Associate Minister accepts God's calling
The new Associate Minister for the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour is a true believer in the idea that everything that happens is part of God's plan.
Speaking to the Sunday Samoan, Laga'aia Tiaituau Tufuga said being chosen as an Associate Minister was never part of his plans when he took up the challenge to contest in this year's election.
"But our ways are not God's ways," the 66-year-old said.
Laga'aia who emerged as the leading candidate for the Palauli No.3 seat after April's election will work alongside Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo.
He defeated the former M.P. and former Associate Minister for the Ministry of Public Enterprises, Tuifaasisina Lisati Palemene, and was among the eleven Associate Ministers who were sworn in on Wednesday last week.
Laga'aia has vowed to "use the opportunity wisely" to give back to Samoa, all while saying that he has been "humbled" by his new role.
"First and foremost, I would like to thank God for his guidance and protection," he said.
"It hasn't been an easy journey for all of us to get to where we are right now, but I am a true believer that God has this all planned out and things would eventually work out in His perfect timing.
"I am truly humbled to have been appointed as an Associate Minister. It was never part of my plans when I contested in the election as I only wanted a chance to be the voice of my people in parliament.
"But our plans and ways are not God's ways. So I am grateful for this appointment."
Laga'aia said being an Associate Minister is not "something to be proud of."
"I would have been in the position I am in right now if it weren't for the support of my constituency. So I owe this to them and I am sure that they are happy with this new role bestowed upon me and will continue to support me going forward."
So far, said Laga'aia, things have been going great.
"Although things might have happened so fast and unexpected, it has been great so far. We are adjusting and getting used to our new roles and we have all the help and support from our leaders which is a good thing.
"The discussions have been great and we are motivated to keep on working hard for the benefit of our people.
"I am still adjusting to this new role placed on my shoulders but I am not worried. I believe that if God placed me here, he will carry me through whatever happens.
"I will use this opportunity wisely to give back to the community and be of service to Samoa. We say every calling is from God, and while people tend to judge and look down on us, only God understands and knows what we're capable of doing.
"And with strong faith, I truly believe that he will carry us through it as nothing is impossible with God.
"This role came unexpectedly and I did not think I would be an Associate Minister.
"After the election, I was happy and grateful that the constituency had given me their trust to be their representative for the next five years.
"But if this is His will for us to step up and lead the country, we will not take this for granted and we will do our best to serve our people and country.
"I know the new role and appointment is not something I take lightly.
"This is a huge responsibility, but I know with God and the support of the Minister, the Cabinet, my constituency, and my family and friends, I am ready to face any challenges that lie ahead of this new journey."
Laga'aia contested for the first time this year under the banner of the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi banner, following requests from the elders of his village, Fa'ala Palauli for him to contest.
The drive for a new government pushed Laga'aia to contest as a F.A.S.T. candidate.
Laga'aia said the matai from his constituency "were fed up" with the leadership of the former Prime Minister and his party, which was why they had asked him to run as a F.A.S.T. candidate.
Laga'aia has five children and six grandchildren and also holds the title Gasu from Satupa'itea and Tupa'i from Falealupo.