Tuesday, October 22, 2013


In Tongan culture, formal "fakamavaes" (farewells) are very important. When the village found out about our move, we were very humbled and blessed when they planned a farewell celebration for us. We had seen it before, when the Wesleyan pastor was transferred earlier this year. Nothing too out of the ordinary happens - just lots of eating, lots of speeches, and giving of gifts. It's impossible to fully describe the emotions of the everything that happened; needless to say, it was unlike any goodbye we have ever experienced.

Ours was set to occur on our last Sunday in the village. In typical Nuapapu fashion, as the various church denominations make it a challenge to plan anything as the whole village, there was a bit of drama when the day came. It was set to occur after church in the evening, but when one church asked around if they could move it to lunchtime, confusion ensued. Eventually, through much deliberation and grumbling, and eventually lots of laughter, the families who were ready brought their food to the hall after church. The majority of the families came to this one, and it was really beautiful. As is typical in Tonga, all speeches, including both of ours, were full of tears. We felt so loved, so sad, and like such a part of this wonderful village.

Pictures from the first feast:

The remaining families that were not able to come to the lunchtime event planned another one for the afternoon. It was a simple celebration, and the families just brought a little feast to share on the floor of our house. We again felt so blessed at their love and acceptance.



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