October 6, 2020

In Fiji, Thousands Mourn Loss of Young Leader Drowned at Pathfinder Camp

Jarrod Stackelroth, Adventist Record

Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists and friends from all over Fiji filled the Girmit Centre in Lautoka on September 24, 2020, to celebrate the life of a young man who was known throughout the Pacific for his ready smile and passion for digital evangelism.

Petero Navosailagi, known as Pete, died early Sunday morning, September 20, while swimming, presumed drowned, at a Pathfinder camp — the day before his 32nd birthday.

Navosailagi, originally from Lautoka, had worked and lived at the Trans-Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) office in Suva since 2015 as the union’s communication officer. He was a technician, photographer, designer, and communication officer and helped roll out the Adventist branding and identity for TPUM.

As well as his work at TPUM, Navosailagi was heavily involved in his home church in Waiyavi, Lautoka, and Pacific Tertiary Evangelistic Centre (PTEC) in Suva, and was an adviser to the youth department of the Fiji Mission.

According to the Facebook account of the Fiji Mission youth ministry department, “Pete was incredibly talented and instrumental to the department and most importantly, the Church in Fiji, the region and beyond. Pete has left us with such fond and wonderful memories, one of which is his zeal and passion in the mission of saving souls for Jesus.”

“The Youth Ministry Advisory team that you were a vibrant member of bids you farewell for a little while, brother Pete Navosailagi,” regional church leaders said. [Photo: Adventist Record]

As a testimony to the work Navosailagi had done helping other countries throughout TPUM to improve digital outreach, more than 800 people were watching the service online, from places such as the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Tonga. The service included singing from a number of church groups and tributes from those who knew him. TPUM president Maveni Kaufononga preached.

Colleagues paid tribute to Navosailagi’s eagerness to learn and share, his willingness to help, and his passion for sharing the gospel.

Kaufononga described him as “a committed Christian and a vibrant young person.

“His impact upon many lives was marked by a packed funeral service in Lautoka and again a packed memorial service at his local church in Suva.

“He was passionate about digital discipleship. He had started to train young people in using media for evangelism [across the Pacific] and has set a platform to be used in this area. His work as a graphic designer left his fingerprints all around the Pacific with church signboards, uniforms, banners, and business card designs.

“His last testimony to the Pathfinder leaders on his last Sabbath: ‘church family is my family.’ He was sure that his church family is his family forever. We look forward to being reunited when Jesus returns to claim His own.”

Petero Navosailagi is survived by his mother, Adi Ateca Vokili, and five siblings.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.