To Samoa with Love

By Nathan Covarrubias

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Half a world away, one Scout was preparing to send Christmas gifts to the ravaged island.

I was discussing options for my Eagle project when I heard about the tsunami that had caused widespread devastation on the island of Samoa. I also learned that a sister in our ward, Savili Martin, would be traveling to Samoa with her family to visit relatives during the Christmas holidays. While I realized that the main concern of the people of Samoa was to rebuild and make the best of what they had, I also knew that all children love to receive gifts, and I felt inspired to organize a service project to provide Christmas presents to the children whose lives had been affected by the disaster. Although the gifts wouldn’t be extravagant, I felt that this project would be a blessing to the children and would help ease the burdens of their parents.

I worked with the Scouts in my ward to start a Christmas stocking gift drive. So many people were eager to help with this project. The Scouts and Young Women in my ward helped pass out flyers and collect donated gifts. We received donated material to make the stockings. My family and another family in the ward made the stockings, and the girls at the Primary activity days in our ward stuffed them. We gave all the gifts too big to put into stockings to the school district’s Project Help for Christmas.

We completed the project in time for the James and Savili Martin family to take the boxes of stockings with them to Samoa, where they gave the stockings to the Primary children.

When Sister Martin and her family returned to Arizona, she brought back a video of the children receiving their Christmas presents. I felt so warm inside when I saw how grateful every child was for his or her gift. One young boy in particular was wrapping his little arms around his Christmas stocking, making sure everybody knew it was his. Their appreciation and excitement more than compensated for all the hard work put into this project. The Spirit was strong after we watched the video, and I felt that the Lord blessed us in our efforts to help and serve His children.

Photographs courtesy of James and Savili Martin, © Getty Images, © istock