The words Happy 21st Birthday have been the very best thing for Paula-He-Faiva Tu’ungafasi of Glen Eden to receive on his birthday on 24 February.
Birthday wishes and greetings from families and friends who joined Paula in his birthday ceremony were huge enough to give this young man a smiling face. But what has been surprisingly unexpected to the gathering was the birthday key that was given to Paula by his dad was a Bible instead of the normal key.
Customarily, the giving of the key in a 21 birthday is a symbol of reaching adulthood and for the birthday person to key in and unlock the door to a life that he would be free to live on his own.
Giving a Bible instead of a 21st key was new to the Tongan communities who were at the ceremony but Paula’s parents made it on purpose.
Paula’s father, Reverend Sione Tu’ungafasi is a church minister and he has given his son the Bible as a reminder for him not only to live according to the bible teaching but also to follow him in spreading God’s Gospel.
Paula’s mum is Setaita ‘Ofa Tu’ungafasi from Pea, Tonga and his father Reverend Sione Tu’ungafasi is from Kanokupolu , Tonga.
In a tearful and an emotional moment during the ceremony Reverend Tu’ungafasi told his son that, “I want you to take this bible with you as the key to your journey for the rest of your life.”
Speeches of thanks from the family members showed great admiration for the new custom of giving the Bible instead of a key.