By Lillian Arp
A moonlit night is a magical time in rural Samoan villages. With the sky lit almost as bright as day, many villagers gather in the central clearing of the village to enjoy the coolness of the night, celebrate the day’s hard work, chat, laugh and even play sports like volleyball or cricket.
As a young teenager in the 1960s, Sioloa Palelei had a dream about such a moonlit night. She dreamt she was playing hide and seek with the other village children when one of them gasped and pointed into the sky. When Sioloa looked up, she realized the moon was gone. In its place was a small but growing light. The villagers gazed in amazement as the light began to descend, and they soon recognized a figure at its centre. Sioloa knew immediately that this personage was Jesus Christ. He was sitting on a golden throne, glowing like the noon-day sun, surrounded by angels blowing their trumpets.
In her dream, Sioloa ran to her family’s home to tell them the news. When she got there, she saw her entire family – her parents and siblings – were outside in front of their house, kneeling in a circle, heads bowed as if in prayer. She called to them, excited – Look! See who is here! she said, pointing into the night sky, but no one looked up. Trying desperately to get their attention, Sioloa stood in the middle of their circle, pleading with her family to open their eyes and look. They didn’t . . . and then she woke up.
The dream weighed so heavily on her mind that Sioloa took it to her father. The old man pondered about her dream for a while and then suggested an interpretation: “Perhaps you will be the one to save our family someday.”
Sioloa never forgot that experience.
Years later, through her academic performance and the help of relatives, Sioloa found her way to a high school owned and run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She learned a little bit about the Church there, but it was only when she studied at Church College of Hawaii (now Brigham Young University – Hawaii Campus) that she was taught by missionaries and decided to be baptized.
She was apprehensive about telling her parents her decision to join the Church, expecting their disapproval, but her father said to her, “If you feel like this church is right, and that this is where you will get your salvation, then do it.” So grateful for his blessing, Sioloa entered the waters of baptism and has been a faithful member of the Church for nearly 50 years.
To this day, Sioloa is the only one of her original family to have joined the Church. Sadly, her parents and seven of her brothers and sisters have passed away, but she has actively attended to the ordinance work for each of them in the temple. Her love for family history and her connection to loved ones beyond the veil has grown even more since she began serving as a temple worker for the Auckland New Zealand Papatoetoe Stake.
Only now does Sioloa fully appreciate the meaning of that dream she had one moonlit night, decades ago. In her own, humble way, as her father predicted, she has become a Saviour [on Mount Zion] for her family.