"IF WE DIE WE DIE. IF WE LIVE WE LIVE". ..Full of Faith and Holy Spirit.
Acts 6:5 A man full of Faith and the Holy Ghost.
Aminio Baledrokadroka I married Lavenia Tupou the daughter of Jone Fifita I (who was the youngest son of Roko Labati, 1st Tui Fulaga) and Luisa Fusipala I (daughter of Laufitu) . They had a daughter called Lanieta Lagiono, who stayed in Muanaicake village, Fulaga, when they left for mission work in New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
1873 Aminio studied at Navuloa Mission School near Kaba in Tailevu .
1875 Reverend George Brown came to Fiji to recruit natives for mission work in Papua New Guinea..However, a measles epidemic had wiped out thousands of Fijians during the year.
The British colonial administration in Fiji tried
to stop the natives from volunteering for mission work in Papua New Guinea. Thurston and Layard outlined the dangers they were going to face and some could actually die from diseases and cannibalism.
Aminio became the spokesman for the group and in his famous words still echoed in New Britain today :
"If we die we die . If we live we live " .
1875 Left for mission work in Papua New Guinea and arrived in 1876 .
His wife Lavenia Tupou died in New Britain and was buried there . Aminio planted Vesi trees on her burial place (named a child when he returned to Fulaga, Lavenia Bavesi) . While very sick, Lavenia asked Aminio to marry her younger sister Mele Yalo as she was going to die from her sickness.
Power of GOD in PNG .
1. Aminio crossed a river full of crocodiles.
2. Sitting in front of the boat coming to shore and natives with spears saw flames coming from the waves in front of the man and were terrified.
When Aminio returned to Fiji, he married Mele Yalo who became mother to Jone Fifita II and Penisimani Baledrokadroka I . According to Aminio Vakacegumainakaulotu (born1910), Mele was a bad tempered woman (runs in the family) . Vakacegu was one of the kids who used to stay with his namesake in Talaele (mission residence in Tubou village) and Tua Aminio passed down our History to him (book written) is kept by a relative.
Reverend Aminio got Lanieta Lagiono married to Luke, and built a wooden house with a floor (first in Fulaga, also named a girl Foloa) from the money he received from mission work. He told her daughter that she was not going to have a child. Lagiono remained childless but raised the children of Masi the younger brother of Luke . The children were Siteri Senivutu, Lavenia Bavesi and Viliame Domolailai . She lived her old age (with Viliame Domolailai and Makereta) in Naibenubenu, Suva. and passed away in 1968 .
While in Vitilevu, a man from Sawakasa village used to transport Aminio in a canoe to preach along the coastal villages. Aminio requested the man to name his son after him as a token of appreciation. The son became the father of Joeli Matanisigadrau Baledrokadroka, DUX of Queen Victoria School, Lawyer by profession, lived in Waikato, New Zealand (RIP Yaca) .
Aminio retired to Lakeba and resided in Talaele, Tubou village. He wanted to be close to his kinsmen of Nasaqalau village to convert them to Christianity and turn them away from sorcery and witchcraft (qaravi tevoro, vakadraudrau or faoloakau in Tongan) .
God used Reverend Aminio Baledrokadroka to show his power and authority over everything in Lakeba:
1. Aminio walked in the rain but was not wet .
2. His duck was stolen and eaten. The men who stole the duck grew features of the bird . Those who ate the duck could not speak clearly on the day they ate the duck in the year (reminder to them of the day they ate the duck) .
3. A man stole watermelon and was found walking around the garden in the morning with the watermelon.
4. A student of Gaunavou who hailed from Oneata dug up his yam plot . The boy became sick and could not sit . He had to be carried around like a yam right up to old age when he died.
5. Two small children were staying with Aminio in Talaele. They were playing with other children and making noise. A man chased the group and managed to catch the two small children. He beat them up badly and their legs swollen. Aminio came and saw the children's legs and he was very angry. The legs of the man who beat up the children got swollen (fua) .
6. There was a long drought in Lakeba, the Tui Nayau, sent a messenger to Aminio to pray for the rain . Aminio pointed to the leaking roof of his home for the people to fix . Rain started pouring heavily once the roof was fixed.
7. When walking from one village to another, green coconuts would fall when he is thirsty and he would quench his thirst.
8. His grand daughter Kesaia Likuoso, daughter of Jone/Sione Fifita and Kirisitiana Katudrau died when she was young. Aminio prayed over her and she regained life, but he said she will not speak again (mute) . She used to stay with my cousin Luisa Fusipala II in Makoi .
9. Clouds would cover the village and people would know that Aminio is praying.
He passed away on 19th September, 1925, and was buried in his father's village of Nasaqalau, Lakeba in Lau .(edit)
Men in the Photo:
1. Sitting - Reverend George Brown.
2. Left hand touching the man sitting - Ratu Livai Volavola.
3. Right hand touching the man sitting - Amani Baledrokadroka.