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Snapshot of Samoa
The official languages of Samoa are Samoan and English, though English is not as widely spoken. Samoa is a primarily Christian nation, with the Christian Congregational Church of Samoa, Roman Catholic Church, Methodist and LDS churches being the largest denominations. Traditional Samoan culture retains a strong influence, as seen in the use of matai chiefly titles and the emphasis on the importance of familial relationships. It is common in many villages for there to be a period of prayer held each evening. Traditional dances such as the siva and sasa are commonly performed, and male tattooing is still a frequent practice. The lava-lava is worn by both men and women, and the puletasi (skirt and tunic) is often worn by women. International influences are also present, with modern pop and rock being popular. Rugby is the most popular sport in Samoa, though Samoan cricket and soccer are also popular. Food is also quite important in Samoan culture. Popular dishes in Samoa include chicken, fish and seafood, and vegetable soups. Umu dishes (food baked in an oven pit) are popular Sunday meals, often incorporating pig, rice, and taro. Breadfruit, rice, coconut, and bananas are also eaten.
Snapshot of the American Samoa (part of the Samoa Apia Mission)
The American Samoa is a territory of the United States. While Samoan is the most dominant language, many people are bilingual and speak English as well. American Samoa is primarily Christian, with about 50% of the population belonging to the Christian Congregationalist church, and about 25% belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The culture of American Samoa is very similar to that of Samoa, though many influences form the United States are also present. American football is somewhat popular, as are Samoan cricket, baseball, volleyball, and soccer. The cuisine of American Samoa is similar to that of Samoa, though imported foods such as rice, onions, and potatoes and other American dishes have become more popular.
**Tokelau is also part of the Samoa mission but there is no missionary presence there at this time**
Church membership: 15,629
Church membership: 73, 827
1 Temple in Apia
The first missionaries to arrive in Samoa were Elder and Sister Dean in 1888. In 1893, the first branch was established and today, American Samoa has 36 congregations and Western Samoa has 135.
Because Samoa is a group of islands, much of the food the people eat comes from the sea, as well as plantations:
Missonaries in Samoa usually walk, take buses, or -in certain areas- ride bikes.
Samoa has a low crime rate, but it is important to be smart about your safety. Petty theft is common, so don’t leave your belongings unattended.
Be aware of stray dogs. Don’t touch or go near them.
Never eat uncooked food.
Know what to do during an earthquake or tsunami as Samoa is located in a seismic area.
For more safety information, visit: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1009.html
When you visit a home, you remove your shoes and sit cross legged on a palm-woven mat.
In the afternoon, Samoan families have “Sa,” a time set apart to pray and give thanks to God for the blessings they have. You will not be on the streets during this time.
Speeches are a way to show respect to others.
Samoans hold feasts to celebrate major life events.
On Sundays, most stores will close to observe the Sabbath. It is a day for family and church.
O lo’u suafa o____ -My name is____
O fa’apefea mai oe? -How are you?
O Lelei au, fa’afetai. -I’m fine.
Ofea le fale lotu Mamona? -Where is the LDS church?
Mail to American Samoa arrives fairly quickly, and it is uncommon for things to be stolen. It may take longer to arrive in Western Samoa, around 2-3 weeks.
PO Box 1865
Straight from the Samoa Apia Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“peanut butter definitely :)”
*What did you eat the most of?
“I served in a Polynesian island so our food consisted mostly of taro or banana, fish, chicken, canned food (corned beef or herring), bread & butter”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“jellyfish…haha…never ate it again…”
“We ate just about everything in the ocean, and some of the foods had unique textures but pig heart was probably the craziest thing.”
“The most bizarre was sea cucumber which even the guy from the strange foods show could hardly eat.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“The people – they were shocking, unique, unexpected but mostly charming…”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Samoa Apia Mission?
“Be prepared for anything…and LOVE YOUR COMPANIONS”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“To live the Gospel FULLY…i thought I had lived the Gospel fully before I left but when I was in the mission…there was so much I learned…and there was so much I needed to share with those that have not heard of the church…
“Love and Respect your companions…nothing can be achieved if you and your companion are not in tuned with the spirit…which leads you to be in tuned with each other…”
“Being the instrument to bring entire families into the gospel or back to re-activity was the best! Ant then seeing them go to the temple, even better. You just know that families are meant to be together for ever.”
**Did you serve in the Samoa Apia Mission? If so we could love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**