(WAIPAHU--EASTER SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2016)--Talofa lava my Samoa and my America. Blessed evening from my beautiful hometown of Waipahu. It's been a beautiful Easter Sunday here. Truth be told, it's been an amazing and wonderfully peaceful Easter-Holy Week, not only in my town but in the Aloha State.
I am grateful. Not everyone in the world can say they enjoyed a peaceful Holy Week. Neither can everyone say they know peace.
Bombings in Belgium and Pakistan, the senseless loss of precious life, the grief and sadness felt by those in mourning and the anxiety of those who pray for the recovery of their church members, loved ones and friends -- have been burned into our memories, into hearts, minds and the world's history.
Moving forward from those tragedies, while it seems we are confronted with an uncertain future, as many leaders have urged this week: let's not lose hope. Don't even think of it. Instead, let's look to the history of who and what brought us Holy Week, in order to find it.
Holy Week is "the week that changed the world," beginning with Palm Sunday, Jesus' triumphal entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem. He also cleansed the Temple and taught in Jerusalem. On Thursday, what Samoans call "Aso Tofi," He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and humbly accepted his fate -- that He'd be betrayed and killed in order to save mankind, you, me, us, the whole world.
Such was Jesus' prayer as written in Luke 22:42 "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done."
On Good Friday, he was tortured, and before His hands and feet (vae ma lima) were nailed to that cross, on his back, He carried his cross to the place where it was be erected and where He died. On Saturday, He was placed in a tomb. And on Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday -- He rose from the dead and broke the bands of death, ensuring all mankind everlasting life if we believe in Him.
Because Jesus rose from the dead, I still breathe. And because I still breathe, I still write. If some people had it their way, I'd be dead and buried. More importantly, I'd no longer be writing for my God, my Jesus and my Samoa.
But here I am. I am thankful and without a doubt, I say to you that Jesus, our redeemer, lives.
I've never known peril, heartache and utter hatred until I gave my pen to my God, to my Lord and Savior and, in prayer, asked Him to lead me.
Like Jesus, I've been betrayed by my closest friends.
Like Jesus, I am hated by the authorities.
Like Jesus, I have forgiven those who have wronged me. I love them and have no ill feelings toward them. I pray that they may know the peace and blessings that come with following and serving Christ.
Like Jesus, outside the safety of church walls and numbers, in the public square, I've walked alone, serving others.
I am the poor. I am the hungry. I am the naked. I am the oppressed. I am the homeless. I am the downtrodden. I am Samoan-American poverty. I am the Samoan-American journalist.
I am the mother from Greece who dies 10, 20, 30 times a day, longing to hold my children, see their smiles, hear their laughter, ruffle their hair, pray with them, do homework with them and take them to church.
I am the journalist who sent her children away to keep them safe from the dangers of my work and the pains of poverty. I am the daughter who lost her mother to the dangerous field of journalism where speaking Jesus' name upsets the status quo.