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On a mission in Samoa

By Erin Cardone, Victoria News

2314 days ago   Article ID# 268154
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Youth With a Mission

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (Victoria News) - A week after a tsunami hit on Sept. 29, Muavae Va'a flew to Samoa. Seventeen of his family members died, including his older sister and her grandson.

"She was a best friend, more like a mother to me," Va'a said.

On Jan. 12, he's returning to Samoa with 12 others from the Victoria area to help families cope with their losses, and help rebuild villages.

Va'a, a native Samoan, now lives in Brentwood Bay and is a member of Youth With a Mission, an Esquimalt-based organization with Christian affiliations. YWAM is helping Va'a and the group raise money to fund their work in the South Pacific.

There is much to be done in Samoa, said Va'a, who's been scanning the news and keeping in touch with his remaining family on the islands, despite the months that have passed since the tsunami.

"There is still a struggling of people trying to rebuild," Va'a said. "Two months later, people are heading back home, families are struggling to build their lives. There is a lack of manpower."

The relief mission is about more than construction – emotional support is needed to improve morale in Samoa, said Eric Lamontagne, who with his wife Allison and daughters Abigail, 6, and Anna, 4, will join Va'a in Samoa for two weeks.

"I think what's important really ... is the impact we can leave is better than just sending a cheque," Lamontagne said.

He added the experience will hopefully be a life-changing one for his young girls. "It's an opportunity for our family to get a better perspective on the world."

Youth With a Mission is an international organization; its Victoria branch was started by Australian Graham Jackson, who moved here in 1994.

Some of its missions abroad have the intent of spreading Christianity, and others are focused on relief after natural disasters. Members offered work and support in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, and organized prayer studies at Ground Zero in New York following 9/11.

To donate or get involved with the relief mission to Samoa, please call 250-386-4040 or e-mail info@ywamvictoria.com.

Copyright 2016 Victoria News   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 2314 days ago   Article ID# 268154

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