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‘Hammering the pulpit’ in American Samoa


Tia Misa points to American Samoa on a map during a visit to Oklahoma Christian University. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

With all the usual activity of our latest print deadline (and the breaking news from Ghana) I didn’t have time to post news of my recent visit with Tia Misa. Tia is a founding member and elder of the Tafuna Church of Christ in American Samoa.
American Samoa is a small group of islands in the South Pacific, home to about 65,000 people. It is an unincorporated territory of the U.S., like Puerto Rico, and the southernmost place on the globe where you can stand on American soil (unless you count U.S. embassies).
Last year American Samoa got its own quarter.
The Tafuna church launched the annual South Pacific Lectures a few years ago. We have run a few other reports on the church’s work over the years (though Bobby and I debate which section of our paper it best fits โ€” Across the Nation or Around the World).

The 2009 American Samoa quarter. (Image from www.statequarterguide.com)

Tia was visiting the “mainland,” as the islanders say, with David and Danna Willis. The couple moved to American Samoa in 2005 to work with the young church. The church averages about 75 people on Sundays and is looking to move out of its rented facility and build on a half-acre of land.
Tia, a retired forester, is a native of the nation of Samoa, a sovereign group of islands west of American Samoa. He has an interesting conversion story. His wife, Pua, introduced him to the church, and he was converted by missionary Robert Martin. But Tia’s father-in-law didn’t think his conversion would stick.
After years of watching Tia attend church, his father-in-law changed his mind and asked to be baptized.
I asked Tia about his dreams for the Tafuna church in the next 10 years. He said that, when the Willises leave, he wants to see young Samoan preachers on fire with evangelistic spirit, “hammering the pulpit for the word of God.”
As a reporter, that’s the kind of quote that makes my heart jump with delight.
We’ll run a feature on Tia and his work sometime soon. And yes, that quote will be in the story.

  • Feedback
    Malo Tia,
    Ia fa’amanuia le Atua i le galuega o lo’o gafa ma outou uso i Tafuna. Manuia oe ma le aiga uso. Tofa Soifua
    Patrick
    July, 29 2010

    Patrick: Thank you for posting the first-ever comment on our blog in the Samoan language. Would you (or any of our other Samoan readers) care to translate?
    Erik Tryggestad
    July, 29 2010

    We talk much about restoring the 1st century church and in missions planting the New Testament Church. Where in the New Testament did anyone have a pulpit, much less hammer on it? Are we planting the New Testament Church or the American Church as inherited from Protestantism?
    John Paul Hundley
    July, 30 2010

    In response to John Paul: “For every action there is an equal and opposite “over-reaction”…were not talking a literal “hammer and pulpit” so its its nothing to get worked up about.
    Dennis
    July, 31 2010

    Translation of Patrick’s post:
    ‘Hi Tia,
    God bless the work you and the brothers/sisters are doing in Tafuna. may God’s blessings be upon you and your family.
    Regards.’
    Ola
    July, 31 2010

    Thank you Ola for a most accurate translation–God bless your work Erik! God is great isn’t He?
    Patrick
    August, 2 2010

    BTW, Erik, I know Tia personally–he is a gentleman, humble, caring and always looking to help others. But his love for the Lord is what separates him from so many. I have been blessed to worship at Tafuna on several occasions, they have a Cross-Cultural fellowship. It is beautiful to see. David and the elders along with the christians there are all involved in a wonderful work. Great article! All the best to you and your crew. Manuia le aso (Have a blessed day) ๐Ÿ™‚
    Patrick
    August, 2 2010

    I am translating the Samoan version though; Patrick was asking for. May god bless you folks in Tafuna American samoa for the things that you do. May God bless you all….
    Jim Masaniai
    August, 3 2010

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