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Annie Williams (standing) with Jope Laweloa (a Fijian teacher) and family.

Photo courtesy of Adventist Heritage Centre.

Laweloa, Jope (1896–1972)

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: December 24, 2021

Jope Laweloa was a Fijian missionary to Vanuatu and pastor in Fiji.

Jope Laweloa was born in 18961 at Lewa, a village in the mountains of Viti Levu, Fiji.2 He attended Buresala Training School on Ovalau Island, 1907 through 1910, under tutorials by Elder Andrew Stewart. It was Stewart who also conducted the marriage service for Jope and his bride, Torika, in December 1915.3

At the September 1917 Australasian Union Conference Council Jope and Torika were appointed to mission service in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) where Stewart was superintendent.4 Early in 1918 they, with their infant son Maika, arrived at the headquarters station on Atchin Island after encountering rough seas during their voyage from Suva.5 Stewart became Jope’s mentor and Jope became Stewart’s right-hand man, assisting with worship services, accompanying him on visitations to outposts and helping to build dwellings from native materials to house mission workers. On one occasion they worked in constant tropical rain for two weeks at Big Bay on Santo Island in order to construct a small home for a new missionary.6

In 1920 Jope suffered two attacks of black-water fever. Fortunately, Stewart was resident on the same station and nursed him through each crisis but concluded that the safest option was for Jope and his family to return to Fiji via Sydney. In the same year Stewart had already lost another missionary with black-water fever, the more-isolated Norman Wiles. In Sydney Jope addressed at least two gatherings in February 1921, speaking through an interpreter of the progress of the mission in Vanuatu.7

Back in Fiji Jope rested at his home village of Lewa for a few months but was anxious to join the mission team again. In the same year, 1921, superintendent Calvin Parker appointed him to care for the Vatukoula District to the north of Lewa.8 Jope applied himself faithfully to evangelizing the mountainous regions of inland Viti Levu where he was raised. In 1932 he was ordained to the gospel ministry, Stewart being on hand to take part in the ceremony.9 Jope continued his ministry through the years of World War Ⅱ until retirement in 1950.10 He had given at least thirty-three years of dedicated service.

Torika passed away prior to 1963.11 In his senior years, Jope married a woman named Samita.12 Jope Laweloa passed away peacefully on August 12, 1972, in the mountain village of Navala on the Ba River, Viti Levu.13

Sources

“Brother Jope Laweloa with his wife…” Australasian Record, February 21, 1921.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, September 24, 1917.

James, J. R[oss]. “Big Bay, Santo, New Hebrides.” Australasian Record, December 22, 1919.

Laweloa, Jope. “A Modern (Though Aged) Timothy Writes to a Modern Paul.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 4, 1968.

Laweloa, Jope. Quoted by C[yril] S. Palmer in “A Fijian Expresses Christian Love to Missionary.” ARH, January 19, 1967.

Laweloa, J[ope]. Quoted in “Nine Pastors from Twenty Students.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, September 16, 1963.

Parker, C[alvin] H. “Itinerating in Inland Fiji.” Australasian Record, July 11, 1921.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1917-1973/1974.

Stewart, A[ndrew] G. “The Malekulan Front.” Australasian Record, May 6, 1918.

Notes

  1. Jope Laweloa, “A Modern (Though Aged) Timothy Writes to a Modern Paul,” Australasian Record, March 4, 1968, 8.

  2. C[alvin] H. Parker, “Itinerating in Inland Fiji,” Australasian Record, July 11, 1921, 3.

  3. Jope Laweloa, quoted by C[yril] S. Palmer in “A Fijian Expresses Christian Love to Missionary,” ARH, January 19, 1967, 27.

  4. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, September 24, 1917, 6-7.

  5. A[ndrew] G. Stewart, “The Malekulan Front,” Australasian Record, May 6, 1918, 2.

  6. J. R[oss] James, “Big Bay, Santo, New Hebrides,” Australasian Record, December 22, 1919, 3.

  7. “Brother Jope Laweloa with his wife…” Australasian Record, February 21, 1921, 12.

  8. Parker, 3.

  9. Jope Laweloa, quoted by C[yril] S. Palmer in “A Fijian Expresses Christian Love to Missionary.”

  10. “Fiji Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950), 77.

  11. Jope Laweloa, quoted in “Nine Pastors from Twenty Students,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, September 16, 1963, 7.

  12. Jope Laweloa, quoted in C[yril] S. Palmer in “A Fijian Expresses Christian Love to Missionary.”

  13. “Necrology 1971-1973,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1973/1974), 428-431.

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Hook, Milton. "Laweloa, Jope (1896–1972)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 24, 2021. Accessed December 01, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CIJO.

Hook, Milton. "Laweloa, Jope (1896–1972)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 24, 2021. Date of access December 01, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CIJO.

Hook, Milton (2021, December 24). Laweloa, Jope (1896–1972). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved December 01, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CIJO.