New Soldiers Celebrated at Papakura Corps
Papakura Corps enrolled three new soldiers recently, the first since corps officers Tofi and Eddie Metotisi started their appointment. The new soldiers have been attending the corps for several years and wanted to take the next step to commit to God’s plan for their lives.
The soldiers enrolled were Kilepoa Mea’ole-Naea, and the couple Nati and Gaufa Taufua Seumanutafa who shared their testimonies and journeys to become soldiers in The Salvation Army.
Kilepoa shared his story of having a stroke in 2020. This caused internal bleeding in his head which he needed surgery for. He and his family prayed for a miracle; one morning, in a dream-like state, he got up and knelt in prayer and felt the holy presence of God. In his next scan, they discovered the bleeding had miraculously stopped.
Later in 2022, he ended up back in hospital with gallstones and needed to have surgery to remove these. When he was having surgery, he couldn’t feel anything but could hear everything. The medical team were struggling to stabilise his blood pressure until a nurse stepped in. Kilepoa felt she was an angel sent from God to help him in that moment. He felt connected to Psalm 1 in his call to soldiership, in that if you are obedient to God, he will return the favour with blessings.
Nati and Gaufa also shared about how they lived in Samoa before moving to New Zealand, and always attended Samoan churches. During a drive home from church, their children mentioned how they would fall asleep in church because they couldn’t understand the Samoan language. Even though Nati preferred church in Samoan, his native language, they decided to attend an English-speaking church for their children. They ended up joining Papakura Corps and almost four years later, made the decision to become soldiers.
All three of the soldiers are currently serving in the corps. Nati regularly preaches sermons and Gaufa is part of the music team; Kilepoa has a desire to serve with youth and young people in their corps.
The three of them wanted to do the soldiership course earlier but weren’t able to because of the changeover of corps officers. Although they finally completed the course early last year, due to sickness and other delays, they didn’t have their official ceremony until later in the year.
Corps officer Tofi Metotisi expressed how despite the delays, the time felt just right for the new soldiers: ‘we kept asking them and they said that it’s just the right time, because we also wanted them to have their family and friends come and witness their day’.
Since the confirmation ceremony, other church members have expressed interest in pursuing soldiership, which is exciting for Tofi and Eddie.
Tofi reflected, ‘I think taking that step into soldiership shows you’re serious about your walk with the Lord and that you’re totally in love with him and he’s in control. And so now they want to be used to serve him in whatever way he shows them’.
Words: Hope Burmeister