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Singing in the New Year

[courtesy photo]

Many Samoans, to some degree, have reluctantly chosen to leave our homeland of American Samoa to seek a better future abroad. But no matter where we go, we always seem to find solace being in the presence of our own people. Such was the sense and the atmosphere at the Samoan Protestant Church on AMR, Oahu, Hawai’i.

New Year’s Eve service was filled with family and friends of our church members who were on island to celebrate a marriage, including a son of Samoa, a.k.a. former America’s Got Talent finalist (center), Paul Ieti, a U.S. Army private first class, who vaulted to prominence in American Samoa when he was a singer act from Season 9 of AGT. He was eliminated in the Semifinals.

According to AGT’s website, during a deployment in Afghanistan for nine months, Ieti’s "battle buddies" would ask him to sing for them as a means of escaping temporarily from the reality of war.

As a special guest at the Samoan Protestant Church, Ieti sang, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” — a perfect ending for a long 2017 and an excellent way to usher in the New Year in the House of the Lord, a member of the church said.

Elders or Tinā matutua, Mrs. Apomatagi Tuato’o and Mrs. Faapi’o Tatupu also offered words of wisdom in preparation of our journey into the year 2018, the member said, concluding that “prior to the conclusion of our New Year’s Eve service, we held hands, praising God, as Ieti led us with ‘Ua Tasi I Tatou Uma’ — reminding us all, we will always be one in Jesus Christ.”