“In the Lord’s Time,” Ensign, June 1992, 70
“I’ve felt the hand of the Lord guiding me throughout my life,” says Joseph Sokia of Suva, Fiji, flashing his trademark broad grin.
That guidance began with his conversion to the gospel in the early 1950s, when his uncle brought home a discarded library book, What of the Mormons? Since Joseph’s family valued education but had little money to buy books, they used it as a reading text.
When Latter-day Saint missionaries arrived in Fiji in 1954, the Sokias were prepared and welcomed them with open arms. They were the second family to be baptized in the country. Joseph was serving as president of the Suva Branch by age twenty-one, later serving as district president and as a counselor in the mission presidency.
In 1974, after working for a bank for several years, Brother Sokia became director of seminaries and institutes for Fiji, and later he worked as division coordinator for the Pacific Area. Because of his banking contacts, he was instrumental in locating and negotiating the purchase of land when the Church built a high school in Fiji.
After only four years in this position, Brother Sokia felt prompted to further his education. At first he doubted: he had a good job and a young family to provide for. Yet he and his wife followed the Spirit. They sold their home and moved to Hawaii, where he enrolled at Brigham Young University—Hawaii. Soon, Brother Sokia was called to help translate the temple ordinances into Fijian. “It struck me that this was the reason I had come,” he says. “And I realized that my work in the Church Educational System had prepared me for this responsibility.”
After graduation, he felt led again, this time to a graduate program at the University of Utah. Why Utah? Brother Sokia wondered. It’s too cold there! But when he was asked to help voice the temple ordinances in Fijian, he said, “I realized this was why I had come.”
Soon after, funds for graduate school ran out and the family returned to Fiji, where he is now bishop of the Tamavua Ward and works as business manager for Fiji LDS Technical College. “I know this is where the Lord wants me to be,” he says. “Now I have to stay worthy so that I will be ready when he needs me to fulfill another part of my mission.”—Shirleen Meek Saunders, Kirchberg, Switzerland