To Samoa with Love

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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.

Flowers for Samoa

In conjunction with Nathan’s Eagle project, the young women of the Apache Junction Arizona Stake made silk flower hairpins to give to young women in Samoa.

The young women in Arizona who helped to make the hairpins learned about the joy of service. “It’s really touching that something so small can mean so much,” says Emalee Gillespie. Briana Lara adds, “It’s neat to know that there is a Young Women class halfway around the world just like mine. It makes me happy that we can serve them.”

The young women in Samoa who received the hairpins were touched by the thoughtfulness of those Arizona young women. They made a point of wearing the pins to church the Sunday after they received them.

Bella Tuivaiti says, “The flowers that were given to the Lotopa Ward Young Women were awesome. I was so surprised to see the beautiful and creative flowers that the Arizona young women made for us.”

Mili Lafaele adds, “I was at first surprised and then in awe of the flowers—awe because of the delicate manner in which these flowers were made and surprised that they chose us to wear them. I am thankful to know that there are thoughtful sisters out there like the young women in Arizona.”

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