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Measles epidemic ruins Christmas plans

Three Methodist Churches are not looking forward to Christmas this year as their usual festive season programs have been cancelled due to the measles epidemic-imposed state of emergency.

Usually every Christmas and New Year, most churches around Samoa either hold performing programs or gather for celebrations and more.

But this year's activities will be remembered for being "boring and sad" according to the three Methodist churches in Satapuala, Magiagi and Vaimoso.

In an interview with Samoa Observer, Reverend Livingstone Peseta, who is currently serving in Satapuala said they were aware of the situation when the measles outbreak was declared and the sadness has been in his church society for months now.

“Everything the kids were looking forward to will not happen which is saddening because I know it’s that time of the year they waited for,” he said.

His youth group and Sunday school students comprises of about 100 people.

According to Rev. Auro Teve, who is currently serving at Vaimoso Methodist church, their churchgoers expressed similar sentiments.

“The kids were looking forward to Christmas and New Year as how it’s always been because it’s one of the best times of their lives they waited all year for,” he said.

For this Christmas, the plan was for the Sunday school students of Vaimoso Methodist to be responsible for lifting the spirit of Christmas by their performing programs. But the plan is now a no plan.

He said the kids and youth are sad and bored this Christmas.

For the Methodist Church in Magiagi, the youth group had it all planned for Christmas and New Year this year.

Dances and performances were practiced for long hours and planned before the state of emergency was declared.

The Government in early November declared Samoa was officially in a state of emergency in response to the measles epidemic that has been sweeping through the country for more than one month.

According to a church goer at Magiagi, Fimalo Sione Teo who is the president of the youth group, the Christmas carols is also another loss.

"Christmas carols at nights have always been a part of the Methodist system and every kids and even elders loved participating in it," he said.

But prayers have not been forgotten for the country, according to Rev. Peseta.

“We still keep our country in prayers and we believe our people will soon be free from this horrible experience with God's never ending love,” he said.

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