Friend to Friend

by President Loren C. Dunn

of the First Council of the Seventy

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    President Loren C. Dunn

    Samoans are very beautiful. They have rich brown skin and dark eyes.

    Apia Stake in Western Samoa is on one of the islands deep in the South Pacific where our Father in heaven has many members of the Church. The weather there is tropical—warm all year round—and banana trees, coconut trees, and flowers in many different and brilliant colors grow in abundance.

    In the Pesega Third Ward Samoan children and American children attend Primary and Sunday School together. The American children are there because their parents teach in a nearby school that is operated by the Church. The American children in that school are taught Samoan and the Samoan children are taught English so they can talk to and enjoy each other. They are all good friends.

    One Sunday evening not very long ago, I had the opportunity of attending sacrament meeting in the Pesega Third Ward. It happened to be the Sunday of the children’s sacrament meeting presentation.

    The theme for the meeting was “Thou Shalt Live Together in Love.” Perhaps you remember putting on this program in your own sacrament meeting. It is the same one the First Presidency asked bishops all over the Church to have children present.

    The program was very well prepared. But it was presented just a little different from the way it was in most other wards and districts. The children gave all of their parts in both English and Samoan. This was because some of the parents in the audience could not understand English and others could not understand Samoan. The children wanted everyone to enjoy their program.

    As you may remember, this sacrament meeting presentation tells how the Savior shows His love for the whole world by sending out missionaries to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This message has special meaning in Samoa because the Lord calls most of the young Samoan missionaries to serve right in their own country. In fact, most of the missionaries in Samoa are from Samoa.

    Many Church members think of missionary work in terms of going to some far-off land. Some are called to do this, but our Father in heaven is giving the Samoans a special blessing by making it possible for them to have an opportunity to bring salvation to their own people and to teach the gospel in their own language.

    It is a great honor to serve our Heavenly Father wherever we might be called. However, as I see the missionary work in Samoa, I realize that there is something special about teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to people you love and understand. It is a blessing He gives to many young Church members throughout the world who prepare themselves for missions.

    Illustrated by Ginger Brown