Josh Mosa’ati, featured in this year’s Red Shield adverts, is a talented rugby player and musician—and balances it all with his Christian faith. As told to Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Allott.
My name is Joshua Mosa’ati and I recently took part in a photoshoot to promote this year’s Red Shield Appeal with the All Blacks captain, Kieran Read. Most people know me as Josh.
I’m 19 years old and work as an apprentice carpenter on a commercial building site in central Christchurch. I started work at 5 o’clock in the morning to take time off for the photos!
Work helps me pay my bills and things, but having God in my life is just as important. It’s tough being a Christian on a building site. I work with some who are Christians, but others like to have me on and that’s a challenge. Colourful language goes with the job! As an apprentice, I work with a qualified carpenter—particularly when I’m learning new tasks. I also have carpentry trade books that I need to study.
Rugby takes up a lot of my free time. I’ve been playing as an open-side flanker with the Burnside Club senior team, but the coach wants me to change to centre. At present I’m in our senior reserve team while I get used to playing in the backline and learn about my new position. I play hard, but try not to be overly aggressive. When there’s a fight I prefer to walk away. When I don’t agree with the ref, I may have a little argument, but then get on with the game. I train four evenings a week and that includes gym, field and class sessions. I don’t like things to be half done, so I seek perfection.
I was born in Palmerston North, but my Tongan roots are quite important to me. Tongan was my first language when I was growing up, and we’ve always used it at home. When I was younger, we used to go back to Tonga every year. It’s not so easy now with the commitments we each have, but I still like going back to meet my cousins and other family members. The last time we went back was in 2012. I have a cousin in Christchurch who encourages me to perform Tongan dancing and singing and we get together three or four times a year.
Brass banding is important to us as a family. Tonga has a police band and there are bands in the military forces. Many schools have bands and that’s where my father learnt to play. After we came to Christchurch, he saw a Salvation Army band playing in a street. He realised that his Christian faith could be expressed in this way, so he chased up the bandmaster and that brought us to the Army.
I now play trombone with my dad Daniel, in the Christchurch City Corps Band, and my brother Stephen plays cornet. He and I are also members of the Salvation Army NZFTS Youth Band. It was our privilege to go to California with this band last year. The eight kilometre march that we did in the cold was the first time I’d marched in public with a band! My shoulders ached with holding up my trombone.
I like singing. I get that from my dad. He really loves singing. We sing in Tongan as a family at home and sometimes in Army meetings. Along with Mum and Dad, I also sing in the songsters.
I’m a member of the youth group, but don’t turn up as much as I’d like. Last year, Stephen and I became senior soldiers of The Salvation Army. My parents are recruiting sergeants at the corps (church) but it’s something I wanted to do for myself. My Christian faith provides a basis for my busy life.
By Josh Mosa’ati (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 1 June 2019, p11. You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.