As a Pastor, helping to mend relationships, especially between man and God, comes with the territory.
For the Senior Pastor of the Apia Harvest Centre Church at Togafu’afu’a, Fa’afetai Fata, it is a role he takes very seriously.
But he now has more responsibilities. This time he will be looking to mend relationships between people.
The new role comes as he is one of Samoa’s newest Mediators and the first Pastor to do so.
Pastor Fa’afetai, who hails from Afega, was among 24 new Mediators who graduated on Wednesday.
The training was the fourth of its kind and was hosted by the Mediation Council, Accredited Mediators of Samoa Association (A.M.S.A.) and the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (M.J.C.A.).
Pastor Fa’afetai says this training is very important to his work, especially when it’s designed to help and teach people to resolve disputes.
“This is just really important for me,” Pastor Fa’afetai told the Samoa Observer.
“I went through the process; I went through the training and it just feels so good because I can see that this is a way we can solve problems within the church, problems between families and neighborhoods.
“So I think that it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to train and look into different situations.
“Jesus is our intercessor between us and God and that is the whole ministry that our dear Lord has given to us, to reconcile people back to the Lord, to reconcile people so that they will have a wonderful relationship with one another.”
He says the training has equipped him with skills to address every day issues Samoans go through.
Pastor Fa’afetai says as a mediator, he will help guide people to come up with decisions themselves during disputes with others.
“An example would be cases between families,” he said.
“When a family has an issue with another family within a neighborhood due to things like noise control, or maybe if one neighbor’s trees go over the boundary of another family’s house.
“So we can try and help them out to solve their problems, we may not be able to solve it directly, but we can mediate to the point where both parties can talk and make a decision.
“Once their problems are solved, then the neighborhood will continue to grow and have a good relationship with one another.”
Pastor Fa’afetai added one key lesson learnt in the training was sharpening his listening skills and how to quickly advise people towards better resolving their disputes.
He also explained that having great listening skills is very important in life.
“This whole week, we went and tried to be trained so we can improve skills such as listening,” he said.
“We understand that we can’t make a decision for people (as mediators) but we can sit down and open our ears so that they can explain their problems like that.
“That’s one of the greatest things we need to learn, we need to learn how to have active listening, how to summarize what they have been complaining about, what other issue are involved.
“Those are the things that are very important for us to get an expertise in that and attain skills and knowledge on how to properly address those issues.”
Pastor Fa’afetai acknowledged all those involved in the training.
“We thank the M.J.C.A. for all their wonderful work,” he said.
“I also want to thank the professors from Australia for the wonderful opportunity to be trained as mediators.”