Vai's View: A tribute to Mom

From my earliest memory, the gospel and the church was always important and a high priority to my mother.

Mom had a family friend named Talafaiva sew a little tupenu — lava-lava or skirt — for me, which I wore every Sunday with a little ta'ovala — a fine woven mat worn at the waist — white shirt and tie to Primary. It was and is still today the uniform of the Tongan missionary. The impact of that small, albeit insignificant lesson in Tonga nearly 50 years ago was passed onto my sons, who wore only white, collared shirts with ties since they were toddlers to church. I wanted my sons to grow up being comfortable and used to the look and feel of a Mormon missionary. Even now as returned missionaries, on their own in college and one married, they only wear white shirts to church, never blue or pink or stripes. My married son, LJ, has two little boys. They only wear white shirts. My mother's influence in Tonga almost 50 years ago reached through two generations of her posterity and spanned the globe from Tonga to America to London, England; Hong Kong, China; and Hawaii, where my sons served faithfully.

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