Written by Pastor Faatafa Fulumua of Ola Toe Fuataina United Methodist Samoan Fellowship.
“Ola Toe Fuataina” means “Newness Life” or the “New Beginning.” This congregation was recognized in the Alaska Conference on June 3, 2016, when the East Anchorage United Methodist discontinued. When it started it had around 70 members, and around 25 constituent members and what made it unique is that its Worship Service, Sunday School, and the Youth ministry are all conducted in the Samoan language.
It is truly amazing what God was able to do through this group of believers. People came from different places, villages, and grew up in different denominations; came together to build the body of God’s family. As this body of Christ, they visited at the hospitals, nursing homes, and Church families when members were unable to attend services. Together they strengthened and supported them physically, mentally and especially spiritually.
Presently Ola Toe Fuataina UM Samoan Fellowship is worshipping at the St Christopher Church in Anchorage on Sunday morning. But youth meet on Thursday evening and choir practice — so important in our culture — is on Saturday evenings. And through these various services our church is welcoming all new members to grow together in spirit. We plant the joy and God will make them grow in spirit.
Our Sunday School and Youth are for everybody. All are invited to attend and participate in our Sunday School and the Youth activities. We pray, study and learn the Bible, memorize memory verses from the Bible, practice songs and evangelism for special Sundays, and special gatherings for the First Samoan UMC or other Churches. The Youth adopted the highway on Fireweed and the 15th Avenue and are witnessing to the community in how they have partnered to keep our city clean. But, at heart, our service and study help us on in our spiritual goal of being rooted in faith and love for each other.
One of our biggest events is our Christmas Ball, which occurs once a year during December. This is the day of the year we celebrate with all our families and friends. We always look forward to this event, thankful for the achievements of the church over the past year and looking ahead to the good work we’ll be doing in the year to come. We play games, fellowship, share meals, dance and sing songs together. The fun of the Christmas Ball creates good relationships with others.