I'm just reading about a missionary from the LDS church who has returned to Samoa, having served there in the early 1970s (on Samoa Observer).
Here's the thing, i don't belong to that church, but my goodness, they definitely got a few things right, or shall I say, they have such a healthy ongoing relationship with Samoa, not just their counterparts.
- I say this because if you think about it, they don't do the whole give $2000 and $3000 and how many more thousands to the church yearly. They only give a portion of what they earn.
- Investing in education: Wow...have you been to Vaiola? They have state of the art resources that a Savaii kid could only 'dream of''....and I won't mention my own denomination but lets just say getting a textbook with all the pages intact to yourself is a miracle.
- Breaking down cultural barriers/borders,...again, I refer you to the story about this missionary and be reminded that their presences in a village is testament to this open, healthy relationship. Learning another language and living like the people around them. Our church ministers are from our own community and they live mostly in 2 storey walled in mansions.
- Smoking, Drinking: They don't do this (ahem - when no one is looking lol) but this is one thing that is a blessing that the others could have benefited from.
- Relevance: What I enjoyed about this church is that during their services, they are split into groups, ...i think the moms and kids and the men break off and then they discuss issues that are relevant and share recipes and share real life scenarios....(PS My little sister and I used to go to the Vaisaulu LDS with a relative when my family were not paying attention haha)....in my actual church, we park our mulianas on the hard seat and listen for 2 hours to the church leader preaching and singing, zero movement to the bones or the brain.
- Missionaries who return and give back in one way or another: The most memorable missionaries I met returned to Savaii before the 2 cyclones ( I was a newborn at the time but my memory is amazing hah - nah, I was much older)., I remember Rex Maugh, because of a really childish reason, he had one green eye and one blue eye.(Did I mention I was a kid?) and I remember Paul Cox because he was passionate about the rainforest. Both gave back, Rex Maugh was involved in turning RLSS's residence into the Museum it is today and Paul Cox eventually supported the Falealupo people in retaining their lowlying rainforest through a 50 year lease instead of cutting it down for timber.
So yeah, ...I therefore am not suprised when I see the recent Bureau of Statistic stats showing yet another increase in their numbers since the last census....although if you dig deeper, the increase is also due to natural births and not necessarily converts:
4.9 Fertility by religion
Religion is a major part of Samoa's social life and customs because the population is predominantly
Christian. Therefore, the children are seen as blessings from God Almighty hence big families are highly valued. It is most likely that the church teachings may influence the family size decisions and family planning practices made by couples, teenagers and young people. The 2011 results showed that LDS had the highest TFR(total fertility rates) of 5.4 followed closely by AOG with 5.1. The
same churches also had the same ranking in the census 2006.
copied from Samoa Bureau of Statistics 2011
Thank you for reading.
My goodness....yesterday, I was public announcer and now i'm sounding like a PR adviser from Utah.