Monday, October 19, 2015
Funeral Traditions & True Happiness
Anyways... This week has been good and awesome. We had a bit less rain this week but still a good amount. This week we had some old people die in our village. One of them was the "Tamalii" or the high chief of the village.
While these times are always hard for people and we feel for the families who have lost loved ones, they give us a great opportunity to not only teach these people that they can see their loved ones again, but it also gives the opportunity to see some cool parts of the Samoan culture.
Whenever someone dies in Samoa they make a huge deal out of it. They call it a "Fa'alavelave" or an interruption. When a faalavelave happens people gather from all over the place to take part in it. After the actual funeral service is when the fun starts.
The village gathers and the Matai (the second highest Matai, because the highest Matai doesn't talk to the people) stands in front of them and directs the program. First the family who had someone die stands up and makes a very long and fancy speech that can be shortened to "We want to thank all of you for coming and your love for our family. We will now give all of you very expensive presents!"
They then will bring out ie toga, a very soft, handwoven mat made from grass. The ie toga take about a year to make and they cost about $1-2,000. The family will pass out heaps of them as well as lots of dead pigs, boxes of canned fish, boxes of corned beef, etc. The way they give them out is they will tell the person that they are giving them to that because of their goodness and love for the family they will give them...Whatever they are giving them. The person who is receiving the gift will then stand up and say that they appreciate the generosity, but they can not accept so much. They family will then tell them that if they do not accept the gift they never want to hear from them again and they will chase them out of the village, then the people accept the gift.
Then the people who are gathered together will all give presents to the family in the same way. And then everybody goes home fat and happy. Its pretty cool.
This week we had some really good lessons with a investigator named Lui. He used to live in California for most of his life but he moved here to Samoa a few years ago. He prefers to speak in English rather then Samoan so that is awesome. :) He attended church this week and had a really good experience there and said that he wants to keep coming.
This week in church I was able to feel the true joy of missionary work. We had 5 investigators at church and all of them are changing their lives for the better and coming closer to Christ. Sitting in church I felt happier then I had ever felt in my life.
Not only was pleased with how these people were progressing, but I could feel that Heavenly Father was happy with me, and that is what made me so happy. I know that the way we will all be happy in this life is by focusing on others rather then ourselves. We all have problems and weaknesses and trials, and if we focus on how hard our lives are then we will never be happy. Only when we look past ourselves will we be truly happy.
I love you all and hope you have an awesome week.