News Story

Young People in French Polynesia ‘Come and Help’ in their Community

Volunteer groups from three islands find creative ways to help

Children and youth in French Polynesia did not hesitate to respond to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Pacific Area Presidency's call to “Come and Help” in recent weeks.

The children of the Faatahi Ward (congregation) on the island of Bora Bora gave treats and words of gratitude to people who work on the island in a number of occupations.

Appointments were made and for two days the children went to meet the garbage collectors and the mechanics of the community, the medical staff from the island’s health centre, firefighters, police officers, and presenters at Radio Bora Bora. They decided to prepare traditional ‘uto’ cakes, made with coconut.

The children paid tribute to and thanked the workers they met, for their valued efforts in the community. They also invited each department to express their gratitude to each other and left them with a heart-filled poster as a reminder to continue doing so.

"We feel humbled at the beauty of your gesture and were not prepared for the emotional impact you made on us," declared Hinano Mai, during the visit to the fire station.

In addition, they visited the mayor of the community, Tavana Gaston Tong-Sang, who is also the President of the Parliament of French Polynesia.

“As the mayor, it is heartwarming to receive your words of thanks. But I think I am the one who owes you. So, I want to say: Thank you to you, thank you to your leaders, and thank you to the Church because you do so much for the people of Bora Bora."

Also on the island of Bora Bora, three groups of young people from the Faanui ward got together during their school holidays to give some community service.

The young women cleared the large property of an isolated family who is struggling to get by.

One of the volunteers was Teora Mahatia, who said, “It was my birthday but I was happy to help.”

She added, “I thought of the words of one of our church leaders, Elder David S. Baxter, who really inspired me when he said: ‘As we cultivate our faith, grow through service, and stay constant and true come what may, so we feel the Saviour’s love.’”

The young men organized a free carwash at the chapel for their part of the project. Some were holding signs along the roadside while the car cleaning crew was busy washing. One participant said, “Even though we are on school holidays, we haven't been to the beach today because we know we are blessed when we serve.”

Finally, the Latter-day Saint young adults of Faanui planted taro for families in need for the new season.

Work in the taro fields is difficult but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the young adults. They were delighted to share the joy of service, a way for them to show their commitment to God.

On the island of Tahiti, the young men of the Temarua ward collected fruits and vegetables and prepared baskets of local products for families going through difficult times due to the pandemic.

The project took place over several days because each young person had to first learn how to weave the baskets with coconut palms.

The young women and men in the Vairai Ward in Faa’a offered a meal to the garbage collectors of their township. They prepared the food themselves and waited for the garbage truck to pass to meet the “ripers” (garbage collectors).

“I'm glad I was able to cook a meal to give to our ripers and say thank you to them,” said Mihaera Lacour. “What we have offered is nothing compared to what they do every day to keep our city clean.”

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