The life of Lui Yarakei, a promising young minister, was cut short as he returned home from Sabbath [Saturday] activities on the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Yarakei served as an intern minister in Vanuatu, where he pastored the Biria, Fafarama, Surandah, and Tutupa Seventh-day Adventist churches. He graduated from Fulton Adventist University College in Fiji in 2020.
The funeral was held February 14, 2022, at the Sarakata Seventh-day Adventist Church in Espiritu Santo.
According to reports, Yarakei was traveling on his motorbike on Saturday evening when he was struck by a much larger vehicle and killed. Police detained the other driver at the scene. Many Adventist ministers in the South Pacific use motorbikes to travel between their churches, as they often minister to multiple congregations.
Charlie Jimmy, president of Vanuatu Mission (VM) paid tribute to Yarakei. “He was an outstanding young potential leader whom we [at Vanuatu Mission] were anticipating would become a great leader in the ministerial work force.”
“Furthermore, he was very passionate, committed, and highly commended by his ministerial team, local church leaders, and church members as a ‘Faithful Servant of God.’”
His promise as a leader was a common theme among other online tributes.
“We are really sorry to lose a young, energetic, vibrant minister so early, [with all his] future ahead of him. We will truly miss him,” VM secretary Max Senebe wrote on the VM Facebook page.
Many online tributes flowed from those who knew Yarakei from his time at Fulton where he his ministerial practicum at Newtown Seventh-day Adventist Church, home to the expat Vanuatuan community in Fiji. “We knew him well, and he stood out as a very promising leader, and [he was] well-loved by the youth in his short time since graduating from Fulton,” former Trans-Pacific Union Mission secretary Pastor Bob and his wife Anne Larsen said.
Originally from Tanna, Yarakei occasionally contributed to Adventist Record as one of the feature writers for the Living Kingdom series on Jesus’ parables. He also reported on news updates about the ongoing work within his churches.