Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepe Sailele Malielegaoi has invited the Scientology Volunteer Ministers to return to his island nation to continue instruction In disaster response skills and L. Ron Hubbard’s administrative tools and Study Technology.
The Scientology Volunteer Ministers’ relationship with the people of Samoa began in October 2007 when a Goodwill Tour of the South Pacific Islands first arrived in the capital city of Apia. After a personal meeting with the Volunteer Ministers (VMs) at that time, Samoan Prime Minister Malielegaoi issued an official letter of endorsement for their program. It reads in part:
By this letter, I am hereby requesting every Government Official and in fact any citizen of Samoa to give support to facilitate your activities which can only serve to benefit the people of Samoa.
The Volunteer Ministers erected their now famous yellow tents outside the main government complex in Apia. Speaking at the grand opening, the Prime Minister declared the official launch of “Something Can Be Done About It Month,” the Volunteer Minister motto, throughout the entire nation.
The Samoan police force and the firefighters immediately began Disaster Response Specialist courses and the Minister for Education endorsed VM seminars on the technology of study to be delivered in Samoan schools.
Demand grew to learn about Scientology “assists”—spiritual first-aid that can ease injury, shock and trauma—as word spread about their effectiveness in relieving stress and helping the body to heal faster. Nurses in village hospitals were among those requesting instruction in how to deliver assists. Fast forward to September 29, 2009, when a devastating 8.3 magnitude earthquake in the South Pacific, sent a tsunami slamming into land. In less than one minute, villages in its path were flattened and some literally washed off the map.
Volunteer Ministers from Australia and New Zealand responded immediately, teaming up with many of the same officials they had trained two years earlier. The VMs rapidly mobilized to help with search and rescue and cleanup, in addition to providing Scientology assists to speed the process of mental and physical healing.
As news went out over television and radio that the VMs were back, Samoans who remembered the yellow shirts from their 2007 tour of duty contacted them for assistance and training. Soon the Volunteer Ministers were traveling house-to-house and into hospitals and churches to give assists and teach others the simple but powerful procedure.
When VMs attended a Christian church service in the village of Lalomanu, the minister spoke for the many who had received help from the Volunteer Ministers: “I thank you wholeheartedly for the help you gave me with the assist. It lightened my head and my body,” he said from the pulpit. He told the congregation that if anyone else needed help from the VMs, they had only to ask.
More than 10,000 individuals in Samoa received help from the Volunteer Ministers. The VM motto of “Something Can Be Done About It” resonates deeply with the Samoan people, and both government officials and private citizens are now planning the establishment of a permanent presence for the Volunteer Ministers program in their country.