Since the arrival of the first missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS), to bring the Gospel, the Church has been known by the name of LMS. Such has been the position since the year of 1830. In 1961, it was known as the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa and when it became independent in 1980, the name changed to that which is given above. The CCCAS (EFKAS) has been firmly established in the United States (mainland), Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia, besides American Samoa.
0 le taipisia a nu’u malol1 warns, counsels the inevitable of changes and incessant transformation of issues that are collectively global and glokal (glocal). That is, an issue or global tremor of events in one context can be experience and applicable in our fanua ma eleele2 and vice versa. For instance, in ecological crisis, civil unrest, terrorism, church government, development, human rights issues, decolonization, finance, poverty, hunger and so much more. No problem or evil can be isolated and be hidden from the omniscience of God, further we should never succumb to the seduction of safety in our fanua ma eleele2.
The 2016 General Assembly of the CCCAS aimed to dwell on the missio dei, with great emphasis on ‘To Be a Global Mission Church’. That is, the CCCAS understands herself as interconnected with the entirety of God’s Creation in all scopes, obstacles, and seeks timely and appropriately to encounter or assist God’s people and Creation at the point of deepest need. Thus, it hopes to strengthen the movement and commitment of the CCCAS as the church witnesses to the fullness of the promise of God’s love in the ongoing struggle of God’s reign of love and power over darkness.
Affiliation with CWM
Our membership as church denomination with Council for World Mission is indeed a blessing. It connects us to the rest of the Council’s organized missional efforts. We are mostly known in Samoa as the London Missionary Society or L.M.S church, and our present-day identification with CWM points to our origins. As we hear of the world’s increasing turbulence from our remote but peaceful region, we look to the response of other Christians in the world at large, and our affiliation with CWM reminds our people of the greatness of the God we serve.
CWM Missionaries at CCCAS
The presence of CWM missionaries amongst our local church reminds us of the vigorous missionary pursuit at the onset of our church. The work of these missionaries speaks volumes about the commitment of CWM to its mission and the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.
From the Church of South India, Rev. Donald taught at the Kanana Fou Theological Seminary and wife Christy Samuels taught Science for ten years at the Kanana Fou High School. They left us in 2014, leaving a big vacuum in our theological seminary community.
From the Presbyterian Church of India Mizoram Synod, three CWM women missionaries have been with Kanana Fou High School for ten years now. Rami Fanai heads the Social Studies Department as well as being the staff representative at all island wide social studies activities. Lalremtluangmapuii singlehandedly handles the Account Department, teaching all subjects therein. Her students won the island wide accounting competition held April 22, 2017. This is one of many placings of her students. Liantluangpuii heads the Science Department and teaches most of the senior courses. Her program has been recognized by the territory’s Ocean Center connected with the US NOAA.
The missionaries in high school lead the Christian Club, giving students the opportunity to grow as Christians and prepare them for the challenges at college and post high school institutions.
Mission Enabler (Personal Statement by Peseta Tialuga Seloti)
My story is a testimony of God’s sovereign hand in my life in connection with L.M.S. and now with its offspring, the Council for World Mission and through its missions in obedience to the Great Commission, “Go Ye Into The World And Preach The Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
For ten years, I have had a close friendship with the three women missionaries Rami, Mapuii, and Tluangpuii from the Presbyterian Church of India. Arriving in 2007, they were introduced to our Pastor Tusi Seanoa and wife Afutoto who introduced them to our church, Petesa-uta CCCAS. Pastor Tusi advised our congregation of the blessing we received through these missionaries, and we welcomed them with open hands. Afutoto has a heart for foreign mission as she was a young missionary to India through the Youth With a Mission before getting married and settling in our parish.
It is very convenient to take them into our church family for their house is located on the church central compound, just over the rock fence from our pastor’s house and our chapel. I volunteered to be the translator in our church for these foreign visitors when they first arrived, and the missionaries became permanent Samoan language clients of mine. My husband and our household became the Samoan family of the three missionaries. All of our Petesa-uta church members treat them as if they have been with us from the beginning.
In January 2015, I, a retired teacher of English, was called by our then Secretary General to teach English at the high school where my missionary sisters worked for many years. I got to see first-hand what they go through daily in their workplace. In that same year, I was approached to be the Mission Enabler, also known as Mission Officer for the CWM funded Mission Support Program #2 (MSP2).
I saw their struggles with being misunderstood, underpaid, and their loneliness; I also witnessed many of their answered prayers and successes as mission workers. I am most amazed with how much they love the Lord, and I am challenged with such strong prayer lives. Their love for our Lord is evident through the witness of their lifestyle and commitment. Through these my CWM friends, I have come to know the CWM missionaries Rev. Donald and Christy and the teachers from CWM in mission schools in Independent Samoa.
I watched how, in their absence from beloved families, they lost loved ones to death including one’s mother, another one’s brother who was the father figure in their family after losing her father at a young age, and the third one’s grandmother. Yet, no challenge was big enough to take any of them away from their calling in the mission field in which they were placed by CWM. They not only teach and build our youth to be strong Christians, but they are also devout prayer warriors for our church.
I have been blessed with their willingness to pray earnestly for me, my family, and our small congregation which is now their home church away from home.
The struggles of CCCAS as a Christian denomination are countless, and they are not exclusive. These battles run from spirituality, cultural influence, monies, administration, leadership, and organizational issues. Universal issues of control and power as well as church politics are a reality, and CCCAS has its fair share.
My Struggles, Yet Comforted
As a Mission Enabler, I play a facilitator’s role for scheduling and publicizing seminars. I also take the duty of presenting in seminars when done in my areas of strength, i.e. parenting, youth issues, music, language, etc. This arrangement expedites the progress of MSP2 proposed activities. I continue to carry out seminar-type outreaches for empowerment of CCCAS members at large and promote awareness of available resources and assistance through CWM sponsored programs. Several seminars are in the planning stage including one on worship music and hymnody.
The MSP2 is instrumental in directing thinking to a missional focus. However, as we stated in our reports, members can only effectively reach out as a result of in-house empowerment by the church fellowship. The funded activities of MSP2 are starting a movement that hopefully would continue after the funding expires. Such continuation can materialize if and when the missional congregations focus is properly put in action.
We continue with our basic focus of missionary work – “You are either a missionary or a mission field.”