Finau Hafoka and his wife, Lucy Hafoka, said they are grateful for the opportunity to be on the Lord’s errand and assist his work in Papua New Guinea.
He said, “It’s an honor and privilege to be trusted in such a major responsibility to help build the kingdom in Papua New Guinea. … I trust the Lord. He knows our weaknesses and still calls us.
“We are determined to do our best. With his help, we can do this. I feel good and grateful for the opportunity to serve, learn and grow.”
Luch Hafoka said, “I feel very nervous and at the same time, I feel very blessed and thankful for the trust Heavenly Father has in me to serve the Lord with my husband.”
Since the church in Papua New Guinea has only been organized there since 1979, says Mormon newsroom, Luch Hafoka is looking forward to working with missionaries and members to spread the gospel.
Finau Hafoka said, “As President Uchtdorf said, ‘It is not where you serve, but how you serve.’ We lift where we stand. To me it doesn’t matter whether we are called to serve in Tonga or any other place ... as long as we have the faith and courage and determination to do and serve.”
Finau Hafoka has been learning about Papua New Guinea as much as he can after they received the mission call so that he can familiarize himself with their culture and customs. He said, “It’s exciting to learn about everything about people, culture and church. The church is very young so it’s a lot of training. I’m sure people are ready to receive.”
Finau Hafoka said he and his wife have also been trying to contact students at BYU-Hawaii who are from Papua New Guinea so they can learn about their families since they might run into them once they get there.
“I’m pretty sure that God had prepared the way as he promised. So, when we are in the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to his help. That’s the kind of attitude we take to this mission. We will go and do our best and rest will rely on the Lord and spirit,” Finau Hafoka stated.
Luch Hafoka said, “I believe this is for the Lord, and we are blessed with people in Papua New Guinea.” She added, “Culturally with my personal experiences in Tonga, I think that we would be very helpful…in Papua New Guinea.”
Luch Hafoka said she had been studying from “Preach My Gospel” and brushing up on her baking and home-making skills like sewing.
When it comes to doing God’s work in Papua New Guinea, Finau Hafoka said there is a great need of training and support to local leaders. He said, “I know I will spend a good part of my time working with these leaders. In this mission, we have two stakes and six districts, so there is a lot of working with members and district leaders.”
Finau Hafoka shared tips for gaining a personal testimony and preparing for a mission.
He said first, “Study read and ponder the Book of Mormon. That’s what you are going to teach and preach. You must have a testimony of that before you help somebody have their own testimony of that.
“You must have the testimony of the church. You cannot give something you don’t have, so you have to have these things in order for you to be able to be a better and more effective missionary.
“Some missionaries go out to the field and look for these things and convert while they are on a mission field, but I prefer them to have this before they go on a mission. They will be a much better missionary when they are out on the field.
“If not, they would spend the first three, four, six months of their mission finding out these things for themselves and then they’ll have to teach others about it.”
He concluded, “I want my missionaries to remember that I care and love them. We want them to know that we are the disciples of the Savior, and we have the testimony of this great work, and we’re all in this great work together.”
Luch Hafoka said, “I just want to love my missionaries as I love my own sons. I will love and support and nurture them to be successful missionaries.”
Filly Metta, a sophomore from Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, explained how the Hafokas attended the PNG Gospel Forum on Sunday, Feb. 18. She said, “They said education is the key to success… I feel that those things they mentioned are things that they will continue to stress and help missionaries and members in PNG to prepare and achieve. I think they have the spirit of the Lord and so much love too. They will do a lot for the people of PNG.”
The Hafokas both graduated from BYUH and were married in the Laie Hawaii Temple on Jan. 31, 1981. They had their first son while living in TVA.
Finau Hafoka continued to pursue his master’s in counseling psychology at the Chaminade University of Honolulu. After the completion of his master’s, he started working as a school counselor. He has been working at Kahuku High School for the past 28 years. They have five children, they said, and four of them went on missions.
Luch Hafoka had been working as a English language learners teacher at Laie Elementary School and Kahuku High School part time after graduating from BYUH.
Finau Hafoka said he hopes to contribute to his mission with his career skills and experiences as he interacts with missionaries, members, and non-members.
Finau Hafoka said, “This is the first and hopefully this isn’t the last. I think if we look back on the mission and purpose of the school, I’m not surprised that these things happen. It was a vision from David O. McKay that from this place leaders go out there and establish peace internationally. This place prepares people, not just students but people like us, former students, to go out and serve as well.
“I truly like the sign of the entrance ‘Enter to Learn and Go Forth to Serve.’ I think this is one of the many results from that great prophecy.”
Luch Hafoka said, “I’m just grateful for this great school and its teaching in my life and for the community and for family members for the help that they have given us to where we are now.”
NOTE: This article's online publication was delayed because it was featured in the March 2018 print issue.