After 10 days in a coma in an Auckland, New Zealand hospital, Rev. Alofagia Eli-Nofoa, Pastor of the Blazing Torch Nazarene Fellowship church plant in South Auckland, went to be with the Lord on 2 September 2019 at the age of 53.
Born 9 April 1966 in Samoa, Alofagia “Alofa” Eli-Nofoa graduated with both a National Certificate and School Certificate from Chanel College, a Catholic co-educational college in Moamoa, Samoa, in 1985; and with a Diploma of Ministry from South Pacific Nazarene Theological College in Samoa. He also attended the National University in Samoa before enrolling at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS) in the Philippines in July 1994, where he earned both Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees. While studying at APNTS, Alofa was a member of the Student Council, and married fellow student Cathy Lyn Detalo, a graduate of Visayan Nazarene Bible College (VNBC) on 14 June 1995.
After their graduation from APNTS in April 1998, Alofa and Cathy and their 2 children moved to Samoa, where Alofa & Cathy taught at South Pacific Nazarene Theological College (SPNTC). In 2002 they moved to New Zealand, settling in South Auckland, before relocating to Napier in 2003, where Alofa became the Pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. In 2004 they returned to Auckland, where they subsequently pioneered the Oak Tree Nazarene Fellowship in Takanini on 18 September 2004. On 12 November 2011 Alofa was ordained an elder in the Church of the Nazarene by General Superintendent Rev. Dr. Eugenio Duarte on the New Zealand District.
At the time of his death, Alofa was pastoring the Blazing Torch Nazarene Fellowship, where “he himself was cooking and serving coffee to the homeless and street people of South Auckland.” According to former APNTS President Dr Floyd Cunningham, “He saw what he was doing as an extension of Bresee’s ministry, and also to Bresee’s desire to “Christianize Christianity. He was also teaching theology classes for non-Nazarenes who wished to join the Church of the Nazarene. He was putting church history into practice. I was very, very proud of him. … what a loss!”
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“Alofagia always thought big and outside the box. He was always reaching out to the “other” and was never comfortable with the status-quo of evangelistic approach. He continuously found new challenges and was never afraid to take huge risks. His passing is a great loss to the Samoan Christian community especially to the denomination he loves so dearly,” said his friend, Peniperite Fakaua.
New Zealand District Superintendent Dr. Bruce Allder added, “Pastor Alofagia, as a pastor on the Auckland South Network, had an inquiring mind who asked good questions of church process. He desired to connect with those outside of the church and looked for bridges into the faith community for those who were in need. His passion for serving will be sadly missed as he came along side the disenfranchised of the South Auckland community.”
Pastor Alofa is survived by his wife, Penina; his 3 children, LoveLyn Eli-Nofoa (born February 1996 in the Philippines); Francis Bless Eli-Nofoa (born December 1997 in the Philippines); and Victor Eli-Nofoa (born April 2001 in Samoa); 2 grandchildren: Tyzion, 7, and Baby Alofa, 2; his mother, Fiapapalagi; and his brothers, Pastor Kilikamesa “Kili” Eli; Nove; and Nasareni; and sisters, Sinatala “Sinter” Eli; and Blessing Eli.