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With stunning blue ocean lagoons nestled below the dense greenery of the forests crawling up the volcanic hills of the islands scattered across the South Pacific, French Polynesia provides a warm and inviting tourist destination. But even for tourists, it’s not just the beautiful scenery that leaves an impression.
“We’re blessed with abundance from nature both on land and in the ocean,” said Manea Tuahu, a Tahitian member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “But more than the beauty of nature, it is the kindness, warmth and generosity of the people who live here that visitors remember the most.”
Much like other Pacific Islanders from Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand, the people of French Polynesia are a peaceful and believing people, Tuahu said.
“They are a people of faith,” he said, adding, “I believe it is not coincidence that we were blessed to receive the message of the restored gospel very early on in the history of the Church.”
In a simple yet powerful way, members in French Polynesia act on faith, Tuahu said. “They need little to be happy. They are humble and generous, and they love the Lord and the leaders of the Church.”
A force for good
When missionaries, sent by the Prophet Joseph Smith, first landed on the island of Tubuai 175 years ago in April 1844, they established the first non-English speaking mission of the Church. Three months later, on July 28, 1844, a branch was established on Tubuai, marking the first official congregation of the Church in French Polynesia.
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