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Despite Adversity, Church Group in American Samoa Expands

Death of their leader didn’t stop them

Encouraged by their leaders to grow from a branch (a small congregation) to a ward (a normal-sized congregation), the Amanave Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American Samoa overcame a huge challenge and achieved their goal.

Adney M. Reid, president of the Pago Pago Samoa West Stake (a group of congregations) commented “It was quite the experience and the Lord had his hand in the whole process. He has blessed (the Amanave) Ward tremendously for their faith, hard work and devotion to moving the work forward.” Soon after Reid began his ministry, he challenged Branch President Sagala and the Amanave Branch which he led to increase their membership enough in the coming five months to become a ward. Sagala and the branch got to work and were having success when Sagala unexpectedly died.

Rather than becoming discouraged, the members of the Amanave Branch rallied around their new leader, Lele Toa, and continued to invite others (who either were not members of the Church or who were not actively participating in Church activities) to join them. With all but six weeks of the five months gone, Apia Samoa Mission President Arthur D. Hannemann assigned seven of his best missionaries to help the Amanave Branch members find additional members.

      Within just three weeks (and three weeks before the date Reid had set as a goal) the branch had grown enough to become a ward.

The ward has recently been striving to get land to build a meetinghouse. The owners of the house the ward currently uses for its meetings has allowed them to extend the building. Using materials provided by the Church, ward members are adding an extension to the house.
         Previously they had modified the house by knocking down walls, tiling and painting. According to President Reid, “These activities and acts of service really helped with this ward’s sense of unity.”

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