Sunday, 16 September 2012

How different things are!

I managed to get all my lesson prep finished yesterday, so today has been a proper day off which has been great. We went down to our closest church for the service and afterwards were invited to lunch with the pastor and his wife. They were very welcoming and kind to us.
They came over from Western Samoa to start a church (congregational) 18 years ago. They started off fund raising in the US. They were allocated some land by the chief of this village who is a lovely lady who is currently a Senator. The chiefs take it in turn to serve as Senators in the government. The church was built and a house for themselves next door. They also have a church hall. The church is massive, with the most comfortable pews I have ever sat in (upholstered).
They have quite a small congregation - they said this was because the church has split four times, with groups going off to start their own churches. We asked about funding for the upkeep of the building. They run bingo in the church hall with massive cash prizes. Other churches also hire their hall for bingo paying a massive rent.  I asked if it was women who played bingo, the pastor said that both men and women play, he said that one good thing about bingo was that it kept the men from drinking.
We had a lovely lunch for the four of us with dishes contributed by members of the congregation. Their grandchildren (12 and 13 years old) waited at table and fanned us as we ate.
On leaving they presented us with a Samoan hymn book so we do not need to borrow when we come into church.

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