News Story

Young Women Make a Positive Difference on Remote Pacific Atoll

French Polynesia is full of many beautiful islands including the Tuamotu archipelago. Among these islets is Makemo, the third largest atoll in the archipelago. 

Over recent months, two young women ─ members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living on Makemo ─ responded to Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon's invitation to "intentionally shine our light so others may see."


After the difficult period of lockdown and with the pandemic still ongoing, 12-year-old Heimiri Tupahuruhuru Nauta and 13-year-old Vaikimiora Pavau, decided to combine their efforts in actions of service and kindness.  

At the invitation of Bonnie H. Cordon to "to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be compassionately aware of those around us,” they have chosen to prepare and offer sweet treats to all 55 matahiapo (elderly residents) on their island. 

They recounted, “With the help of our Young Women leaders, we baked and prepared 150 delicious small cakes. Then, while following COVID-19 precautions and social distancing, we called on the 55 matahiapos, including six members of the Church, to offer them this little present." 

The number of cakes (150) is significant for the youth as it refers to this year’s 150th anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Young Women organisation.

During their visit to each family, the matahiapo shared some memories of their youth.

Heimiri said, “It was great chatting with them. We are grateful for the ancestral knowledge that the matahiapo have been able to preserve and pass on to the future generations." 

With social distancing imposed, this action soothed and lifted the hearts of grannies and grandpas, who invited the young women to come back to see them on other occasions.  

For their second project, Vaikimiora and Heimiri decided to collect 150 shells to make a shell project. They invited one of their friends, who is not a member of the Church, to participate in this art project.  

Vaikimiora shared, “Together with our friend and our leaders, we organized a trip to the beach to collect the seashells that will be used for the art piece. Our time together was a blast!"

During the project, the girls’ friend had the opportunity to ask the young women president about Church values ​​and principles. She showed a great interest in the youth personal development program

Vaikimiora is delighted with the return of Church activities following COVID restrictions.

“Thanks to these projects, we have strengthened our friendship between ourselves and with our leaders. This special relationship has increased my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because, above all, we have experienced joy in serving others." 

Even in their remote and tiny atoll of Makemo, these youth are happily responding to Bonnie H. Cordon’s invitation in the Church’s April general conference, to “look and pray for opportunities to let your light shine that others may see the way to Jesus Christ.” 

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