Church leader advocates for Youth Ministries
The Pastor of the ‘Sulu o le Malamalama’ Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) in Saoluafata, Reverend Elder Limua'a Samuelu, is encouraging churches in Samoa to maintain their youth groups and ministries.
Rev. Elder Samuelu and his Youth group of about 40 young adults are celebrating the 58th birthday of their youth ministry this weekend.
During a pre-celebration interview, he told the Samoa Observer that there are Church Ministers who don’t like to operate a youth ministry.
“But church youth groups are so important. The church leaders of the past, that is the reason they formed the youth ministry, to capture the youth,” said Rev. Elder Samuelu.
“I remember Saleimoa, one of the youth groups a long time ago, they had a song that talked about how youth ministries are no good because that is where boys and girls meet. Well, it happens, but still, the youth ministry is so important.”
The Leone, American Samoa native began serving in Saoluafata in 1982. When he arrived, the youth ministry was thriving.
There were only three youth ministries in their district (pulega) of Anoamaa then. But there are 12 villages (and congregations).
“In our district of Anoamaa, where I am Reverend Elder…there were not so many youth groups in my district when I got here. When I got here, we had our youth ministry at Saoluafata but maybe there were only three other youth ministries in the other villages,” Rev. Elder Samuelu said.
“But there are eight villages, there are eight or 12 villages. So when another Reverend Elder joined, he encouraged each village to form a youth ministry so now there is a youth ministry in every village.”
He said their matagaluega starts from Vaiala and ends at Uafato in Fagaloa.
“There is a youth ministry in every village now. There are 29 villages and there are 29 youth groups,” Rev. Elder Samuelu said.
“I really encourage our ministers because this is so important, especially in this time with all the challenges being faced by our youth. There is so much crime, that is what I see,” he said.
“Looking at Samoa, our country, we are founded on God but Samoa is for far from God. There are so many churches but the crimes are getting worse. That is what I see.”
In Saoluiafata, Rev. Elder Samuleu said he has a big job. And it is not always easy.
“I have a big job here – to gather the elders, parents and the youth. When I deliver my sermons, I address the problems and what they are doing wrong and what they should not do,” he said.
His job calls for a lot of “patience,” Rev. Elder Samuelu said.
“We just have to do our duty. We are often criticized by church members, for example, when they do not like my sermons or my decisions. They are not always happy with it but that is the job,” he said.
“Just as people criticize the Prime Minister, he still has to do his job. Nothing is perfect, there is no perfect church. There is no perfect minster but we have to do our jobs and seek God and rely on God for His help. We need to ask Him for help us carry out our jobs.”
Rev. Elder Samuelu leads the Saoluafata C.C.C.S. with his wife Daru Samuelu, a Samoan who was born in Papua New Guinea.
He turned 70 on 24 July while his youth ministry made 58 years on the same date.
The autalavou celebration was delayed due to COVID-19 State of Emergency (S.O.E.) restrictions.
He shares the same birthday as his autalavou.
“This youth ministry was started in 1962 and it has never stopped. It has been 58 years,” Rev. Elder Samuelu told the Samoa Observer.
He will retire in 2021. This Saturday, on 31 October, is his last celebration with the Saoluafata Youth Ministry. The party will be held at the Saoluafata C.C.C.S. Hall.