Early in 2020, as the pandemic began to arrive in French Polynesia, both government and Church leaders asked congregations to discontinue in-person meetings.
Wards were encouraged to provide support for families and individuals so people could continue learning and living the gospel at home.
In September, the First Presidency updated guidelines to help Church leaders and members return to worship and resume activities safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Faanui Ward, of the Bora Bora Tahiti Stake, immediately responded to this recommendation to resume activities for children and youth on Saturday, 19 September. The activities were organised by age group.
The Primary put together a daylong activity that followed the Churchwide gospel study curriculum, Come, Follow Me.
Mahealani Tetuanui, a leader in the children’s organisation, said, “After six months at home, we wanted to touch on everything that the children have learned about the Book of Mormon since the beginning of the year, whether in Primary or in their homes.”
The activity was called “Walk for Your Faith” and was a two-kilometer hike in Faanui. On their route, each group had to find messages, complete challenges, and answer 20 questions.
Cinthias Shan, Primary president said: “The children really enjoyed being together after such a long time without interaction. And regarding the Book of Mormon, they realized that it was important to have it along the way to solve their problems at every stage of the big race, but also in everyday life.”
The Young Women program allowed the youth council to decide what they wanted to do, and Anahei Chung, the class president, proposed: “We decided to reach to all members of our group and so invited all of our young women to prepare pizzas and pies and then take them to less active members.”
Tetinia Teriirere, Young Women president, said: “Our goal was three pizzas and three pies but in the end we made 12 pizzas and seven pies as the enthusiasm of the young women was infectious.” After enjoying some pizzas and pies that day, each young woman also received either a pizza or a pie to take home. Some of them chose to share what they received.
Tetinia continued, “One of them offered her pizza to the missionary sisters, others gave them to young women in less-active families. They were so happy to interact again, and it was really good to meet again and share with others.”
The Young Men organization took advantage of this return to activities to strengthen ties within the group. The invitation was extended to all young men to a barbecue to celebrate returning to holding activities as well as the birthdays of the young people from March to September.
For Bishop Tom Teriirere, “the meeting was important to reconnect with the young men in a friendly manner, and to reflect together on what to do to help the youth stay active and closer to the Lord.”