Samoa Mission Eldares sing again

[Story and video by Mike Foley — whose own LDS mission in Samoa partially overlapped the Eldares, originally published in Kaleo, February 2008]

The Eldares, Mormon missionaries in Samoa in 1963
The Eldares, then (left-right): Elders Richard Nielson, Carl Fonoimoana,Wayne Willis, Randy Broadhead with Samoa Mission President John Phillip Hanks. When Elder Broadhead got sick in mid-tour, Elder George Murdock took over for him.

A quartet of former Latter-day Saint missionaries in Samoa — two with ties to Laie — who created and recorded one of the island chain’s most popular songs for many years, will put on a series of concerts on Oahu.

Signature songs of the group include their own famous Masi Samoa, Usi le Fa’afofoga, Fa’alogo Ia, Samoa Silasila and Koko Samoa, among others.

[Read more…]

Pass the pliers and nail clipper, please

Back in the mid-60s when I was a Mormon missionary in Samoa, we often had to be flexible when it came to repairing things. For example, in an earlier blog entry, I shared the story of how barbed wire might be used to jump a car battery. Now, I’d like to tell two more tales of creative mechanics — both from Samoa’s “big island” of Savai’i: [Read more…]

The Samata ‘fly-test’: A Miracle?

When I was a Mormon missionary in Samoa in the early months of 1967, my companion and I were assigned to live in Samata, Savaii, in the Falelima district…where we experienced what some have called a miracle. Now, I experienced a number of miracles during my missionary days in Samoa, some of them even humorous, but you decide about this one, First, however, some background: [Read more…]

Barbed wire jump

In a recent meeting  (actually a Latter-day Saints testimony meeting) a young lady in our church shared a story of faith that involved praying for her car . . . which reminded me of two incidents where we did something similar years ago in Samoa: [Read more…]

Mormon missionary life in Samoa, 1965

Story and photos by Mike Foley, originally published on December 7, 2008

Many aspects of living in most parts of Samoa in 1965 were very different for a person who grew up in an urban American environment. For example: [Read more…]

Interisland boats in Samoa, 1965

Polynesian Airlines, 1966[Blog entry and photos by Mike Foley, originally published online, December 7, 2008]

In my “Mutiny in Samoa” entry, I referred to the fact that by 1965 most Mormon missionaries in Samoa flew between American and Western Samoa on a Polynesian Airlines DC3 [pictured at right]. New policy called for missionaries to fly whenever possible, but I still remember when I first arrived in March of that year President John Phillip Hanks came came to Tutuila to meet me and conduct mission business on a relatively small boat, about 60-feet long, that left Apia the evening before and arrived that morning in Pago Pago. [Read more…]

Taga ‘two-seater’

In the days I served in Samoa as a Mormon missionary in the mid-1960s, there were still lots of fale or Samoan houses, just like at the Polynesian Cultural Center . . . and falevao or outhouses were everywhere, usually rickety things hanging over a beach. At high tide fish would come under them. Ebb tide provided the “flush,” and pigs would sometimes scrounge underneath at low tide. Government and Peace Corps sanitation programs were still a few years in the future.

Some villages, like Nu’uuli in Tutuila, for example, had a long row of them. But the one that really sticks in my mind, even though it’s been over 40 years since I first-and-last saw it, was a little two-seater in the small village of Taga, Savaii. [Read more…]