3 donations in the Pacific area promote reading, safety and health

Books, specialized rescue equipment and health supplies will help French Polynesia and Tonga

Seeking to help fill needs in its Pacific Area, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently made three humanitarian donations in French Polynesia and Tonga.

Children’s books will help the only library on one island, specialized rescue equipment will support rescue workers after flooding events, and a car and other supplies for health authorities will increase access to health services.

Church supports children’s learning with book donation in Moorea, French Polynesia

The small island of Moorea in French Polynesia only has one library — Bibliotheque de Moorea. Two librarians work to support reading in seven schools and take the library’s mobile unit out to neighborhoods to reach isolated children, youth and families.

The library recently received an upgrade and a donation of books from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Frédéric T. Riemer, Area Seventy, and Manea L. Tuahu with the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services attended the handover ceremony.

Elder Frédéric T. Riemer, Area Seventy, left, and Manea L. Tuahu, Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services manager, inside the Moorea Bibliobus, a mobile unit which goes out to neighborhoods in Moorea, French Polynesia, in October 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

According to a release from the Church’s Pacific Newsroom, Elder Riemer commended the actions of the library associates to “give [children] the means to prepare for their future.”

He said, “You are preparing men and women of tomorrow, the fathers and mothers of tomorrow, the leaders of tomorrow.”

Tuahu said he was lucky to have had access to books since he was very young. He said his mother gave him a love of reading from his childhood. Now he hopes other children will have the opportunity to grow a love for books and for learning. 

“Education is essential for all of God’s children,” he said.

Monique Tufariua, president of the Association Faa Ruperupe Library, expressed thanks for the donation and was looking forward to purchasing books and making the library a more comfortable space for young learners.

Church donates equipment in French Polynesia to help rescuers save lives after flooding 

The islands of French Polynesia face a frequent risk of flooding. Floods can be the most devastating disasters in terms of losses of life and property. 

Heavy rains in January 2017, for example, became a major event, impacted hundreds of people, destroying homes and knocking out power. Then last July, large sea swells battered Tahiti and caused flooding on the western coastal regions. 

A donation from the Church to the Polynesian Federation of Civil Protection will increase emergency preparedness in communities across the islands of French Polynesia, reported Pacific Newsroom.

Sam Roscol, Polynesian Federation of Civil Protection project chair, and Manea L. Tuahu, Church Welfare and Self-Reliance manager, inspect rescue equipment donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, French Polynesia, in October 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church donated specialized rescue equipment, meaning rescuers can receive professional water rescue training to prepare for future emergency operations.

Tuahu was also involved in this donation, saying, “Church leaders have repeatedly invited us to be prepared, and we are happy to do so, by working hand in hand with organizations in the community, such as the FPPC to help relieve distress and go to the rescue of our friends and neighbors, when the time comes.”

Selected Latter-day Saints will join the team of volunteer rescuers and will receive first-responder training through FPPC, said the Newsroom report.

“It is great to work with an organization that shares a common goal, to help people be better prepared to face temporal difficulties,” said Tuahu.

Church donation in Tonga improves access to health services

The Church donated a vehicle, a new ramp, handrails, and an upcoming renovation to Tonga Health Promotion Foundation in a handover ceremony on Oct. 27.

The new equipment will help improve Tongans’ access to health services.

Attending the event was Elder K. Brett Nattress, president of the Church’s Pacific Area and his wife, Sister Shawna Nattress; Elder Sione Tuione, Area Seventy; and Tonga Health representatives.

Pictured left to right: ‘Ofeina Filimoehala, CEO of Tonga Health; Elder K. Brett Nattress, General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s Pacific Area; ‘Veivosa Taka, Tonga Health board member, Elder Sione Tuione, Area Seventy, celebrate the handover of a van donated to Tonga Health Promotion Foundation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 27 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Nattress made the presentation to Tonga Health CEO ‘Ofeina Filimoehala, thanking her for the work that the organization does to help people enjoy healthier lives, reported the Church’s Pacific Newsroom.

He explained that members of the Church are always looking for opportunities to serve in their communities.

“When [we] are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God,” Elder Nattress said, referring to Mosiah 2:17.

Filimoehala expressed gratitude for the assistance, saying that the donation will be “treasure[d] in the hearts of the people.”

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