Tau Leota has had several brushes with death, but God has always been with him. But when Tau discovered Glenfield Corps, he got a second chance at life—with God in the driver’s seat.
I was born in Samoa where church was an integral part of my life. Growing up I had several experiences where I nearly died and felt the presence of God. One time, back in the 1960s, I was in a big hurricane when a large solid object nearly struck me—miraculously the object missed me by less than a metre. Another time, I was visiting relatives in Pago Pago, when I was nearly electrocuted. I know that God was always with me in these moments.
I moved to New Zealand in 1982, and have attended a number of churches. However, I often wrestled with some of the teachings because I didn’t feel many Christians ‘walked the talk’ or truly lived the gospel. In 2003, I returned to Samoa to attend a theological college so I could train to become a preacher. Yet, after four years of study, I felt many of the elites (those who are responsible for just preaching the word) were just discussing ideas, rather than actually practising them. I eventually became unhappy with my previous church and left for around four years.
But, one day, something unusual happened. I am a bus driver for Ritchies and was driving a run through Glenfield. I had stopped at the intersection outside The Salvation Army on the corner of Glenfield and Kaipatiki Roads, when I noticed a sign outside the church. There was something about the language on the sign that stood out to me. This sounded like a church that really walked the talk, and genuinely cared about people in need. It was obvious that this was a community helping people and changing lives.
My wife Elepise and I have now been attending the Glenfield Corps for three years, led by Majors Bruce and Marilyn Tremain. On 17 June we were officially made adherents! One day, I want to be an officer. I’m very open to seeing where the Lord takes me—who knows, I may even end up going back to Samoa to be part of the amazing work the Army is doing in my homeland!
My wife also really loves being part of the corps and attends a ladies’ group. Lately, we have enjoyed being involved with fundraising for the Self Denial Appeal.
I like bus driving and wish I had started it when I had first arrived in New Zealand! I especially love being able to share the amazing work the Army is doing—I regularly have a chance to chat to different people as I drive round the suburbs.
I believe being part of the Army’s work is a great way of serving the Lord. Thanks to my corps, there are a lot of exciting things happening in Glenfield!
By Tau Leota (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 22 September 2018, p11 - You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.