Sunday, November 3, 2013

Samoa in Church History

From this April 2010 talk by Elder Quentin L. Cook, an Apostle:
I [was] able to meet with the Saints who had lost family members as a result of the tsunami that hit the eastern side of Samoa last September [2009]. The chapel was full, and it was an emotional meeting. [I was] able to assure these choice members that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, they can be reunited with the loved ones they have lost.
The stake president, Sonny Purcell, was driving his car when he saw the enormous wave coming far out at sea. He honked his horn and stopped children on the road walking to school and warned them to run for higher ground and safety as fast as they could. The children followed his instruction. He frantically drove, reached his four-year-old daughter, put her in the car, and then tried to get to his mother. Before he could reach his mother, the wall of water picked up his car and swept it over 100 yards (91 m), where it lodged in a tree. He scrambled to secure his daughter on top of the car and then swam to rescue his mother, who was clinging to a branch of another tree near their house. With great effort he swam with her to the car and safety. Many were not as fortunate. They did not have time to get to higher ground and safety. Many lost their lives, particularly the young and the elderly.
[I] told the Samoan families that members all over the world expressed love and concern and had prayed for them and contributed fast offerings and humanitarian aid for both the members and their neighbors. . . . We do this because we follow Jesus Christ.
As [I] met with the families in Samoa, the significance of spiritually going to the higher ground, living a better life, and clinging to saving ordinances was abundantly clear. The Savior’s example and life teach us to spiritually avoid the low pathway, where the things of this world dominate. As I shook hands with the members after our meeting, one sister told me her family had not been to the temple and they had lost a daughter. She tearfully said their goal now was to prepare themselves for the sacred ordinances of the temple so they can be together eternally.
As I have pondered what this sister said and the current condition of the world, I have felt an urgency to counsel each of us to seek the higher ground—the refuge and eternal protection of the temple.

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