A plea for family unity in the gospel made by Mateo Fuimaono in 1940 to his children continues to be heard by his family 70 years later.
Mateo Fuimaono was born in 1888 in Salani, Upolu, Western Samoa. His wife, Pei’uafealetaua (Peiu) Seiuli was born in Sapapali’i, Savai’i, Western Samoa. They were married in 1913 in Upolu and sealed in the Laie Hawaii Temple in 1959. They were blessed with 16 children, but only 10 lived — three boys and seven girls.
In 1923, the Fuimaonos moved to Mapusaga, American Samoa. Through the missionary efforts of Alisa and Kuka Toelupe, their neighbors, they were baptized in 1925.
As the Fuimaonos progressed in the gospel, they yearned for their posterity to receive the same blessings.
In 1940, in the village of Malaeimi, Brother Fuimaono gathered his family together: he and his wife, their 10 children (three with spouses) and six grandchildren. He offered up a prayer of thanksgiving to God for their membership in the true Church of Jesus Christ.
At the gathering, Brother Fuimaono declared to his family, “Let this unity continue until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
To maintain that unity, he set goals for his family. One primary goal was to continue the family unity once a year. As the years have passed, this goal has been realized.
At present, there are more than 800 family members, 97 percent of whom are still active in the Church. Four of Mateo and Pieu’s 10 children are still living. The oldest living daughter, Maselina de Guzman, is the current matriarch of the Fuimaono Family.
Since Mateo’s passing in 1969, each of the families of these 10 children take turns hosting the annual reunion, with 250-300 attendees every year.
This legacy of family unity exists today because of the Fuimaonos’ testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is truly a blessing for them to know that families are forever.
— Moroni Quiocho, La Puente, Calif.