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Polynesian Women Go Online to Connect, Share Experiences, and Grow Faith

In August 2014, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke at Brigham Young University on the subject of modern communication and media tools.

He said: “Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work.”

Since Elder Bednar gave that address and extended that invitation, many Latter-day Saints in the Pacific Area have joined others around the world in finding ways, online, to connect with others, share experiences, discuss topical subjects, and build faith in God and Jesus Christ.

Some use this hashtag — #sharegoodness — as they seek to do these things.

One such person is New Zealand woman of Tuvaluan heritage, Kaveinga Anilli Lisati.

Earlier this year she decided to create a blog and Facebook group especially for Polynesian Latter-day Saint women living around the world.

Kaveinga says the blog and group are online social platforms “for our Pasifika sisters to voice their opinions, share testimonies and post thought-provoking questions to spark and/or facilitate discussions and forums. The stories featured on the blog are shared on the group as well. In addition, the group has created opportunities for our sisters to reach out to ‘the one.’”

Just over a month old, Kaveinga says the blog has been received very well by Latter-day Saint Polynesian women in New Zealand and overseas.

“If you visit the group,” she says, “we have beautiful, intelligent and spiritual Pasifika sisters literally from all over the world. It’s humbling to see sisters respond to a sister’s question or post, uplift each other and find inspiration from the stories featured on the blog.”

Online conversations are based on “personal and daily challenges, issues we often neglect, don’t necessarily acknowledge or don’t know how to deal with as Polynesian women of the LDS faith,” she says.

Discussions so far have been held on a variety of topics including ways to prevent abuse and bullying; and how to encourage family members to choose to be virtuous and to nurture an identity based on divine self-worth.

Some of the comments from participants include:

“I am so blessed to be part of this [group]. It feels really good to be surrounded by good, faithful, beautiful and courageous relief society sisters. I'm forever grateful for the messages you've all shared.”

“Glad to be part of a group that strives to encourage and support Pacific women without judgement or guile. Knowing that each circumstance is different as well as opinions, I'm grateful for our Pacific background that links us together. I respect your thoughts and opinions girls. Thanks for allowing me to share mine.”

“I never knew what this group was about, but thanks for including me in it. There are so many wonderful sisters in this group that have touched my life and it's good to see you continuing strong and striving to live life fully. Imua and God Bless.”

“Loving this page and the opportunity to share thoughts with my strong LDS Pacific sisters.”

“I look forward to reading posts and learning from other Polynesian sisters. However I am more grateful for the fact that this page feels like a safe place to be.”

“I found some of the answers to my problems here and it's helping me a lot with my decision making daily. So real and so full of inspiring thoughts and stories. Love it!!!”

“I feel at this time that I need to start 'sharing' pearls, that I preciously hold onto and using the Internet and forums like this to do it. I feel the push from the apostles and prophets more so now to SPEAK up and using social media for what is right and not stand idly by.”

“Thank you for creating this resource that we as sisters can use to strengthen and help one another.”

Kaveinga says her hopes for the blog are “to strengthen the reader’s personal commitment to Jesus Christ; bring LDS sisters of Polynesian descent together; to share, learn, lift, be edified and inspired from each other’s life experiences and insights of the gospel.”

She also hopes to provide “a fun way to network and reunite with Polynesian sisters across the globe, and to reach out to the ‘one’ every day.”

While the Pacific LDS Women blog and Facebook group are not official sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kaveinga says those visiting and participating online are striving to have uplifting and helpful conversations based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and modern-day prophets and apostles.

The Church does not endorse individual member's or groups' blogs, pages or groups. Pacific Mormon Newsroom is pointing to this one as an example of Mormons striving to build and share their faith.

Other examples include a Facebook page for Auckland young adults, another for Church members in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty, and Mormon Women Stand.

The Church maintains a number of official websites, including: Mormon.org, LDS.org, MormonNewsroom.org, Mormon Channel, FamilySearch.org and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir YouTube channel.

Read or view Elder Bednar’s talk “To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood.”

Read a Mormon Newsroom article titled, “Guidelines and helps for Latter-day Saints participating in online conversations about the Church.”

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