'auga Motu, believes fasting and praying for a cure is one way the body of Christ can respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Fasting should be done in our villages and churches. It is a must to do so. You need to fast with all your heart," he said.

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