Tuesday, March 10, 2015


According to Lonely Planet, "Samoa has some of the most beautiful and enticing islandscapes in the South Pacific".   (Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/samoa#ixzz3TyskojE1 )

As our month long assignment here draws to a close, we would have to agree.  Last week we spent a couple days on the big island of Savai'i.  Just an hour's ferry ride away, Savaii offeres rugged volcanic terrain, lush forests and a slower pace of life.

We knew there were many sights we would not see, such as the blowholes and the amazing lava flows.  If we had the time I would have like to challenge my lifelong fear of heights by taking a hike along the amazing canopy walk, a fifty meter suspended wooden bridge that hangs between two giant banyon trees, about 30 meters off the ground.

Photo from SouthPacific.org

But we were not there to explore.  We were there to teach.   We gave trainings to stake leaders in six different stakes over the two days we were there. What we missed out on in sight seeing we more than made up for with powerful spiritual experiences.  And of course, every step of the way we were accompanied by our dear Samoan friends, the Ah Hoys, which made the trip fun just by being together.  They have become so dear to us over these past weeks.  It is going to be hard to say goodbye in just a few days knowing it is unlikely we will ever see them again.
For the two days we were traveling we were on the road from before first light till well past our usual bedtime.  We packed a lot in to a very short time.  We met some great leaders and connected well with the Family History Center (FHC) Directors at each Stake.  We learned a lot about the challenges people in the islands face in terms of their lack of technology infrastructure and painfully slow internet.  Again, as in other places we visited  on Upolu, the singing of the congregations was truly stunning.  Between the memories of the people we met and the beauty along way, we will remember this trip for a long, long time.

Scenes from Upolu Harbor as we waited to take the ferry to Savai'i 

       On the Road in Savai'i

Leaders we Trained:

Savai'i South Stake

Stake President Mokesi Lulu


                                                                 Savai'i Sagone Stake 

Stake President Seteffano Tauvao

Savai'i West Stake
Stake President Enesa Young Yen (center) with his counselors

Family History Center Director (3rd from left) and consultants

Savaii Fagamolo Stake
 Stake President - Rudy Fata
Scott Betham, the first Stake Clerk in all of Samoa to return the 15-in 15 Spreadsheet.
We were so very impressed by this guy!

Savai'i Puapu'a Stake
 Stake President - Lio Isaia
A great man of faith who withstood persecution with total trust in the Lord

FHC Director at Savai'i Puapu'a Stake

 Savai'i Samoa Stake
FHC Director in center with two assistant directors.
High Councilor, Bishop and Primary President with the FHC Leaders

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