Church is leading by example
Many people complain that financial demands from the church is a great source of hardship.
For Timu Iakopo, from the village of Safotu, Savai’i, that is not the case.
In fact, there has been a change in how church practices are done to help the people and take weight off of their shoulders.
Timu, 43, says the Catholic Church has taken measures to lighten the load.
“One thing I am very happy about is that the Catholic Church is starting to make church obligations a little lighter,” he told the Village Voice.
“I am a Catholic and the church leaders are trying to help the people by making obligations not so tough. An example is that they have stopped the practice of providing gifts and food for the pastors.
“Before if there were four pastors at a funeral then all of them will get gifts but now only one is given a gift out of the four.
“The choice of how much is given is also given entirely to the person, but you know how stubborn Samoans are, they still give a large sum.
“Other churches should follow the example the Catholics have set.”
Timu strongly disagrees with those who say they suffer due to the church. He says they suffer because they don’t serve properly and with the right heart.
“I think a lot of problems in a family start with the lack of serving others,” he said.
“Another thing is that if you don’t always go to church, how do you expect to be blessed. You need to take care of your obligations to the church and the village to have a happy life.
“You must serve you family, serve your church, and serve your village. If you look at the work done by Don Bosco on their very nice new hall, it’s the work done by the people and the church.
“They are blessed because of their ability to serve.”
With 100% of his trust given to Christ Jesus, Timu says he has no problems in life.
“I have no problems in life; I just remain happy every day,” he said.
“You see, when I have problems with life then I just give it all to the Lord and I trust that he will guide me through it all.
“My family has no one currently working and there are 15 children under our house. The children belong to me and my different siblings.
“With no one working and so many children in the house, I am proud to say that all 15 of them are schooling. That’s because I give all my trust to the Lord.”
Aside from his strong faith, Timu takes good care of his family through hard work.
“We make money from coconut pieces,” he said.
“I cut the inside of the coconuts and sell them at 90cents a kilo. I am able to make $250 from three sacks full of coconuts. It’s a good honest way to make a living.
“The price per kilo has been going up gradually but nevertheless, this work makes me happy.”
But with the workload often exceeding his rewards, Timu says it’s time to go back to relying solely on what they get from the land.
“Actually, to tell you the truth the work going into the coconuts doesn’t match the money we receive,” he said.
“It’s a lot of work. That’s why I am thinking of stopping this and just praying to the Lord to give me some money. But that’s just for money; we can live without money if we rely on just things from the land to live on.
“I guess the only reasons Samoan’s suffer is because they want things that are expensive, if you live life like me and just make things simple, then life will be much easier.
“People want to eat chicken all the time but I think that’s why we have so many sicknesses these days.”