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Sasa Rore

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Rore, Sasa (c. 1900–1988)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Sasa Rore, a Solomon Islander, was a pioneering leader in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. He was the district director on Guadalcanal Island during the bitter conflicts of World War II.

Childhood

Sasa Rore (otherwise Rori) was born in the village of Malatiro in the Dovele district of Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands. When he was an infant, a contingent of British marines aboard the Royalist attacked his village in retaliation for head-hunting raids that his people often made on Choiseul Island. In the raid his mother, Tumuteko, was killed while trying to rescue Sasa. Soon after, villagers found Sasa was found by villagers sitting beside his fallen mother in the ashes of his hut. He was left an orphan and reared by his grandmother.1 When he was 15, he spent some time on Tulagi Island, working as a cook for the government surveyor before returning to his home district.2

Arrival of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

In 1919 Robert and Emily Tutty, together with Barnabas Pana, pioneered Adventist work in the Dovele district. They established an elementary school in the village of Boro, and Sasa attended it for three years. It was the only formal education he received. In July 1923 Sasa himself began teaching in another elementary school at nearby Sapalei village. Here he met Titidonga, who became his lifelong companion and mother to his nine children.3

Years of Service

Sasa taught at the Sapalei school for approximately 12 months before doing field mission work in the Dovele area until 1926. He was then appointed as district director on Rendova Island for a year before returning to the Dovele region as assistant district director, 1927 through 1934. There followed a period as assistant district director on Ranonga Island until 1939.4 It was during this time that he was ordained. The decision to ordain him was made in late 1935,5 but his service records that state the service was not carried out until 1937, at a church gathering at Batuna.6

In 1939 Sasa was appointed assistant district director on Guadalcanal. It would prove to be an eventful term. War came to the region, Japanese and American troops fighting famous battles on the island and in the surrounding seas. The Americans prevailed. Expatriate missionaries had been removed from the area for their safety, and Sasa was called on to be the wartime director on Guadalcanal.7 At one time three Japanese ships anchored close to his village, and he directed everyone to flee into the forest and pray for deliverance. American planes sank the ships and brought relief. Sasa often conducted services for the American soldiers.8 Adventist servicemen paid their tithe to Sasa, and he used it to meet the wages of the Solomon Island missionaries under his care.9 Sadly, on January 7, 1945, his second son, 15-year-old Bennie, died after being hit on the head by a falling coconut.10

Immediately after the war Sasa was asked to spend six months touring Australia in order to promote mission work in the Pacific Islands. He spoke through an interpreter to many church congregations in all the capital cities and many major centers.11 He was treated to a similar tour to America, the highlight being the 1950 General Conference session in San Francisco. He marveled at the large numbers of church members gathered for one meeting and the traffic and tall buildings seen during his visits to New York, Vancouver, and Honolulu.12

Between 1946 and 1949 Sasa served as assistant district director at Kukudu on Kolombungara Island and as district director at Kopiu, eastern Guadalcanal. From 1949 to 1952 he was transferred out of the Solomon Islands to be field secretary of the Coral Sea Union Mission, with headquarters in Lae, Papua New Guinea. From 1952 to 1954 he returned to the Solomon Islands to be president of the Malaita Mission. Together with Kata Rangaso he was one of the first Pacific Island leaders to hold the office of mission president. While he was president of Malaita Mission his wife, Titidonga, became ill, necessitating a return to Dovele, where Sasa served as district director until 1957. Titidonga’s health improved sufficiently for them to transfer for one more term in Papua New Guinea, where Sasa was assistant president of the Madang Mission, from 1957 to 1963.13

Retirement

After forty years of mission service, Sasa retired to his home village in the Dovele district. Titidonga died in 1980. He was cared for by his family until he died in 1988.14 After a somewhat miraculous start to life, Sasa Rore, though small in stature, made a large contribution to the advancement of the Seventh-day Adventist mission in both the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Sources

Frame, R[obert] R. “Native Teachers Bereaved.” Australasian Record, February 26, 1945.

“It was decided at the Council . . .” Australasian Record, September 23, 1935.

“Our Visitor from the Solomons.” Australasian Record, January 21, 1946.

Rore, Nathan. “Out of Tragedy, a New Hope.” Journal of Pacific Adventist History 4, no. 2 (December 2004).

Rore, Sasa. “Thank You and Farewell.” Australasian Record, August 12, 1946.

———. “Thank You to the People of America.” ARH, November 2, 1950.

Sasa Rore Work Service Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Sasa Rore.” Document: “Sasa Rore Work Service Record.”

Sasa Rore Work Service Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Sasa Rore.” Document: “Sustentation Form.”

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1937–1963.

“Writing of the recent quadrennial council . . .” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 14, 1955.

Notes

  1. Nathan Rore, “Out of Tragedy, a New Hope,” Journal of Pacific Adventist History 4, no. 2 (December 2004): 20–22.

  2. “Our Visitor from the Solomons,” Australasian Record, January 21, 1946, 5.

  3. Rore, “Out of Tragedy, a New Hope.”

  4. Sasa Rore Work Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives (Folder: “Sasa Rore”; Document: “Sustentation Form”).

  5. “It was decided at the Council . . . ,” Australasian Record, September 23, 1935, 8.

  6. Sasa Rore Work Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives (Folder: “Sasa Rore”; Document: “Sasa Rore Work Service Records”).

  7. Ibid.

  8. “Our Visitor from the Solomons.”

  9. Rore, “Out of Tragedy, a New Hope.”

  10. R[obert] R. Frame, “Native Teachers Bereaved,” Australasian Record, February 26, 1945, 8.

  11. Sasa Rore, “Thank You and Farewell,” Australasian Record, August 12, 1946, 5, 6.

  12. Sasa Rore, “Thank You to the People of America,” ARH, November 2, 1950, [1], 20.

  13. “Writing of the recent quadrennial council . . . ,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 14, 1955, 8; Sasa Rore Work Service Records (Document: “Sustentation Form”).

  14. Rore, “Out of Tragedy, a New Hope.”

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Hook, Milton. "Rore, Sasa (c. 1900–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=B83K.

Hook, Milton. "Rore, Sasa (c. 1900–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access September 25, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=B83K.

Hook, Milton (2020, January 29). Rore, Sasa (c. 1900–1988). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 25, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=B83K.