Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Crazy Week

What a week! It's been like drinking from a fire hose! Here's some updates:

- We're really making a push to see our credit union started by the summer. There are some major hurdles to jump and lots of negotiation going on. Word on the street is that we may have competition from a major bank coming to the city by the end of the summer and my goal is to beat them here. They won't go after the same market as us, the working poor to working class, but competition is competition. Please pray that God will continue to guide our discussions. This is a critical time for us so we're pressing hard.

- Locally, there has been a rash of homicides in the Pacific Islander community, starting with a police involved shooting of a young 16 year old man. For a number of reasons it's grown to be a Tongan / Samoan feud. It's been a tragic time with the murder of a young woman and retaliation on family member's houses. As a local pastor and police chaplain I've been blessed to be involved to be involved in some of the peace talks. I can't say too much - but please pray for us and for peace in the community. There is a press conference today at 3:00 pm. I'll post some of the coverage. Here's a excerpt from a news article:
Lutui is suspected of killing his cousin, 19-year-old Melevea Fifita of East Palo Alto, with a stray bullet, and Absalom allegedly shot his sister, 21-year-old Seu Tuimavave of San Francisco, with a stray shotgun blast on the night of Dec. 29.

Police believe the teens accidentally shot the women, whom they were defending after a verbal argument escalated into a fight at about 10:30 p.m. on the 2700 block of Fordham Street. What provoked them to draw guns, however, remains unknown and will be a major focus of the ongoing investigation, Wagstaffe said.

"There were many other people there," Wagstaffe said. "We are hoping that they all come forward so we can get a clear picture of what happened, because it's not a clear picture."

About 16 friends and relatives of Fifita and Lutui waited outside the courtroom Thursday after missing the two defendants' brief appearance.

Pastor Heilala Ahio of the Tongan Congregation at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto said she is focused on calming tensions within the Pacific-Islander population of East Palo Alto.

"We don't want some type of rivalry between Tongans and Samoans," she said. "That's my main concern. We don't want anymore youth to die."
Find the entire article here. However, knowing some of the inside story I can say that the media hasn't always gotten the story right.

One personal comment. It's been a honor to be involved with these discussions. My respect for the Islander community and pastors has grown immensely as well as my appreciation for their culture. We're praying that God's peace will manifest in this situation.

- Lastly, I'm conducting interviews for our current open position for a youth program director. I have some excellent candidates but it's always a ton of work to comb through resumes and interview people. Please pray for me as I seek God for the right person for the job. If you know of anyone - please let me know.


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Rest In Peace to ma gurl Melevea ... love you!

  2. Amen. We're praying for her family and our community.