Photo: The memorial of John Williams’ landing on the island of Savaii in Samoa – the first missionary to Samoa


Through reading the Samoan language tract O le Tala Moni and personal visitation with the Howse family, 18-year-old Lene came into contact with the Howse family. He wished to live with them in order to study at Vailoa with a view to working for the church at the completion of his studies. He was a receptive student who responded to Seventh-day Adventist teachings, and became the first consistent Samoan Sabbath-keeper.

When he heard his father was ill, he returned to his home and spoke words of comfort and assurance, explaining also his new-found beliefs to the family. But within the culture, this bought shame on his London Missionary Society family and so he was banished from his home. He continued to share his faith through literature evangelism, visiting villages on both the islands of Upolu and Savai’I islands. Unfortunately, before his baptism, he had contracted tuberculosis, which took his life in 1917.

His own family were proud of Lene’s faithfulness, his legacy being that many of his family members became more positive towards the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its beliefs.


Hay, D E (2005). Samoa: 100 + Years: The church’s story, 1891 onwards. Newcastle, NSW: David E. Hay.


In 1920, Vaiea was a prisoner in the Apia jail. She had murdered her husband. As a result of visits from Pastor Steed and other pastors, Vaiea expressed the wish to become a Seventh-day Adventist. Such a request was unheard of, but finally the Inspector of Prisons granted the request and she was baptised along with a warder in May 1920.

As a newly baptised woman, she knew she needed to ask forgiveness from her husband’s family, and she met with her deceased husband’s three sisters. With prayer in her heart, she pleaded for forgiveness. Tears flowed, washing away bitterness and resentment between the women as they embraced, forgiveness and love filling their hearts. The result of Vaiea’s expression of faith were the baptisms of her daughters, a
relative, and other inmates.


Hay, D. E. (2005). Samoa: 100 + Years: The church’s story, 1891 onwards. Newcastle, NSW: David E. Hay.

Puni and Vau

Puni and his wife Vau were faithful adherents of the London Missionary Society in their village of Samatua, which lies at the western end of the island of Upolu, Samoa. Puni, a titled chief, was training for the ministry with the London Missionary Society; his wife, Vau Saibsti, was the daughter of Society missionaries to Papua New Guinea.

While on a ministerial locum, he was called home to take the family title Chief. Vau’s brother, a recently converted Seventh-day Adventist shared his love of Christ with his sister and brother-in-law and in 1936, both Puni and Vau decided to become Adventists.

But before declaring their new faith, they needed to complete the construction and payment of a new Society church in Samatau and find a replacement minister for the congregation. As he preached to his LMS congregation, he chose as his verse John 16:7: “It is expedient for you that I go away.” The people were puzzled as he explained that he was now a Seventh-day Adventist. To this declaration the Supreme
Council of Chiefs informed him that he must leave the village; no-one was permitted to visit him, and friends and relatives became enemies.

Puni was baptised in 1941 at the Vailoa Missionary College and lived in a form of exile for the next six years, when in 1947 the Council decision was overturned by the Aana District Supreme Authority at the Assembly of the Samoan People’s Representatives.

He returned to his village as chief, where he organised a fund to build a proper church for the small Seventh-day Adventist congregation on land he donated land, upon which a church was dedicated in 1955.

Puni lived to age 107. On his last day he spoke to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. He stressed the need to remain faithful to God and His work, and the need to be ready for the imminent return of Jesus Christ. And his family have continued his legacy.


Raea, Puni. (2010). Puni and Vau: swimming against the tide of accepted beliefs, they it to shore of biblical certainty. Journal of Pacific Adventist History. 9 (1), 37-39.

Sanika Afa’ese Ioane Tuilagi

Sanika Afa’ese was a student at the prestigious Malifa government school when he noticed the pages of a magazine lying on the classroom floor. He picked up the pages, which were from a Signs of the Times magazine, and taking a closer look read the heading, “Why I became an Adventist.” After reading the page, his interest was piqued. He courageously attended Saturday Sabbath services at Lalovaea, attentively listening to the Sabbath School discussions and the preaching. He continued to attend the Sabbath meetings, also enjoying the fellowship of the small and friendly congregation. He completed a series of O le Tala Moni articles and Bible studies and was baptised on New Year’s Day 1931 by Pastor Raimond Reye in the Vaisigano River in Apia.

As a teacher, he was employed in the government secondary school. In 1933, he was asked to teach at the Adventist Vailoa school. This commenced a long and successful ministry as a teacher, minister, and district director in both Western and America Samoa, only retiring in 1965. He continued to support the church, first as a minister of the Apia Church and then as a minister of Samoan churches in Hawaii and California.


Hay, D. E. (2005). Samoa: 100 + Years: The church’s story, 1891 onwards. Newcastle, NSW: David E. Hay.

Pastor Tini Inu

Tini Inu worked for the mission in Samoa, going wherever the church called him. Tini’s skill was in relating to different people, persuading them to join the Adventist faith. Among those he won were Papu and his wife from Tutuila, and Matila, a convict on Upolu.

Tini travelled the rough terrain, balancing his war surplus jeep on the edge of the notorious Mafa Pass as he travelled from place to place. He worked on islands like Manono, Manu and Wallis, always endearing himself to the people. He was often involved in delicate negotiation to hold Sabbath services risking the possibility of stoning, all for the opportunity to win souls for the church.


Book Review: Abbie Le’ala Lam Yuen Watt (2000). Tini. Trailblazer in the wake of the Pitcairn. Brushton, NY: Teach Services.

Samoa and their missionaries

Christianity was brought to Samoa by Methodist Tongans in 1828. Others followed: first, John Williams and the London Missionary Society, then the Roman Catholic mission in Savaii, and finally, the Mormons in 1888. Some Seventh-day Adventist missionaries called at Apia on their way to Australia, with the first formal contact being the visit of the Pitcairn in 1891. All Adventist visitors commented about Samoan Christians worshipping on Saturday believing it to be Sunday. Twelve months later, the calendar confusion was corrected when King Malietoa decreed that Tuesday, July 5, 1892, would be Tuesday, July 4.

Four years later the Pitcairn called again. Dr Frederick and Mina Braucht, after failing to gain acceptance in Fiji with his American qualifications, continued to Samoa. Not long after, Mina’s missionary mother, Sarah Owen, passed away. Mina’s father, Dudley, together with his two youngest children, joined Braucht to assist in Samoa. James McCoy’s daughter, Emily, embarked as nursing assistant to Dr Braucht, arriving in Apia on October 22, 1895. Patients flocked to Braucht’s medical centre. A new medical centre opened in Apia and Dudley Owen organised fundraising for a new sanatorium. When in the first days of 1899 fighting broke out among Samoan factions near the hospital, Apia became a fortified town. Although there was some loss of life, eventually a truce was made, and some 3400 rifles surrendered.

From this time, the work of the Sanitarium began to wane. Although a series of doctors tried to keep it open, the Sanitarium was virtually idle until the arrival of Dr George and Minnie Gibson from America in 1900, and Dr Braucht in 1901. Self-supporting missionaries Pastor Delos Lake and his wife established an industrial school with an initial 60 students in Apia. But despite this concerted medical and pastoral work, in 1903, due to the declining health of nurses and doctors including Professor Lake, things began to unravel, and the Sanitarium was without staff.

Another start was made at the Sanitarium, but again most of the medical staff had to leave due to poor health. A decade of sacrifice had produced only minimal results.

At the 1906 Australian Union Conference Session, it was voted to include Samoa, Tonga and Fiji in the Central Polynesian Mission. A plea by Fulton led the Session to appoint Joseph and Julia Steed to Samoa in 1907. The German Governor, Dr Wilhelm Solf, made it clear that the Adventist mission confine its activities to Savaii, as he believed there were too many mission groups on Upolu. When Steed explained to Solf that the Adventist mission was both medical and evangelistic, Solf’s attitude to the church softened and he gave permission for Adventists to work anywhere in Western Samoa. The first Adventist church in Samoa was organized on the first Sabbath of 1908. It comprised a handful of Europeans, among them Charlie Dexter, an American merchant reared in Tahiti. Although the Europeans in Samoa kept enquiring as to when the Sanitarium might reopen, due to the lack of medical staff it never did.

Steed plied his energies at what he could do best—making friends, selling books, giving away tracts, and learning the Samoan language. The Steeds took two young people into their home: a young man Fred Hunt, a Tongan-Samoan of Wesleyan training, and a young woman, Vaiola Kerisome, a Niuean-Samoan who later took a leading role on Niue Island. These youths were instrumental in translating various
tracts and Bible Readings into Samoan.

In 1909, Steed conducted an evangelistic series. With his youngest son Harry and two Samoan boys, Steed also trekked the same stony path Braucht and Lake had trod on the south-east coast to distribute tracts. That some year, many Samoans revolted against colonial rule. But threatened by German warships the rebellion failed. It was also in 1909 that Tom and Edith Howse arrived in Samoa to learn the language and continue Steeds’ pioneering evangelism. At the time, church membership in Apia was composed of three Europeans and the newly arrived missionaries.

The German colonial government forbad the teaching of English in Samoa, insisting schools use German, so the school was closed. The door to reopen educational work would not be opened until Germany lost control of Western Samoa during World War I. In 1911, Tom Howse began a four-page monthly missionary magazine, the Le Tala Moni (The True Story). Mrs Francis (Nicholas) Waugh served as its editor and Kerisome did the translation work. Le Tala Moni was an instant success as it was distributed freely in the villages and on the streets of Apia.

Howse, Edwin Butz and Andrew Stewart, director of the Fiji Mission, made a thorough search for new property. Their choice property was Vailoa, east of Apia, which became a prosperous mission base. With the starting of Vailoa, Steed returned to Samoa in 1914 to direct the mission. Before long, the combined efforts of the range of missionaries over many years began to bear fruit, with a small number of Samoans
keeping the Sabbath. When American John Cole, president of the New Zealand Conference, visited in 1915, he dedicated a new church, also conducting the first baptism of Samoans—two men and three women, one of the women was the sister of the High Chief at Falefa, east of Saluafata. This chief, with his wife and three others, were also baptised before the end of the year. Among the first group of baptismal
candidates was a young man Lene (or Lenni) of Savaii. His interest was first aroused by reading the Tala Moni. He attended services at Vailoa, rapidly absorbing and living the Advent message.

Enrolment Vailoa started out at 62 and mushroomed the following year, then lost momentum and closed, not to be reopened until 1930. This initial failure of the Vailoa school was offset somewhat by successes elsewhere. Edith Howse was once again operating a prospering little school in Apia. Her long friendship with the Reye family was instrumental in the baptism of Ernst and Margaretta Reye. Margaretta Reye had
an interesting lineage of one-part Samoan and three-parts English aristocracy. Her husband, Ernst, belonged to a German family of many public figures and distinguished scientists. In 1903, Governor Solf had appointed Reye as Treasurer of the German Government in Samoa, a post he held until World War 1. During the war years, Margaretta was baptised, followed by Ernst and their eldest son Raimund, in 1919. However, the post-war years were characterized by a slowly declining membership and more comings and goings of missionaries with indifferent health. For 15 months the mission was without a missionary at all. Instead, Charlie Dexter and Ernst Reye led out in the services for the few worshippers still present.

Raimond Reye, after training at Avondale College, with his Australian wife, returned to Samoa. Fluent in Samoan, German and English, Raymond developed a thriving Adventist community employing at least six Samoan church workers by 1933.

Reye saw the need of a boarding school where the youth could be properly influenced. He determined to reactivate the work that Lake had begun. The school had opened in 1930 with 18 students, with Reye teaching many of the classes. He was assisted by Afele Atoa, who had been a government schoolteacher. All classes were conducted in Samoan except for the English class. With the school firmly established, Reye moved back into Apia to concentrate on evangelism. It was under Reye’s superintendence through the 1930s that the first generation of Samoan Adventists formed. It was to multiply tenfold in the second generation.

The fono was one innovation Reye introduced to Samoa, which had an enormous influence on mission growth and membership cohesion. The fono was an annual council, first held in 1933 at Vailoa, and was an adaptation of the homeland camp meetings. These were times for assessment and planning, community baptisms and fellowship, which bonded the isolated members. In 1936, Reye introduced regular conventions. By 1935, further mission outposts were established at Vailele, eight kilometres east of Apia, and at Satomai. A primary school was opened at Satomai, 16 kms west of Apia.

The Howses, who had returned for a final term of service in Samoa, cared for Vailoa Training School and later transferred to Savaii and worked with the national pioneers. Just prior to the outbreak of the World War 1, the Howses returned to their homeland. They had given three terms of service in Samoa, totalling nearly 19 years.

Western Samoa, being a mandated territory of New Zealand at the time, was allied to Britain during the years of World War II. Germans living in the area had to be registered as aliens. Reye lodged his application at the Apia Police Station and was registered as Alien No 7. As the perimeter of war surged across the Pacific, stringent conditions were placed on aliens, and Reye’s movements were curtailed. Reye ordained Neru, placing him in charge of pastoral work and a committee of five Samoan nationals was hastily appointed to take care of the mission. After a tearful farewell to his wife and three children, Ramona, Arnold and Ernest, Reye were escorted to the internment building at Mulinuu Point, Apia, to await transfer.

Despite such issues, the war years did little to deter evangelism.

Reye spent eight months in a bleak camp on Somes Island before relatives secured his parole. The tides of war had turned, opening the way for authorities to grant permission for Reye to return. He and his family arrived back in Samoa in 1945. Reye became acting-superintendent of the Samoan Mission. At this time, Reye translated the booklet Steps to Christ into Samoan. Reye then transferred from Apia to the mission home on the seashore at Siufaga, Savaii. Disruptions there were minimized, enabling him to write and compile two Samoan volumes on Adventist doctrines before his health, too, declined. He returned to New Zealand in 1947. The following year saw the Adventist membership in Samoa reach 300. With a strong first generation established the membership doubled in the next six years despite the migration of some to New Zealand. Figures fluctuated until the 1960s when membership mushroomed across the second and third generations Adventists.

The educational and evangelistic work has continued. Scores of Samoans have joined forces as missionaries themselves. New headquarters and mission stations have been established. But the names of Braucht, McCoy, Young, Steed, Howse, Reye and Afaese remain in early Samoan Adventist history as the most illustrious ones, without detracting from the contribution made by many others.

Tavita Niu (1921-86)

Tavita Niu was a student of Vaila Training School in Samoa in the early 1940s. In 1949, he became the second Pacific Islander to permanently establish the Seventh-day Adventist church in another Pacific Island country. Against great opposition he entered Ellice Islands (renamed Tuvalu) in 1946. Christianity had reached the eight permanently inhabited islands through Polynesian nationals and Samoans of the
London Missionary Society. The Roman Catholic Church also had a presence.

It was suggested by Raimund Reye, a well-known missionary serving in Samoa, that Tavita Niu, a pastor-teacher, go to Funafuti as a paid national worker. Tavita’s father, Niu, was an Ellice Islander from Nukulaelae had planned to return home and to transfer land to his family, taking Tavita with him. Most of the Ellice group of islands were proclaimed as a “closed district” and no missionaries were able to land on the islands without a permit issued by the resident commissioner. However, the mission vessel was free to move about the colony provided it entered at a recognised port of entry and complied with the usual formalities.

Within days of Tavita sailing, opposition arose. An LMS missionary on board contacted the officials of the Western Pacific High Commission asking that Tavita and family be denied entrance to the Ellice Islands. Tavita and his family had to stay in Suva. Time was not wasted as he obtained printing experience and improved his teaching ability. Tavita’s father returned from the Ellice Islands to Fiji with his new
Samoan wife.

Finally, Tavita and his family, and his father and his family, travelled to the Ellice Islands. To Tavita’ surprise, some of his extended family were interested in the Adventist message. Eventually Niu returned to Funafuti leaving Tavita as the new landowner. The problem was that people realised that father and son were attempting to establish a new religion on the island. This angered some of the people, especially
the LMS members.

John Howse, on the Fetu Ao came to support Tavita. During his one-day visit, he encouraged the few Adventist believers. It was obvious to Howse that establishing the SDA Church on Nukulaelae would be difficult. It was decided that Fetu and his son Tautasi, and relatives, join Tavita. Between 20 and 30 met each Sabbath. There was some political intervention, it being voted that there be no changes to the Closed Districts Ordinance and the Adventist church could not enter the Ellice Islands. John Howse was only allowed to anchor off the islands nor adherents allowed to visit on board. On December 20, a delegation told the District Officer that they wanted all Seventh-day Adventist supporters banished from the island. With thoughtful and patient diplomacy, the District Officer convinced the people of the need for peace and religious tolerance. The spirit of tolerance improved, but Tavita continued to suffer verbal abuse and threats. The DO finally left his island and travelled to consult with Howse on Tarawa. Returning on the Fetu Ao, Howse discovered he was without permit to land Nukulaelae, so he was forced to conduct Sabbath services on the boat. Again requests were made to the District Officer for Tavita to return home.
Permission was finally granted him, but his wife would need a permit.

Threats continued to come, Tavita and his wife even threatened with physical abuse. Their home was burnt to the ground. Even so, on March 22, 1949, Howse secretly baptised seven people in the Funfuti Lagoon at Luamanifi.

Eventually some people discovered that Tavita was the son of Niu’s wife by her former Samoan husband, and that Niu had adopted Tavita on the death of his own child, renaming him Tavita. This implied that Tavita was not legally an Ellice Islander. In an effort not to discourage the church members and not to give victory to the opponents, Tavita left for furlough in Samoa.

At the end of a well-deserved rest, Tavita was transferred to Abemama Island in the Gilberts, where he assumed leadership of a newly established school set up by his friend Samuela Vailopa.

Meanwhile, persecution continued on Funafuti. Church members were prevented involvement in community affairs, their gardens were destroyed, and houses damaged. Eventually, they were driven from their homes and sought refuge on Papa Elise (now Funangongo) where they stayed for several years. During these difficult times, Tui, a recent convert, Apete, Lutelu and Alefaio were the shepherds of the group, with Tavita sending letters of encouragement from Funafuti.

In 1955, Tavita returned to Samoa and assisted with the development of a large school in Apia as well as pastoring a church. He was ordained in 1958, continuing his successful service in youth, pastoral and district leadership. For many years following.


Hay, D. E. (2001). A national expatriate of note: Tavita Niu of Samoa. Beyond hostility and heartache, the Advent Message was established in an isolated Pacific country. Pacific Church History, 1(1). Pp. 17-26.

Vaiola (Kerisome) Head

Vai Kerisome was the daughter of a Niuean pastor and a Samoan mother serving in Tonga. She became a Seventh-day Adventist in Samoa while staying in the home of Joseph Steed. In 1908, Vai was present at a Week of Prayer meeting in Tonga when she responded to an appeal to be a missionary to the island of Niue. Although impressed to take up the challenge, she did not know how she could.

From 1911 to 1913, she attended Avondale Missionary College. While there, she received letters from children on Niue requesting a teacher. Relatives also asked her to produce a Christian paper in the Niuean language given her knowledge in both the Samoan and Niuean languages.

When she finally left, she was conscious of the leading and the presence of the Spirit of God in her life. She worked for a year with Maoris in New Zealand, and then went to Niue as a self-supporting missionary. She operated a school for three days and visited with the community over the rest of the week. In 1920, the New Zealand government asked her to commence the first official school on Niue. She continued to teach, translate and support any Adventist missionaries who came to Niue. She also donated land for churches. In 1953, she was honoured for her work in education by being presented to Queen Elizabeth in Wellington and was awarded an MBE in 1958 as the “Mother of Education” on Niue.


Hay, D. E. (2005). Samoa: 100 + Years: The church’s story, 1891 onwards. Newcastle, NSW: David E. Hay.

Sara Mareta Young

Like her cousin Emily McCoy, Sara Young had departed the island of Pitcairn in 1894 on the Pitcairn. At first Sara assisted the Stringer family in Rurutu with dental, nursing and farming activities. On the next Pitcairn trip, Sara joined with her cousin Maria, supporting Edwin and Florence Butz and the Hilliard family in Tonga. When the Hilliard family returned to Australia, she went with them, meeting Ellen White.

Eventually she had the opportunity to study nursing at the Sydney Sanitarium. Immediately after graduating from the first nursing class of the Sanitarium in 1904, Sara headed for Apia, Samoa, where she assisted Dr Alfred Vollmar and nurse James Southon. When Dr Vollmar had to return to America due to poor health, the Samoa Sanitarium was left in the care of Sara and James. Unfortunately, due to overwork and long hours, she succumbed to influenza and died, true servant of God who paid the
ultimate price for her commitment.


Hay, D. E. (2005). Samoa: 100 + Years: The church’s story, 1891 onwards. Newcastle, NSW: David E. Hay.

Litster, W. G. (1997). Avondale’s Pioneer Women Missionaries. In B. D. Oliver, A. S. Currie & D. E. Robertson (Eds.). Avondale and the South Pacific: 100 Years of Mission. Cooranbong, NSW: Avondale Academic Press. Pp. 57-58.

Tesese Tasi

Tesese Tasi was born at Taga on the island of Savai’i in Western Samoa in July 1917. His primary school education was in the Marist Brothers School in Apia and at Tuasivi Training School, and his secondary education at Leulumoega High School. Through his boyhood days he had wanted to be a missionary, so he attended the LMD Malua Theological College. Through the influence of a friend, he went to Vailoa Adventist Training School and was baptised in 1940.

After graduation in 1942 (he was ordained in 1959), he commenced a long and
fruitful service for the church teaching at Siufaga, Savai’i (1943), Samatau (1946–47),
Baila (1948–51), Palauli on Savai’i (1952); mission department director (1953–58);
district director for Savai’i, American Samoa (1959); minister of Fasitootai Church,
Upolu (1966–68); departmental work and district director of Upolu (1989) along with
editor of O le Talu Moni. Following a year as minister of the Apia church, he became
principal of Vailoa.
He commenced overseas service in 1975, spending five years at the Westmere and
Balmoral churches in Auckland, New Zealand, then South Auckland (1981–82),
before retiring. After three years in retirement, he was called to Brisbane in Australia,
where he cared for the Scarborough Church (1986–89). After two more years in
retirement, he again ministered there (1993–96), and died in July 2003.
Tesese Tasi (2003). Life Sketches: Tesese Tasi. Pacific Church History. 3(2), p. 39.

Samoa: Gods Story of Love, Hope & Faith

1899The Seventh-day Adventist Church enters Upolu Island
Berlin Treaty annulled and British withdraw from Tonga, Niue and Solomon Islands
1828Christianity arrives in Samoa under Methodist Tongans. Other groups follow: John Williams and London Missionary Society, then Roman Catholic mission in Savaii, and Mormons
Visit from the Pitcairn
1891Adventist visitors comment on Samoan Christians worshipping on Saturday believing it to be Sunday
SDA missionaries canvassed books
Saturday services attended by a handful of English and American acquaintances, including Captain Turner, a visiting businessman and nephew o the man who built the Pitcairn
1896Dr Frederick & wife Mina Braucht, with Mina’s widowed father, Dudley, and two youngest children join the Brauchts to assist in Samoa. Dr Braucht assisted by James McCoy’s daughter, Emily Braucht dubbed the “Jewish Doctor” because of his Saturday Sabbath-keeping
Nurse Louise Burkhardt arrives from Battle Creek to ease the frantic work place for Braucht and McCoy
Nurse Sybil Read arrives from Australia
William Flodin, another nurse, came with the Pitcairn
Dr Merritt Kellogg and new wife, Eleanor (an Australian), arrive not primarily to relieve the medical work but to use his carpentry skills
1899Fighting breaks out among Samoan factions
Delos Lake & wife arrived from America to start a school or Samoans.
Warships anchored in the harbour; Braucht had to stay in the American consulate dur to medical expertise
Shelling directed at Samoan villages and convinces both factions to respect the peace-keeping forces of the colonialists
American Medical Missionary Board transfers the Brauchts to New Zealand; Dudley Owen also goes
Dr Archelous and Mina Stuttaford arrive
1898Samuelu, a Solomon Islander working in Apia, an early patient of Stuttafords, a lay-preacher, dies as a result of arm being amputated
1900Dr George & Minnie Gibson arrive from America, supported by Nurse John Stevenson from Sydney
Samoan confidence in their work grows
1901Braucht returns and replaces Gibson
1902William Flooding, originally from Samoa, returns with his wife
1903Doctors Alfred & Maude Vollmer arrive from America
Governor Solf appoints Ernst Reye as Treasurer of the German Government in Samoa, a post he held until the World War I
1919Ernst and their eldest son, Raimund, were baptised; as a teenager Raimund had made two trips with Howse to the Aleipata District at the eastern end of Upolu
1904Nurse James Southon arrives from Australia
Sarah Mereta Young, a Pitcairn Islander who had served on Rurutu and Tonga, sails for Samoa
Bill Landells, an Australian blacksmith in Apia, has an accident which necessitates a term in the Apia Sanitarium – decides to become a Seventh-day Adventist – the first baptism in Samoa, performed by Gates about April 1905
1905Alfred Vollmers becomes ill with tuberculosis and dies at age 30
1906Sarah Young developed pneumonia and died
Australian Union Conference Session Samoa had been incorporated with Tonga and Fiji into the Central Polynesian Mission
1907Joseph & Julia Steed arrive
1908First Adventist church organised
Steed gives away tracts while learning Samoan language
Fred Hunt, a Tongan-Samoan of Wesleyan training, and Vailoa Kerisome, a Niuean-Samoan who later took a leading role on Niue Island are instrumental in translating tracts and Bible Readings into Samoan
1909Steed conducts evangelistic series
Sybil Read returned to Samoa to assist Steed as a Bible-worker
1909Samoans revolt against colonial rule; German warships crush the rebellion. During the stay of the German fleet, many servicemen attend SDA meetings in the Sanitarium, one, Petty-Officer Gustav Backhaus, returns to Germany and relinquishes his commission and is baptised; attends Avondale College and returns to Samoa to assist Steed
Tom and Edith Howse arrive to learn the language and continue Steeds evangelism
The Howses employ two Samoan girls, Eliza and Geneva, thus forming the nucleus of a morning school
1910Steed, with his youngest son, Harry, and two Samoan boys distributed tracts
1911When a measles epidemic strikes, Tom and Edith nurse many sufferers, resulting in influx of students. But the growth of the school attracts attention of German authorities who object to English being taught and close the school. (Germany would lose control of Western Samoa after World War I)
Howse publishes Samoan language magazine Le Tala Moni, Mrs Francis (Nicholas) Waugh, editor, and Kerisome, then a student at Avondale, does translation work
Nurse Lydia Parker, and English-American raised in Tahiti, embarks on medical work with Charlie Dexter and married soon after. She continued her profession and established a small nursing home in Apia
1912With no school, Butler leaves
Edith Howse devotes her energies to personal evangelism
1913Howse, together with Edwin Butz and Andrew Stewart (Director of the Fiji Mission), purchase property in Saluafatua Bay, 22k east of Apia, called Vailoa
1913Butz conducts a baptism. Widower Landells marries Mrs Robertson, a widow from Melbourne with three boys – Ted, Rex and Keith – Ted and Rex are baptised by Butz. Recently widowed Mrs Grace Niebuhr, sister of Lydia (Parker) Dexter, also baptised with one of her children, Wanda Steed returns to Samoa to direct the mission
1914Church growth due to close family ties of immigrants to Apia
1915A new church dedicated along with first baptism of Samoans : Pastor Cole baptises two Samoan men and three Samoan women, one a sister of the High Chief at Falefa, east of Saluafata. The chief, with his wife and three others, also baptised before the end of the year. Among the first group of candidates was a young man Lene (or Lenni) of Savaii
1917Teacher Harold & Annie Larwood arrive at the Vailoa property
Edith Howse again operating a prospering school in Apia
Howse transfers to Fiji
1920William & Jessica Litster arrive in Apia to conduct a small school
William Litster encourages Volrad Reye to take active role in the church
Oscar & Ella Hellestrand come and go in the space of a few months
William & Jessica Litster come to operate a small school in Apia but his health fails and he returns home in less than a year
1921Steed’s health fails and he returns home
1922Howse returns to salvage the dwindling membership
1925Due to health issues had to return to a cooler climate
For 15 months the mission is without a leader – Charlie Dexter and Ernst Reye lead out for a score of worshippers
Raimund Reye and new wife return to Apia
Reye sees need of a boarding school
1928-1930John & Mildred Strange renovate Vailoa Training School
Under Reye’s superintendence, first generation, of Samoan Adventists largely formed (multiplies tenfold in the second generation, including Afele, Sanika, Afaese, Chief Mulitalo, Siaosi Neru, lay-preacher Matale, Sepelini Loline, Tini Inu, and the Kuresa family)
1930School opens with eighteen students
1931Afele Atoa, who transferred from teacher in government school, baptised: Reye and Atoa continue teaching until Stan and Zena Leeder arrive to lead at Vailoa
1934Return of Leeder family to Vailoa School
1935Leeder returns home dur to poor health; Howses return for a final term of service and care for Vailoa Training School
1936William and Irralee Petrie arrive
1937Fepuleai and wife Ana, baptised, the first on Savaii
Just prior to the outbreak of the World War II, Howse returns home. They had given three terms of service in Samoa totalling nearly 19 years. Western Samoa, being a mandated territory of New Zealand at the time, was allied to Britain during the Second World War years. Germans living in the area register as aliens. Reye, with German heritage, lodges his application at the Apia Police Station and registered as Alien No 7, and movements curtailed.
1941Petrie family leave Vailoa in October due to ill health of their children.
Reye interned; Reye ordained Neru, placing him in charge of pastoral work
Afaese left in charge of Vailoa Training School
Ramona, Arnold and Ernst, Reye escorted to the internment building at Mulinuu Point, Apia, to wait transfer
John Howse, who was born and reared in Samoa, the only son of Tom and Edith Howse, sent to Samoa as new superintendent
Reubena Reye and her three children left for New Zealand on the same boat in which John Howse arrived
Howse supervises the mission throughout the remainder of the war years.
1944Roy and Lorna Harrison assist at Vailoa and Carl and Mavis Raphael were located on Savaii
Inu transferred from Vailoa to care for a company at Pago Pago
Reye spends eight months in a bleak camp on Somes Islandbefore a relative secured his parole
Authorities grant permission for Reye to return with his family
1945Howse called to do pioneering work in Kiribati and Tuvalu
Reye becomes acting superintendent of the Samoan Mission
1947Reye family returns to New Zealand
The names of Braucht, McCoy, Young, Steed, Howse, Reye and Afaese remain in early Samoan Adventist history as the most illustrious


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