Friday, October 2, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Lusi Lafaitele

(experience of Lusi Lafaitele on pgs 129 & 130 of the 2009 Yearbook)

I was 18 years old when I learned that the family living across the road had joined a religion called Jehovah's Witnesses. Curious, I visited the father, Siemu Taase, to ask why they used God's name, Jehovah, in the way that they did. His kind manner and Scriptural reasoning impressed me. So he began studying the Bible with me, and I began attending meetings. When my father learned what I was doing, he threatened me. I begged him to let me attend meetings, but he insisted that I have nothing to do with Jehovah's Witnesses. Surprisingly, however, the next day he changed his mind. My aunt later told me, "While you slept, you kept crying out 'Jehovah, please help me!' " I must have been dreaming and talking in my sleep. Happily, my cries softened my father's heart.
Also across the road from my home was Samoa's only golf course, where I earned pocket money by finding and selling lost golf balls. Later, I caddied for King Malietoa, who was at that time Samoa's head of State. The king thought that I had potential as a golfer and gave me his old golf clubs. He also arranged for two local businessmen to sponsor me as a professional golfer. He believed that my golfing skills would "put Samoa on the map." I was thrilled! But golf soon began to distract me from serving Jehovah, and that troubled my conscience. Matters came to a head when I won the Samoan Open Golf Championship against a field of international golfing professionals. The king was delighted and wanted me to meet an important American golfer at the presentation dinner that night. Feeling uneasy, I said to myself: 'This is the time to make your decision. Will you choose golf or Jehovah?' That night I attended the circuit assembly rehearsals rather than the presentation dinner.
Understandably, the king was furious. When my father confronted me, I had a long talk with him and explained from the Bible why serving Jehovah was so important to me. To my surprise he began to weep. He then told me: "When you were five years old, you were very sick and pronounced dead. We were lowering you into your grave when a bee stung you on your face. Suddenly, you yelled out and began to cry - just in time! Now I believe that you were saved to become a witness for Jehovah God." He never opposed me again.
After moving to New Zealand, I served for ten years as a regular pioneer and then as a special pioneer, and I married Robyn, who was also a special pioneer. In time, we had three children and moved to Australia. For the next 30 years, I worked full-time to support my family. Meanwhile, we helped many of our relatives come into the truth. I often prayed that Jehovah would help me to reenter the pioneer ranks. What a joy when, after retiring from secular employment in 2004, I finally achieved my goal. How glad I am that I chose to serve Jehovah rather than pursue professional golf!