I lived in American Samoa through a couple of cyclones, high winds, high surfs and heavy rainfalls. There was plenty of damage and they pretty much shut down the airport for almost the entire Summer once because of the destruction "Mother Nature" caused.
I was absolutely stunned when I got pictures from relatives in Samoa and I can honestly say, I never saw that kind of destruction when I lived there. It's such a small place with over 65,000 people almost directly in the center of Hawaii and Australia. A small island where young kids can still run around in the villages and jungles without adult supervision. For the most part, you really do know everyone from your village.
The brunt of the damage in American Samoa happened in Pago Pago (the capital, town) in the East and Leone in the West (my grandfather's village). I know the Samoan people, young and old spent most of last night in prayer and villages and families organizing where they will start to help. It will probably take a longer time to recover from these earthquakes and tsunamis, but make no doubt about small countries that will rise stronger because of tragedy. I also know that when there is a huge disaster, the US government moves QUICKLY to send troops, FEMA and outside help from Hawaii. I watched the news last night and saw how quickly President Obama extended the same help our government always offers.
The church has already organized relief efforts on both islands. At last count, 8 members have been confirmed dead and two local sister missionaries in Tonga (that island borders Samoa) are missing. There were at least 6 confirmed deaths in the island of Tonga.
Tonight when you say your family prayers, please remember to include my people in both Samoas.
2 months ago