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A Short Self Interview

"Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a woman suitable for him." Genesis 2:18

You are seen as the First Lady of the congregation, can you elaborate on what it means to be the First Lady?

* Hmmm..."First Lady" ! I am quite adverse to being addressed as such, because the "title" if I may, conjures up an image that holds an esteem far beyond the ordinary wife of a servant minister that I am. The Samoan term for a minister's wife is "Faletua" which translated literally is "Back House".

I see myself not as being a "First" but "Last" and the backbone that supports, offers counsel and serves alongside my husband, in the calling God has privileged us to serve, and honor Him where He has placed us.

So...what would you like people to address you as?

* I am certain that I have some very colorful names on the side, LOL...but in all seriousness, the name of endearment given to me by my parents, and called by members of my family and others I grew up with is "Koga". When we arrived in San Diego, the people out of courtesy referred to me as Tina, (Spiritual Mother). I was only 34 years old and a young mother at that, so I was taken aback and uncomfortable to hear my elders refer to me as such. Over the years as I hear the children refer to me as Tina, it signifies for me a mutual relationship of affection. There is a warmth in my soul, and the heart of the mother in me, deepens with an unwavering love for "a family within the family" God has blessed me with. A long way around the question, so the short answer is, Tina.

What do you see as your specific role and purpose within the Congregation?

* My first priority is to be a godly wife and mother. In that, is a reflection of the Who that is really important to me. I believe deeply in the Love and Grace of God in my life, it is because of what He has done for me, that I have received the blessings of being a wife and a mother. In essence, when I can be an example amongst my family of faith of "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy...(Philippians 4:8), then I am serving with a purpose in the specific role God has called me to live out. There are a lot of attributes and examples of being godly wives and mothers explained in the Holy Scriptures, for women who love the Lord. One should set aside time daily to read through, discern spiritually and trust in God's purpose and plan for each of our lives. Thereby making an earnest effort to follow and obey. Does it mean we will be perfect creatures of order and submission?

Take it from one who has fallen flat on her face several times, and cowered in the corners of defeat and shame, absolutely and unequivocally NO!

If you could say something to inspire the faith in others, what would it be?

*Love! When the Agape Love of God is the root and faithful heart of our service to Him, it is set aflame, and illuminates the Sacrificial of Love of Christ, for which an unworthy sinner that is me, has been redeemed and made worthy in the Father's eyes.

Love is such a misused word in our modern generation, and the deep meaning of Love is lost in the rise and passion of our emotive nature. Love in the Christian Faith is about Sacrifice and trusting with an unshakeable faith, that God's Love for His children is eternal, for He Loves us with an Everlasting Love. When we picture the outstretched arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus, on the Cross of Shame and Suffering, is that not enough to believe?

Last question - What counsel would you offer to Samoan women serving in ministry?

* I was not raised in the EFKS/EFKAS (Samoan Congregational Christian Church) although the Church in which we serve here in San Diego was initially established under the umbrella of the Samoan Congregational Christian Church.

I grew up in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, particularly the PIPC which is the Pacific Islander's Branch of the Church, so I was not really familiar with the expectations upon the wife of a minister, in a Samoan setting such as the one in San Diego. My counsel to Samoan women who serve in ministry in the role of "Faletua". Be the woman that God has called YOU to be! Trust in God explicitly to grant you the daily strength, wisdom and courage. Humble yourself to His correction, and never be defined by what others think of you. Love all people, even in the most difficult of circumstances. At the end of the road for all of us in ministry, it is about WHOM we serve and to WHOM the glory belongs.

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Beautiful Tina, finally had the chance to read the snippet!

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