Current Time in Pago Pago

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friends







This post is long over due. Here in Amerikan Samoa we have made some AMAZING friends. Here are just a few of them and the adventures we have had.

Toa Laughing

What I Go Through To Keep You People Entertained!



This is a video of a class presentation on Samoan song and dance. The song is about the tatau or Samoan traditional tattoo. In the dance I’m the stiff little white girl on the end. I also want to make the disclaimer that just because I do the dance does not mean that I support getting tattoos so if your kids come to you and say they want a tattoo because of the cool dance that auntie Jessica did, know I had nothing to do with it!.....with that said, on with the show.

video

If a picture is worth a thousand words






If a picture is worth a thousand words that this should make up for the last month!

The old man

As in wards around the globe, our ward has "assigned seating." We were very blessed to get the second row in our ward in Mapusaga Fou....what can I say, I know a guy. When people use to sit in our seat on Sundays my grandmother would inform them that she paid extra tithing for that seat :)
On our row there is a man that sits next to us. I don't know his name - shame on me - but he sits on the end of the row by himself. He is an older man. Matthew and I guessed in his 70's. He doesn't come every sunday but he is there very often. He usually beats us to our seats and is there early waiting for the meeting to begin.
He is always armed with his songbook, though he does not sing, but he faithfully turnes to the page and holds his book up to follow along. I've never seen this gentlemen talk to anyone, or anyone talk to him for that matter. He simply sits quietly.
I don't know how he gets to church, or how he gets home. He often leaves a bit early, before the closing hymn. It takes him a little while to get to the door a few feet a way because he slightly drags his right foot. I've never seen him use his right arm, which usually just sits in his lap or by his side. He always uses his left hand to take the sacrament which he does reverntly. His revernce is also manifest in his dress. While not the best kept, he always wears a white shirt, tie, and a formal lava lava. I can only imagine the labor it must be for this man to get dressed for the sabbath.
Today at church a little girl, probably not even two came to our row and looked up at him. He looked down at her, took her hand, and tried to lead her into the bench. She quickly retreated to her mother but came back soon afterwords. This sweet man, once realizing that this was now a game, looked down and smiled. The small girl smiled back and ran away again.

This sweet, gentle man has taught me so much. How often do I complain about getting ready for church here in samoa. While he is dedicated to being at church no matter the obsticals he faces. How often do I murmur at the busy children that play during the speakers while this man reverently takes joy in their innocence.
Thank you old man for your silent example. Your quiet faith has spoken loudly to me in our commen language of the spirit. I pray we may share a bench again soon.

An Example of Faith

I wrote this blog quite a while ago but with conference this weekend I thought it appropriate to post.

When we first arrived at our new home in Mapusaga Fou, our neighboors came and introduced themselves. They offered us some fresh fruit and told us about the village. They also warned us about the missionaries that come around regularly and knock on your door. We laughed and said, "ya, we know all about those guys, we went on missions too." They smiled and said "ah, your mormon too."
We soon learned that our palagi neighboors were Bahai which is another world wide religion. Over a beautiful dinner they told us about Bahai holidays and beliefs, traditions and holy writ. They already seemed to know a lot about Mormon beliefs and insisted it was Herbal tea before we could ask.
Yesterday they invited us to a prayer meeting to pray for the people of Japan. We went to their home where there were four large pots of food cooking on the stove. Over a dozen people arrived with food in hand to join our faith in behalf of our brothers and sisters in Japan.
Our nighboor, Dave, thanked us all for coming and spoke of the honor it was to his home to have us there. He invited another mormon to offer the opening prayer, which he said in Tongan. After the prayer, this Tongan man and his family broke into a georgeous rendition of "love at home" in tongan with the children singing parts and everything.
After an international dinner, Dave explained that Bahais recite written prayers from their prayer book. After another beautiful song He invited us all to take turns saying a prayer, either from the prayer book or in whatever manner we wished. Matthew started and we went around the circle praying for the people of Japan. What a great spirit was felt in that room. We heard mormon prayers and bahai prayers. Prayers in english, Tongan, and Samoan. This divers group of people, men, women, children, were all united in faith.
We then listened as the Tongan families sang a worship song in Samoan to close the gathering. Truly, when 2 or more are gathered in the name of the Lord, there spirit can be felt. It was a great evening to raise our voices and our faith to help our brothers and sisters who need help. After everyone else had left, Dave invited us to the Bahai new years celebration that his congrigation was having the next day.
This man has been such an example of faith to me. Willing to and wanting to reach out to others of different faiths and celebrating the common ground of worship and praise. Using faith to help others in their time of need, and not hesitating to call on the faith of others. Thank you Dave for teaching me about faith and how to use it, live it, and share it.