I grew up an inquisitive child. I believe I would have loved smartphones and Google. I was the second child and first daughter but I became daddy’s little girl six months after my first birthday, when my next brother, Limoni was born. I had the coolest father who listened to my questions and stories. He was very patient and generous with his time for me.
As we grew older, at the age of five, our father took us to board with his paternal aunt Kulia (my godmother) for elementary school. At Kulia’s household, we learned a new weekday family norm that was different from ours. There was mandatory morning prayer at six in the morning and evening prayer was at nine before bedtime. Here, at my godmother Kulia’s family, I learned daily stories about Jesus and sang beautiful hymns, and heard prayers led by Grandpa and Grandma (Kulia’s parents). The children didn’t have any speaking privileges so here we all learned the importance of listening, hearing, meditating, and wondering in the scripture. I was convinced since a young age, these stories in the Bible are more than what I could understand; I was yet to understand the full story.
Now, having read the Bible and spend some years in the theology school of Iliff, in Denver University, I admit the mystery of God is profound. But we learn and know God’s mystery in some part through our reading of the scriptures. Paul in his letter to Timothy reminded him that no matter what he heard and what was going on in the community, he must trust what he was taught in the scriptures and the teachings of his family. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which can make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Timothy 3:14-15. The significance of reading the scripture is it teaches and makes us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Then Paul also went on to say that, “All scriptures are inspired by God and are useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”
But we must not lose heart yet for I believe these encouraging words from Paul to Timothy speak to us too, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.”
While I was at Godmother Kulia’s house at the age of seven, I experienced my first major hurricane with a tsunami warning. But I was not scared at all for while the strong wind battered our big hut, the soft sound of Grandpa Faiva’s prayer calmed our hearts to sleep. We woke up to the dim light of our storm lamps to sing hymns together and offer prayers of thanksgiving. To a little child, it was a normal day because we still prayed together at six in the morning and again at nine in the evening before we rested for the night. We must not allow our fear and frustration to blind our views from the pleasure of enjoying some of the norms in our lives, especially the lovely weather we have had this summer. My favorite thing to do is to call someone to visit and pray together. We can all do that with one another and then say the Lord’s prayer together. Amen.
Pastor Kalina Malua Katoa