Agnes Lomu Penitani passed through death to be with Jesus at 5.45 a.m. on Monday morning February 20th, 2023 after struggling with colon cancer which was already metastasized to her lungs and liver when she was diagnosed in February 1st, 2019.
Agnes was born in October 29, 1973 in Auckland, New Zealand, to her parents Ionita Vake Sikahele and Tali Sitani Lomu and later moved back to Tonga while she was still in elementary school.
When she was 12 at Queen Salote College, she made a commitment to follow Christ by inviting Him into her heart to be her Lord and Savior after her Sunday school teacher, who was another senior student, shared with the class a booklet known as the Four Spiritual Laws or Makatu’unga ‘e Fa ‘o e Mo’ui Fakalaumalie in Tongan language.
One of her closest friends, Veili Taumoepeau, became her spiritual mentor and later they met Esmeralda Newman, a Filipina missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ, who became her spiritual mentor for the rest of her teen age and young adult years.
She was known even in high school for her generosity and hospitality as she always invited her friends to her parents’ home to eat or to spend overnight there.
Her family migrated to Utah in 1994, and she continued her education in Salt Lake Community College, and later to the University of Utah. Her island Christian faith continued to grow as she quickly plugged into Campus Crusade for Christ Campus Ministry and the Baptist Campus Ministry at the University of Utah where she received spiritual nourishment. She graduated from the University of Utah with B.Sc in Mass Communication in 1997.
She worked for the Department of Workforce Services for over twenty years as an Employment Counselor, Business Consultant, Lead Business Consultant, Flat File Program Specialist, Workforce Development Specialist, Supervisor, Refugee Employer Coordinator/ Refugee Workforce Development Specialist.
Truly, she was a Mass Communicator since she had the ability to connect and build friendships with people from different colors, races, religions, genders, and economic backgrounds. Many considered her as a person with loving infectious smile, approachable, and has a heart for people.
For twelve years she was a Sunday School teacher at one of the Tongan churches until she got married in 2007.
She involved in different community services, and she co-founded the Pacific Island Chamber of Commerce with Susi Malohifo’ou.
She was nominated as Woman of the Month by Fox 13 in August 2019 for her untiring work with Pacific Island businesses while struggling with cancer. And she was also a Living Color of Utah Community Award honoree for her work with refugees and minorities while struggling with cancer in 2020.
Cancer did not prevent Agnes from volunteering in church, or with Pacific Island communities until towards the end of 2022 when she could no longer have the strength to fulfill her responsibilities.
She’s remembered by many for her endurance and her smiles even in the midst of her suffering.
Her last words for us on Saturday morning (02/18/2023) when she responded to her husband saying to her, “I love you Nesi” to which she replied, “I love you too.” Then two hours later, when her pastor Dr. Bryan Hurlbutt and her wife Jennifer were about to leave after visiting and praying with her, she managed to say “Good-bye.”
Her husband Seni and their special need son David saw her off when she finally breathed her last breath around 5.45 a.m on Monday morning the 20th of February, 2023.
Even though we all rejoice that she is with her Savior and Lord Jesus Christ whom she served since twelve, our hearts are filled with sorrow for the gap she left.
She anticipated death during the last four years with the assurance of eternal life as promised in 1 John 5:11-13
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Agnes is survived by her husband, Seni, her son Daniel 14, Katalina 12, and David 11.
Viewing and Funeral service will be held from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. at Lifeline Community @ 4431 West, Lifeline Lane, West Jordan, UTAH and burial afterward at West Jordan Cemetery @ 7925 S. 1300 W. West Jordan, UT 84088.Service Information
Viewing February 27, 2023 at 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Lifeline Community Church
Celebration of Life
February 27, 2023 at 11:00 AM
Lifeline Community Church