Chief credits God for longevity at 90th birthday
A chief, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather from the village of Sasina, in Savai'i, celebrated the occasion of his 90th birthday on Saturday evening surrounded by children, friends, relatives and God’s love.
Togoi'u Misiki Vailili credits God for his longevity, saying his continuous prayers to have carried him through life, during a celebration held at his home at Vailili, Sasina.
"That is the main weapon that will help you get through anything and everything in this life," said Togoi'u.
"Your strength and youth will fade away, but if you rely on God, he will never abandon you."
The birthday boy is also a strong believer that when you obey your parents and serve your elders with love and humility, God will bless you with longevity on earth.
Even at 90-year-old, Togoi'u's memory and mind are still as sharp as someone who is in his 30s.
His hearing skills are still great, so as his vision and speech.
When addressing the special guests at his birthday, Togoi'u said he did not want to host a celebration for his birthday.
"I told my children not to prepare anything but they kept insisting that we have a small celebration to thank God for his guidance and protection upon me and all of us who are present here today,” he said
While Togoi'u was sad his late, beloved wife could not join him at the celebration on Saturday, Togoi'u said he was grateful and happy to be alive.
"Life is a precious gift from God," he said.
"I am so blessed to have lived for so many years and I only have God to thank for that."
Turning to the guests, Togoi'u reminded the gathering that they should put God at the centre of all that they pursue and do in life.
Reverend Panapa To'o of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Sasina officiated a small service to kick-off the formalities of the celebration.
He used the opportunity to thank the birthday boy for his knowledge, wisdom, and service to the village.
Reverend Panapa also acknowledged Togoi'u's contribution to God's ministry.
"His wisdom and knowledge is a blessing to this village and congregation," Reverend Panapa said.
"That must be the reason why God is still keeping you here today because your work is not done on earth.
"This is what you were destined to do, and even at 90-year-old, you are still contributing a lot to the betterment of this village, and God's ministry.
"So it is fitting that we call this a thanksgiving service because you have done a lot for the people of this village."
Togoi'u, said Reverend Panapa, is a pillar of strength and an inspiration to the younger generation of the village.
"We can always count on him for his wisdom, knowledge, and experience when dealing with sensitive issues within the village and the congregation.
"He is always reminding us to do great things for the Lord and to give it all for God. One of the things I've learned from Togoi'u is his passion and love for God and his ministry."
Seve Avaula, a chief from Sasina who spoke on behalf of the village described Togoi'u as a courageous and knowledgeable leader.
"His great contribution to the village is why peace is kept all throughout these years," said Seve.
"When can always rely on his insight and his wisdom when it comes to making tough decisions on sensitive issues."