I’ve been boiling over with so many thoughts and affections that resulted in writing this post. Unfortunately, this means that some-‘one’ person may read it. I’m willing to take that risk hoping it inspires and benefits someone else (maybe someone in my family) if anything it’ll help me sift through my thoughts a little bit.

Recently Mom’s eldest sister Fiapule Savini Fola went home to be with the Lord. Her testimony, mainly affirmed by loved ones around her, siblings, children, grand-children and great-grandchildren etc. was powerful (a woman of prayer and scripture) and got me to think about family and purpose.  Death does that.  It’s sobering.  It definitely did that for me but being with family in Seattle sobered me more than Aunty’s actual passing.

I was able to attend the memorial services, thereby being able to see and be with so many of my “ex-tended” family. Ex-tended family almost doesn’t exist in my Samoan culture. The idea of “immediate” family is also, almost non-existent. While this post isn’t necessarily about my dear Aunty, I want to note that her legacy permeated throughout her particular Samoan community in Seattle i.e. her church, her family and her friends. They all knew what she was about and they all were deeply loved by her. The empty void that death can leave in the hearts of humans can be so riveting were it not for the hope God provides through Jesus Christ; hence, death no longer having a sting to those who believe and truth in Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin and its penalty (1 Corinthians 15).  However, I don’t know if I got the sense that all of my family embraces that, believes that and or submits to it.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  I do know some of them do, at least those ones  who were more vocal about it.  And I’m not trying to quickly determine that either.  It’s not ultimately up to me to determine that.  That’s merely observational expressions and it points me to prayer.  I can’t assume that everyone of my family members knows and believes the hope of glory in Jesus Christ.  To assume that would be naive of me.  To not hope and pray for that would be arrogant of me.

That made me think about life, my life, my family, their lives, my friends, their lives and so on. And it kept bringing me back to three main things: the bible, grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ and my family.

God’s Word is sufficient. The bible and only the bible (old & new testament) are sufficient. It is has proven itself throughout history more than any other claims; all others fail and that has been proven. My family is not sufficient. My family, though loved and cherished in my heart is not sufficient for my daily needs. However, God’s word is. And yet the mercy and grace that I am told of in those pages allows me to see my family in such deep and meaningful ways. More than emotional and more than relational or even experiential. The great love of God that is talked about and demonstrated in Psalm 103, John 3:16, John 13, Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 3:14-21, Colossians 3, Philippians 2, Hebrews 12, 1 John and on and on…is all confirmed (look at its claims and its historical background). You cannot fabricate this type of love and affection for God and for others (family, friends or enemies). It can only come from Him. You cannot be satisfied completely without it, nor can you have it and any other love. His love is the source for all other loves.

As I mourned with my family at the loss of my Aunty, their mom, their grandma etc. I thought, “Lord, the only assurance I have in seeing Aunty, or you, again is if you freely grant that to me and if you turn any doubt or fear of not, into living hope.  And the only assurance that my family member this side of heaven will see Aunty and You for that matter, is your grace alone”.  I was challenged to examine what I believed.  Do I really believe that everyone of my family members have, are or will go to heaven?  No, I don’t.  I don’t believe that.  While I want to, I know that Scripture is very clear that not all will enter the kingdom of God.  Jesus Christ, God in flesh (Is. 6, 9, Psalm 2, John 1, John 13-17, Philippians 2, the entire book of Revelation and all of Scripture) is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth and the ONLY life (John 14).  I can’t and neither can my family work their way around that.  Even as emotional as we can be when we’re around each other.  Family and the hope for family will not get anyone into heaven or keep them from hell.  Being a good person will not get you to heaven and save you from sin.  Being from an amazing family will not grant you the same.

However easy it is to love my family; it hasn’t always been.   A lot of it has to do with the trials we’ve been through and the tresting we’ve endured together (immediate and or extended).  It’s been used to prove and strengthen our love for each other and it deepens the affection we have for one another (yes its tested and there are seasons where its more difficult than others – that’s life).  But the love and affection are so real.  I feel it, both given and received.  I see it evidenced when we embrace one another or talk with one another or laugh with one another or eat with one another or cry with with another.  It is emotional and it is affectionate. And I would sacrifice my life for any one of family members.  We connected even because we look like one another – I enjoy seeing that unfold.  But the reality is Jesus Christ is better than all of that, superior than all of that.  This love has already been proven and tested more than any of the trials and testing we’ve gone through as a family. Jesus endured (and passed) it all.  His love is stronger than any love that is shared between my family. But because of it, I am already completely loved now, and therefore love my family freely and fully because of that.  What tangible parallels being a part of others can do to remind us of the family of God we’re a part of if we belong to the family of God!

The point I’m trying to make is, the strong human love and affection that is shared between a husband and a wife, as taught in the scriptures, and then dispensed among a family that they procreate and generations that come from that, and even shared among friends (and expressed to enemies, as Jesus taught) DOES NOT compare to (but can be a picture of) the deep love of God that was demonstrated through the person and work of Jesus Christ, the God-man. Read the passage above, along with Gen 3-4, Psalm 63, Isaiah 5-6; 53-58, Hosea and see the love of God from the beginning. It is great.

I love my family so much. I get teary-eyed just thinking about them (even as I’m writing). I want to be with ALL hundreds (literally) of them. First, second, third and fourth generations of the SAVINI family. I long to meet my grandpa Leatualii and want to be reunited with my amazing grandma Fiaauitupu. Thoughts about my dad’s family are awakened and lingering as well. I wish I knew them all, and was able to meet my grandpa or want to meet my Aunty Tyma in New Zealand (that would amazing 🙂 Story after story about these amazing people passed and present inspire me; from Mom telling me about the times back in the Manu’a islands watching her dad fish, being raised by her godly grandma (Vaelua), to her brother Gogo (pops) paying for her fair to come to the states for a better future, to visiting her youngest brother (Ete) back in Manu’a and giving him a t-shirt from the states, to being blessed to my siblings stories in Samoa about being raised with so many of our cousins (how fun!). Story after story. And yet I know that there are tragic stories as well. Stories of cousin Apisoloma dying trying to retrieve his school books that fell out of the truck in Samoa and jumped out to get it, at 9 years old, to baby James Le’i at 3 months not waking up from his sleep and not having any other explanation of his death, to Uncle Vau in a train crash accident, to cousin Chuka being shot and killed, to divorces that split of families (including mine) etc.. Story after story after story.

I come from a long line of stories (good and bad) of people whose lives have impacted my thinking, my heart and my way of living – and from what I hear, have also impacted others as well.

My “immediate” family, who live passionately for the Lord and who’s mistakes in life are just as exposed as their victories in life, and they would tell you themselves, that point to God’s grace, has been the primary mark of both. Doreen, Debbie & Bert’s love for others are deeply rooted in God’s truth and not just emotion or longevity or culture. That inspires me – their flaws & their strengths inspire me. These siblings of mine and their stories sharpen me (another post to come). What a blessing they are.

I have cousins whose stories would challenge and put spoiled christianity to shame as well as stories that will ignite passion and reality and purpose at least spark some curiousity. I love my cousins – they all are like brothers and sisters to me, because they kinda are. I love that they treat me like their brother. Like I mentioned before, immediate and ex-tended kind of don’t exist (but kind of do – maybe another post later). There are so many of them that inspire me too. I wish I was able to get to know every single one of them.

I also have nephews and nieces, from cousins (hence, the non-existant extended family thing), who can tell you, just in their 20s or younger, of trials and difficulties. Their resilience inspires me. Their reality humbles me. Their humor is enjoyable for me. Their talents amaze me.

I have uncles and aunties who have worked and labored hard for our second generation to prosper. I can’t be where I am in life today (and I’m pretty convinced ALL my cousins would agree), and I am (and we are) oh so blessed, without acknowledging their efforts, sacrifices and stories for our benefit. My uncles and aunties are amazing examples of steadiness, strength, support, sacrifice, sincerity and spirit – what true Savini’s should be!

Finally, my mother. A women who dies to herself. Who doesn’t make mention of a flu she has, goes to the grocery store by herself, throws up in her own jacket because she is so sick, to purchase herself some medicine; and doesn’t ask anyone else to go to the store for her. That could be pride/stubbornness on her part, or it could be a will strong enough to press through hardships. A stomach ache is hardly a trial, but its a small indication of what my 70 year old mother can endure after what she’s endured throughout her life time. She is the most secure person I know of who could have been a victim of insecurity brought about my divorce. She was left and abandoned but NEVER once have I heard her complain about it, or mope about it or feel sorry for herself about it. She received consequences of my dad’s sin that she didn’t deserve but embraced it to grace her children with a stewardship that most people would and have neglected. She provided, she protected, she nurtured and served us – and did it gladly! My mother is amazing. No other woman or man for that matter, in my life holds a candle to the work ethic, faithfulness, integrity, endurance, hospitality, servanthood, meekness, hope, respect, proven character, grace, mercy and love that she embodies. She is the most accurate picture of Christ I have ever seen or heard – beyond eloquence, deeper than any expository message, more encouraging than any song I’ve song, better than any friend I’ve ever had. I hope and pray for a wife someday, I really do haha. And I’m not expecting her to be anything like my mom, more so, I pray that she loves God more than anything, even me and I pray that I embody what mom was/is an example of to me, to whoever it is I come across, let alone marry, Lord willing 🙂

This all, however deep and however gracious a gift it is, from God, does not measure up to the depth of reality that is God in Christ.  He alone satisfies and He alone is far better than my family.  I hope and wish for all of them (me included) to know the saving and satisfying grace that is in Jesus Christ alone.

I pray the stories that I am a part of will tell of the amazing grace God gives in and through Jesus Christ alone, this generation and generations to come.



June 21, 2009

My summer adventure begins tomorrow.  Well, I guess it begins now since I’m packing up for it.  Man, can I just tell you that I never seem to know what to pack, even if I’ve been to where I’m going?  Actually, I’m taking a detour so I suppose this time is different. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m helping my college, former co-RD’s/laborers in ministry, and life long friends (Dave & Tricia) drive out to Florida.  I’m not too sure what the actual game plan is but last I heard, we’re going to stop at the Grand Canyon for the evening, then make drive out to Texas, spend a few days there where Tricia’s parents live.  Dave and I will then drive only one of the cars (there’s 2 cars between the 3 of us – they’re having a moving company move there stuff) from Texas to Florida.  So, our plan is to pull into Jacksonville, Florida (final destination) by Sunday, June 28th.  Then I’ll spend that evening, Monday and Tuesday morning with Dave and help get their stuff settled in.  Tricia will stay in Texas and wait for Dave to fly back and then he’ll make that drive again with Tricia and the other car.  I’ll fly out from Jacksonville on my way to New Delhi India. 

I fly from Florida to DC, then to Munich, Germany Wednesday morning, spend 12 hours there (and explore – ideas anyone?), then fly out Wednesday evening and arrive into New Delhi 7am, July 2nd, Thursday morning where I’ll be the following 3 weeks. 

Until then please be mindful of my visa/passport that’s still in process.  I’m hoping to get it by the end of this week, here at Master’s, then it’ll be overnight to some friends already living in Florida.  I hope I get it by the 29th of June…

Anyway, I gotta get some more packing finished, then some little logistical things going here. 

We’ll see you soon!


June 19, 2009

Here you go…just a few songs for my summer listening: 

  1. Live Your Life by T.I. (feat. Rihanna)
  2. Radio by Beyonce
  3. Save Yourself by James Morrison
  4. Chasing Pavements by Adele
  5. Love Lockdown by Kanye West
  6. Everybody Knows by John Legend
  7. I’m a Fighter by Aaradhna
  8. Glass of Water by Coldplay
  9. Getting Stronger by Adeaze (feat. Aradhna)
  10. Lesson Learned by Alicia Keys (feat. John Mayer)
  11. Beautiful by Akon (that one’s for you Hazel)  🙂
  12. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
  13. Reason by Earth, Wind & Fire
  14. Fire Burning by Sean Kingston
  15. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
  16. Shout Out Loud by Amos Lee
  17. Freeze by T-Pain (feat. Chris Brown)
  18. Dreamer by Chris Brown
  19. Moment of Surrender by U2
  20. Therapy by India Arie
  21. In the Ayer by Flo Rida (feat Will.I.am)
  22. Latika’s Theme Slumdog Millionaire sound track
  23. Halo by Beyonce
  24. Homecoming by Kanye West (feat. Chris Martin)
  25. Roots Before Branches by Room For Two
  26. Precious Love by James Morrison
  27. Redemption Song by Bob Marley
  28. Too Much Heaven by Bee Gees
  29. There’s Hope by India Arie
  30. I Love, You Love by John Legend

Here are more “inspirational” songs (why do they call it that?)…don’t mean to dichotomize my listening…that’s just the way I decided to do it…

  1. Again by Jon Foreman
  2. King of Wonders by Matt Redman (feat. Tim Houston & Joel Houston)
  3. Jesus Lord of Heaven by Phil Wickham
  4. Oh You Bring by Hillsong United
  5. Bloodstained Pages by Crystal Lewis
  6. The Love of God traditional hymn
  7. King of the Broken by Darlene Zschech (feat. Israel Houghton, Leeland Mooring & Lakewood Choir)
  8. There Is Always a Song by Martin Smith (feat. Watoto Choir)
  9. Still My God by Avalon
  10. The Stand by Hillsong United
  11. Song of My Heart by Generation Unleashed
  12. The Cure For Pain by Jon Foreman
  13. Hymn by Brooke Fraser
  14. Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go traditional hymn by Chris Rice
  15. Rock of Ages You Will Stand by Paul Baloche
  16. Sailing On a Ship by Phil Wickham
  17. When I First Trusted You by Keith Green
  18. Your Love Is Strong by Jon Foreman
  19. I Will Not Take My Love Away by Matt Wertz
  20. Soon by Hillsong United

I am really thankful to God for good music – there are some really good stuff out there…stay tuned for another summer ’09 mix!


June 8, 2009

Here’s the last few weeks in a nut shell:

  • had some a really full semester ending very smoothly (kinda)
  • had a lot of last good bye gatherings for Jeff & Dave
  • ate at Ruth’s Chris for the first time with Jeff
  • went to Magic Mountain with Zamroz (it was so fun…goliath was off the chain!)
  • went camping 5 nights within one week (2 separate camping trips)…enjoyed it
  • was rebuked for pushing an issue to far 🙂
  • was confronted a few times this last month
  • wrote 11 papers in the last week
  • got season 1 & 2 of “Rob & Big”
  • found a random mazda key in my apartment – yeah, it’d be nice to have a free new car, hugh?
  • reconnected with some peeps from the Worship Team – so good!
  • been sleeping past 6am
  • enjoying the quietness of the dorm
  • going to India with Gunner (&  other friends) in July after I help Dave & Tricia drive out to Florida
  • said good bye to Jeff – sad, sad times
  • will be saying good bye to Dave & Tricia – sad, sad times
  • hiring new RDs (well, I’m not hiring them, I’m just a part of the process)
  • reading a lot these days
  • writing a lot these days
  • running a lot these days
  • having dinner with Brian & Becca on wednesday
  • Zane’s staying/visiting this week – so good to see him
  • currently making my first summer mix
  • burned 3 mixes already (Jeff, Ginsberg & the Powells…I know, I feel legit or something)
  • been watching a lot of basketball…yeah, seriously…me?
  • excited about my RA team for next year (Brandon O’Sullivan, Thomas Millar, Caleb Hazel & Mark Golike)
  • my sister comes home next week
  • have thoroughly enjoyed the music of Jon Foreman & Phil Wickham
  • went to blue grass/brass band play at some club in L.A. with Jeff and then saw them on T.V. on the grammy’s
  • had the best time eating sushi with Mike Butler, Sam Neylan, Phil Anderson & David Wolter
  • loved my time doing music/elementary ministry in Hawaii
  • excited about the new Chapel Band
  • learning how to be more alert of my own attitudes, actions and motives… and how they impact people (Matthew, the gospel’s been helpful with that and other good graces from God)…man, i really have a lot to learn
  • also listening to a lot of hip-hop/R&B music…reminds me of my roots 🙂 – some good, some fun and others i probably wont listen to anymore
  • thinking a lot about what to do and where to go the rest of my life, after this up coming last year as RD (wow, I’m approaching 6 years…dang, that’s long!)
  • want to be gentle again, and be quiet again, and love again
  • want to paint my car black…all black, tint my windows and thug it out, kinda…ha!
  • learned a new board game from the Hulets
  • learning to think rightly so that i can live rightly
  • want to love God, not godliness


February 23, 2009

Remember the recording Chapel Band started in January?  Well, we’re up north in Meadow Vista with Brian Steckler, me, Tommy, Janie & Emilie cutting vocals. 

It’s been great!  Its rain a ton up here and green.  Its really refreshing to be up here – kind of calming. 

Anyway, back to the studio.  See ya later.


February 19, 2009

For years now I’ve been repeating matters that separetes (Prov. 17:9b) intimate friends.  For this I have been grieved inside not only because I have affectively made this a pattern with some really dear friendships, but also because the first half of that verse says, “He who conceals a transgression seeks love,” and when I think about seeking love I think about all of the beautiful and satisfying ways God demonstrated His love in and through Christ and how within relationships, love really does and can redeem what has been broken, make new what is old and gives joy in the midst of all kinds of ache and sorrow. 

Last night one of my best friend’s counseled me in a practicum class we have together.  In short, he ministered the gospel to me and reminded me that the gospel is bigger than any opposition that I have or will ever face.  Thereby never having any valid reason to deffending myself from hurt, or offensively attacking others to gain what I want.  Why?  Because the gospel is all the agenda that I have in this life and in my communication and my relationships. 

When the Lord gives you a lighter load in exchange for your heavy one, there seems to be more room in your heart to long for heaven more; namely a longing for Christ more and a longing for what Christ wants.  I want that, I want more of that. 

Sometimes we carry things that we make up or sometimes they are real and unavoidable and yet we try to avoid them.  Then the become more weighty as time passes.  Identifying those things are good but nothing is more freeing than giving them over to Christ.  And nothing more powerful and loving than helping each other do that. 

Sometimes I want help, sometimes I don’t.  Other times I resist it because I am ashamed or too prideful.  But when the faithfulness of the Lord comes through the forms of enduring friends, you can’t help but fall flat to your face and worship God. 

I have been blessed immensely with friendships that have endured through some really distasteful misunderstandings and miscommunication or lack thereof.  But when the Lord works when He wants to there’s nothing hold Him back from restoring and making things new. 

So, if you find yourself thinking and believing that relationships, communication or friendships cannot be completely restored then please surrender that to the Lord and see what He does with it.  Believe me, its a lighter load than the one you’re carrying now.


February 6, 2009

Tonight I saw Phil Wickham in concert with Mandy, Hollie, John and Polly.  I enjoyed my time with them.  We also saw Ben, Tommy, Emilie, Michelle and Matt there. 

During the concert, watching Phil sing, I was thinking about how unreserved he was singing for God.  Then I noticed different people worshiping, singing, clapping, sitting, etc for the Lord.  Then I thought about something Gunner and I talked about the other day about serving the Lord where ever, doing whatever with our gifts for the kingdom.  And doing it without any embarrassment or reservation or apology or shame, basically.   

I think some times I want to make sure that I present the Lord in a cool or accepting way.  Or that I want my walk with Jesus to be cool.  I’m getting sick and tired of that.  The Lord saves and He has saved me and there’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.  Yet so often I am pulled into a mindset, whatever the situation that makes me “feel” uncool or not as “trendy” because I want to sing, serve, clap, sit, be still, be an idiot, communicate clearly the Scriptures, blog, laugh or cry for the Lord.  I don’t care if I am embarrassed for the Lord.  Nothing matters but Jesus but sometimes I act differently than that. 

I love Jesus, with all my heart and I want to show Him and the world that I do, even if it is embarassing or it makes me not cool or comfortable.  Cool and comfortable, though very appealing at first are overrated. 

blah, blah, blah…i guess i’m just tired of people trying to impress other people and using Jesus for that aaaaand seeing that in myself. 

I suppose discernment and wisdom can be coupled all in the same with sincere devotion and earnest passion.  I want to grow in all that because I see all that is in Christ.  He’s all I want and constantly all I need!


February 3, 2009

I would like to describe them all for you but I can’t – it would require too many words that aren’t in my limited vocabulary.  Anyway, here’s what I want to do;  I posted a while back some of my favorite hair(s) or whatever.  So, now I’ve decided to list for you my favorite laughs.  I’m sure I’m going to offend or forget a few, but you’ll get over it, I hope…

Here they are, people who, when they get going or just really great out bursts of GOOD laughs –  in no particular order:

  • all my siblings – any of the savini’s really, seriously…if you’ve heard me laugh you should hear all of us laugh together
  • jeff lewis
  • dave hulet
  • jared foy (makes me smile just thinking about it)
  • ben blakey
  • sam neylan
  • holly worsham (especially college years when matt pearson would egg you on)
  • phil anderson
  • chris travis
  • adam carmichael (when i laugh with adam, we kind of blend really well)
  • jennene margrave
  • eric margrave
  • joe keller
  • happy gilmore
  • rick dennis
  • esther dennis
  • kyle jenison
  • casey jenison
  • jake dennis
  • beth catron
  • team india (’08)
  • meredith ebner
  • josh ward
  • ryan zamroz
  • wesley shryock
  • tommy delmuro
  • majesty (1998-2000)
  • dr. plew
  • andrew shearer
  • babies laughing, well not multiple, so i guess a baby’s laugh
  • old people

i guess these are people who i’ve laughed with a lot.  its such a good gift from the Lord; I’m so thankful for it.  the truth is, i love to laugh and i love to make others laugh and i love it when laughing is happening and i’m not even a part of it, which is rare 🙂 just kidding.


January 27, 2009

okay, so last night i finished up an evaluation that we annually do here for our deans, RAs, staff etc.  and i’m baffled at how quick i am to evaluate so harshly or so unreasonably.  i know there is room for “correction” and “redirection” but i found myself at a place valuing relationship and interaction around what its done for me (a lot of that is due to the questions asked like, “how have you been cared for?” or “how can we help you in your job/ministry etc?”).  i know i have normal, God-given needs.  that’s mainly because i need a savior.  but i’m slowly learning that life, relationships, singleness or marriage, missions overseas or here are all about what you lose, not what you gain.  simple concept, it seems.  but its not.  its hard for me to learn that and live that – i’m still fighting that now, when i think about what my dean is going to say about me when he evaluates my “performance” on the job.  but i want to lose it all.   

Jesus says, If you want to gain your life, throw it away (paraphrase adopted by Howard Hendricks).  what a revolutionary way of living.  i can’t live this way without Jesus patiently changing me from moment to moment, from the inside out.  how humbling is that?  Jesus stationed where He is, actively, gently, powerfully changing the heart?  my heart? what’s really freeing is that He promised to finish that!  beautiful.  astounding. 

so, when i look at others and my interaction and relationships with them, am thankful for them,  am joyful with them, am frustrated with them, impatient, judgemental, harsh, irritated etc., i ought to and will strive to remember the Lord Jesus and His relationship with me.  i want to evaluate that more and more.


January 8, 2009

so chapel band was in the studio yesterday for hours, one 30 min lunch break, 10 min break around 8pm and then we ended around 9:30ish.  and all we did was do scratch recordings so dave (our drummer) can lay down his stuff for 7 of the 10 songs we’re recording.  brian steckler is legit (he’s our producer). 

its been fun, humbling and exhausting.  but mostly fun. 

i think i’ve just been taken back by the possibilities of people.  obviously God empowers, gifts and directs people and i don’t want to negate that at all.  but the sheer talent in human nature is sometimes beyond me.  i am thankful and it actually makes me want to work harder with what i have been gifted in, talents, abilities etc. 

i was at a basketball game the other night watching the guys play and i told someone later that i want to sing the way ryan zamroz plays basketball 🙂   he’s amazing on the court by the way.  anyway, its fun to see people work hard and be good at what they love doing.  and there’s so many examples of that in my life.  you’d think i’d be better at a lot of things with the amount of examples i have.  

well, we’re off to another full day of recording. 

please pray for me, i still have tons to do for RD prep, with the recording ’til Saturday then chapel band rehearsal sunday through tuesday and my RAs get back monday, then TLC starts Wednesday – its crazy…pray that i look to Jesus in the midst of all this.  

this rookie is off to the studio.