Friendship comes free in Hawaii at family's roadside fruit stand

Travelers along Kamehameha Highway on Oahu's north shore are apt to pass a makeshift fruit stand operated by a friendly, generous Church member of Chinese-Samoan ancestry.

Tuileva Fafai Atagi, 66, is a retiree from previous employment at dairy and sugar companies who uses the proceeds from the family fruit business to "pay a few bills" and to help support his missionary sons.A member of the Waialua Ward, Mililani Hawaii Stake, the father of 10 children has a son, Faamoana, currently serving a mission. Another son, Fale Mai, is anticipating his call any day. Two other children have previously served as missionaries.

"I just want my call to come," said an eager Fale, while helping his father at the fruit stand recently. When asked where he hopes to go, he says seriously: "Anywhere. I just want to serve and do my part."

As people stop at his stand, Brother Atagi is quick to cut up and pass out samples of his home-grown bananas, coconut, pineapple, sugar cane and papaya. He quickly whacks off the top of a coconut and puts a straw into the sweet milk for one thirsty visitor, cutting in half a papaya and spooning out the sweet insides for another.

When one person asks about the BYU T-shirt he is wearing, he breaks into a big smile and extends his hand: "Are you a Mormon?" Though his English is limited, there is no misunderstanding Brother Atagi's warmth or hospitality, nor his love of the gospel and commitment to the missionary cause.

"In my mind that's the best thing for my sons and daughters, to go serve the Lord," he said.

His work at the roadside fruit stand is helping his children do just that.

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