APIA: The highly respected religious and spiritual leader, Reverend Elder Oka Fauolo was finally laid to rest next to his mothers grave, at his home of Fusi, Safotulafai on Savaii Island after a four hour service.
The National Council of Churches (NCC) Deputy Chairman Kasiano Leaupepe eulogizing on behalf of the Council, referred to Oka as the “boy from Savai’i who was bold enough to go the limits of achieving the overall dreams of any leader.”
“He touched everyone’s hearts,” Kasiano told a packed congregation of mourners.
“Oka, a boy from Savai’i came to the mainland and took hold of the spritual status not only for the church he represented, but for the country as a whole,” Kasiano stated.
The NCC Secretary Rev. Ma’auga read out a condolences from the Council of Churches in Jerusalem acknowledging Oka’s service to the Council. Oka and wife So’oletaua visited Isarel years ago and was fortunate to have discussions with members of the Jerusalem Council regarding the development of the Samoa National Council of Churches.
The service was conducted by the Deputy Chairman of the Congregationbal Christian Church, Rev. Tavita Roma with opportunities given to NCC, family and the Government representatives to give eulogies.
Ok’as widow, So’oletaua gave a brief eulogy remembering her husband as a “loving and caring person.”
A representativive of the influential Elders Committee – Komiti a le Au Toeiina also gave light on Oka’s role as a Toeaina.
He said when Oka was approached regaring the Au Toeaiina’s decision to bestow the “Toeaina honor” upon him, Oka declined it.
His resaon was that he (Oka) wanted to serve just like any other psstor. The Au Toeaiina then decied to honor him with the highest title within the Church, that of “Toeaina Malolo Manumalo o le Ekalesia” – Victorious Retired Elder Reverned of the Church.
“Oka had a special seat and microphone to himself at the CCCS annual conference and he will be greatly missed in next month’s annual conference,” he said.
According to the representative, when issues and debate reached heated discussion, “everyone looked at Oka’s corner for assistance and guidance”.
His coffin was carried from the Church to his resting place by a police escort, which is the highest honour accorded by the Government in recognition of Oka’s service to the people and country.
The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi presented the national flag which covered his coffin to Oka’s widow, So’oletaua on the graveside, as a gesture of the Goverments of appreciation of Oka’s service.
In return for this honor, So’o gave Tuilaepa their wedding ring as Oka’s final wish for the Prime Minister to toss inside his grave.
The highly respected religious and spiritual leader was 83 and is survived by his wife So’oletaua, five children and an 84 year old sister who lives at the family home at Fusi, Safotulafai.