News Release

Elder and Sister Nattress Meet with President and First Lady of French Polynesia

They discuss the central role of faith in Jesus Christ in healing and strengthening hearts and homes

Elder K. Brett Nattress of the Seventy, and First Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accompanied by his wife, Sister Shawna Nattress, met with President Édouard Fritch, leader of the government in French Polynesia, on Wednesday 1 December in Papeete.

President Fritch was accompanied by his wife, Evangeline Lehartel, and senior government advisers.

Other guests included Elder Frederic Riemer, an Area Seventy (regional leader) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who lives in Papeete.

The leaders reminisced about President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson’s visit to French Polynesia in May 2019.

President Fritch observed that the gift Elder and Sister Nattress presented to him ─ a statuette featuring a depiction of the Saviour embracing children ─ would sit beautifully next to a family-themed statuette President and Sister Nelson gave him.

That earlier gift, President Fritch calls “a holy family,” because “family is everything.”

Speaking of the statuette depicting the Saviour with children, Elder Nattress said, “We live in a world where our children are faced with trials and uncertainty. During these times, the Saviour’s reassuring arms are extended to encircle His children to provide them with peace, love and protection.”

Elder K Brett Nattress and Sister Shawna Nattress met with President Edouard Fritch and First Lady Evangeline Lehartel during their visit to French Polynesia. December 2021Photo courtesy of the Presidency of French Polynesia

“God is bountiful with us, the people of French Polynesia,” President Fritch said. “But we forget that He is with us, we forget that He is always there and we do not plead with Him enough. I pray to God that we will keep working together to spread unity among our people.”

He continued: “Societies are crumbling away and we need to work at the root of the evil. We should focus on raising a sound youth. Our youth are remarkable. We should work in a way that our youth are the disciples of a sound way of life. We need to have more youth talking to other youth using peer education. We do not know how to do it, but churches know how. I would like to counsel with all the religions and work together to put the families on the right track.”

Elder Nattress referenced the teaching of President Russell M. Nelson for those who are experiencing great trials: “We must remember two things ─ our identity and our purpose.”

He added, “The world is full of complex challenges and often we look for complex solutions. The simple solution that provides strength and stability during these uncertain times, is to increase our faith in Jesus Christ and to follow Him. This helps us to move forward with hope, courage and joy.”

“It is important to remember that we are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, and that we have an eternal purpose. We are all brothers and sisters. We need to love and serve one another. As we do so, we serve God.”

The leaders discussed that as the pandemic has been ongoing, President Fritch has frequently sought the counsel and support of the leaders of churches, to ensure that wisdom is shared, and efforts can be united in tackling the coronavirus and its variants.

Elder Nattress thanked President Fritch for being inclusive, welcoming and collaborative, and he offered that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and its members, wish to be good citizens, and to be part of the solutions to the problems faced by the country and by many families and individuals.

President Fritch said that he believes in the separation of government and religions, but welcomes opportunities to work together, sharing resources and “finding the best way, together, to build better adults, better families and a better society.”

Additional Resources

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