Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The New Pastor


Last December the pastor for the largest and wealthiest church, EFKS/Congregational, in the village died after 34 years of service. The new pastor, his wife, and five young children moved in five weeks ago to the pastor’s two story, air-conditioned, fully equipped house. For the past 15 years he worked at the EFKS’s main office in Apia, his last position that of Controller. I introduced myself and was invited to his house where he, his wife, and I talked for two hours.

As he spoke of his goals to help the village children increase their reading and school skills and his approach to his new position, I couldn’t help but quietly chortle as I compared his past life and personality with what he is about to face to new Peace Corps Volunteers. When would the reality of where he is now living hit him? How long would he continue his exercise program of running up and down his stairs before the village provided meals took its toll on his and his family’s healthy lifestyle? When would his direct and inclusive speech rile village elders? When would the churches Women’s Committee openly frown upon his wife’s simple dresses? When would he turn on the air-conditioning and get a vacuum cleaner for his carpeted floors? When would his 8th level daughter stop crying about education and corporal punishment at her new school? When would he end up being placed on that pedestal he so much wants to avoid? We ended our conversation with his support for diabetes testing and a village weight control program as we lunched on parishioner provided canned spaghetti sandwiches..

Pastor's Church, Built 1912

Pastor's House with Bingo Hall on Front Lawn

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