MJ Live

Monday, October 09, 2006

White Sunday (Written 10/8/06)

Today was the most celebrated of holidays in Samoa – White Sunday. What is White Sunday you may ask. Unofficially, it's really Children's Day but it's a day where kids get dressed up in nice white outfits and perform skits and songs in front of their church congregation. Not only do the kids get nice new outfits, they also get stuffed with a lot of food – mainly sweets and ice cream. So as you can probably imagine, kids absolutely love this day. I was unable to go to my training village to experience White Sunday because of a prior commitment with the church I go to in Apia, so I went to the morning service to see what all the hoopla about this day was. But before I tell you about it, let me start by saying that according to some Samoans, White Sunday is bigger then Christmas. Kids get all kinds of gifts and the town was absolutely packed on Saturday. Every American knows about Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) well it seems that Samoa has Black Saturday where all the stores are packed with people trying to buy gifts and things for their kids. I wasn't here for White Sunday last year (I came on the Wednesday after White Sunday, just like Group 77 will be doing this Wednesday) so I just couldn't understand how another day could be bigger then Christmas – now I understand.

But back to the morning service at Peace Chapel. When I arrived at the church, the place was completely packed out – you would have thought it WAS Christmas the amount of people that were in the place. Everyone was dressed all nice and so were the kids (but Peace Chapel calls this day 'Colorful Sunday' so parents don't have to spend outrageous amounts of money buying their kids new clothes for only one day – kids in this church can wear any color they want). The kids got up and sang some songs after that the smaller kids (think ages 4-7) got up on stage and read out some bible verses they remember while the older kids (8-12) told the congregation what they were thankful for and performed a few skits. Overall, it was a nice day that focused on the kids and their talents. I'm sure this White Sunday was a lot different then the one that took place in Falevao (for instance, this service was only 1:30 while I'm sure the one in Falevao probably would have been 3 hours long!) but it was nice to just experience the atmosphere and see that it is bigger then Christmas here. As I biked away from Church, I saw a long line of people at the ice cream shop buying ice cream and ice cream cones for their kids – it was a good day for kids! I wonder if a day like this would fly in America?

During the night service, a group that I'm involved in at Peace Chapel (called Next Generation) were asked to do a couple of items for the congregation. This was the reason I couldn't go to Falevao – couldn't risk not making it back in time. Anyway, we sang a Samoan song, performed a skit based on Ephesians 4:29 (it was directed towards the kids AND the adults), sang another song, then one of our members gave his testimony and finished with 'I Can Only Imagine'. The funniest part of the whole thing was that during practice something would always go wrong or be changed just a little bit to throw the whole production into a tailspin – but under pressure, the whole thing just flowed extremely well. The congregation was impressed by how well done it was – which was definitely a huge relief. So on White Sunday they had the young kids and the much older kids perform for the church – but we didn't get any ice cream out of the deal. Ahhhh, to be young again!

Flashback: This day last year I arrived in Los Angeles to begin my journey to Samoa, so if you're interested in seeing what I was thinking when I began this crazy little adventure go to October 2005 and look for the post called 'The City of Angels'. In that post I said this is one small step for Marques, one giant rollercoaster for my friends and family. Well the ride's halfway done folks – I'm in the middle of the step and my family/friends are in the middle of the requisite rollercoaster loop. L8r.

1 comment:

Jason Magicman Olson said...

Dude, can I just say how proud I am of you and what you're doing. Not just the peace corps thing, although that is certainly admirable - but you being out there, experiencing life instead of just watching it, and witnessing to all of your friends and family. You're a cool dude, Marques - and I am proud to call you friend.