Opinion

Focus: Remembering widows And widowers of Fiji

In our busy life’s schedules, it is easy to forget our widows and widowers. Sometimes they are forgotten. They are part of the vulnerable group of our society. This did
29 Aug 2017 11:00
Focus: Remembering widows And widowers of Fiji
The Wakolos organised activities for the four Stakes in Fiji and invited widows and widowers in the church and outside of the church. Photo: Sulueti Kama

In our busy life’s schedules, it is easy to forget our widows and widowers.

Sometimes they are forgotten. They are part of the vulnerable group of our society.

This did not escape the mind of  Elder Taniela Wakolo, the highest ranking Fijian in the global leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the LDS Church or nicknamed the Mormon Church.

Elder Taniela Wakolo with wife Anita Wakolo. Photo: Sulueti Kama

Elder Taniela Wakolo with wife Anita Wakolo. Photo: Sulueti Kama

Elder Wakolo and wife, Anita Wakolo, lost their mothers early in their married life.

They were praying for an opportunity to give back to the people of Fiji after they served a church mission in Arkansas, United States for three years. They felt inspired to meet the widows and widowers. That was what they did during their three-week visit before they moved to the church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, US. Elder Wakolo was an Area Authority based in Suva before he was called to serve as president of the Arkansas Little Rock Mission in the United States. Arkansas is a state in the southeastern part of the US.

He is now a General Authority Seventy, based in Salt Lake City. He and others in the same group are responsible to the 12 apostles who give them assignments to travel to any part of the world and conduct church business.

The Wakolos organised activities for the four Stakes in Fiji and invited widows and widowers in the church and outside of the church.

At first,  they were just going to hold the activity for their Nausori Stake.

But then they thought of the 99 other sheep and decided to hold it at other centres.

Before they returned home, they wrote to their families in Fiji and shared their proposed project.

They were all supportive so plans were rolled out for scriptures including at least 200 copies of the Book of Mormon to be bought for each widow and widower.

Some of the funds for these were donated by family and friends.

Mrs Wakolo and their daughter Jasmin went out each week in Little Rock to look for spectacles and purchased them to be donated to each participant in this activity. A niece offered to pay for 3 pairs of garments for each widow and widower who were temple members. Each participant was given a voucher to be redeemed for these garments.

Another friend donated pencils and sharpners for this activity

As the widows entered the cultural hall tables were covered with very attractive table clothes. Each seat had a plastic bag and on top was a copy of the Triple Combination in Fijian or an English copy of the Book of Mormon, a coloured pencil and a sharpner. A pair of glasses was given to each participant to help them read their scriptures.

Two tables were set aside where the ladies could go and paint their nails.

Master of Ceremony Sani Mairiwiri said “ a mother’s hands are hands of love, serving their children and families and for their protection.”

After the opening exercise Elder Wakolo shared the invitation by the church president Thomas S Monson to re-read the Book of Mormon again and again.

He invited the participants to turn to 3 Nephi Chapter 27 to read the summary and find and highlight all references to Jesus Christ. ‘When you read and colour the name of Jesus Christ, it will change the way you see things, you will feel different and will develop a righteous desire to continue to read and share what you’ve learnt,” said Elder Wakolo.  The Book of Mormon is the second witness of the Saviour Jesus Christ. The first is the Holy Bible.”

  The participants who attended  thoroughly enjoyed the activities. Eighty two-year-old Akata Fauor of Nadi expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the Wakolos for organising the activities.

“I felt special and loved, “ she said.

Amelia Bainivalu, 63, of Ba said “This activity has really touched my heart and I am just so thankful and happy to be with other widows of the  Church.”

West Stake President Solomone Kaumaitotoya, in his closing remarks sincerely thanked the Wakolos for their initiative, their counsel and their love. “We love you for the direction you have given us.” To the widows he thanked them for teaching their children and raising their families.

The Wakolos are an inspiration to Fijians. Many in the church have spoken affectionately about the great service the Wakolos are contributing to the international church efforts. They are on a fulltime mission for the church on a voluntary basis.

The Wakolos say “We love to serve the people.”

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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