in the early days of the church in samoa, the members faced a lot of persecution and were driven out of many villages, ridiculed for their beliefs. it became so bad, that the church eventually purchased land in the crater made by a long extinct volcano, where the saints assembled in a safe haven they called "sauniatu". the name translated means "prepare to go forth" and that is what the saints did, they prepared. the road into the village is only just under 6.5km from the main road, but is an awfully slow drive... you could probably walk almost as fast... it's twisty and terribly uneven, making it very difficult to get into.
when elder david o. mckay visited the village in 1921 he pronounced an apostolic blessing on the village, proclaiming that the faith of the saints in sauniatu would lead to their crops being fruitful, that they would have an abundance of food and that peace would abide in their hearts and homes. this promise has certainly been kept... with the village having a good, large crop year after year and even the church owned farm now offering education to others among the islands about how best to grow their crops.
the church members in the area have such a love for david o. mckay, that a fale was erected in his honour, with a carved bust of his likeness placed in the centre.
the amazing ceiling... all handtied with rope to hold the fale together.
the plaque reads: the house of david o. mckay, dedicated on july 13, 1968 - built by willing hands and loving hearts.
there are so many wonderful stories about the village (including one about the carving pictured above...), which you can read here on the church website. it is an amazing place, truly dedicated to the building of the gospel on the earth. a church school was also established in sauniatu and still runs to this day, educating the local children.
there is also an amazing waterfall where you are able to swim, after descending the steep staircase into the grotto. the water is cool and clear, bubbling along fresh and clean as anything. dad held joseph for us and the rest of us went in... it was just amazing! i even swam over to the waterfall and let it wash over me... i truly feel so blessed to be experiencing this little bit of paradise with the people i love the most.
everything just feels so real here. days are bright and warm, the water is perfect for swimming, the food is fresh and delicious and the people are so kind. it amazes me that doug was born in such a beautiful place and that we finally have been given a perfect opportunity to get to know it.
what a beautiful view! tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, in it's own little place.
enjoying the water with the family
what a wonderful day. sauniatu is truly a place of refuge for the saints and i am so glad we made the drive up that awful road. it was worth every single bump!