Dear Family & Friends: We are having so many new and exciting adventures to tell you about. We get up around 5:45am and go as fast as we can until bedtime, learning our new responsibilities and having a peek at this BEAUTIFUL country. We hope in this blog we can express how blessed we are to testify of Jesus Christ and serve Him in this amazing corner of the world! HAERE MAI* to our blog, we're glad you are visiting us!.....(*This means 'WELCOME' in the Maori language)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

French Polynesian Youth Prepare for a Bright Future

French Polynesian Youth are Preparing for a Bright Future

Sister Yesta Huea’s seminary students foresee a bright future before them because they know where they are going and how they will get there.  As part of a royal generation, they are preparing to become leaders of the future by the choices they are making now and the goals they are setting.  

In a world where disregard and disrespect for religious and moral values is growing, and enticements toward forbidden paths are tempting and popular, these teenagers from the Punavai Nui Ward, Punaauia Stake in French Polynesia, do not want to take detours that will detract them from their goals. 

“To be a young man or young woman, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints is not easy”, according to Sister Huea.  “They are exposed to all of the ills of the world and they live in enemy territory.  It is true that French Polynesia is a beautiful country, but temptations here are no less virulent.  Young people must learn to live surrounded by everything that would make them fall if they don’t cling to the scriptures and to our Heavenly Father’s gospel. If they follow the recommendations from the prophets and their loving leaders, they will live more peacefully and will be able to face their enemies without harm.”

Elder William H. Bennett gave counsel in 1975 that is just as relevant today.  He said, “Youth is the time to build a strong physical, mental, moral, and spiritual base, to prepare for missionary service and temple marriage, to establish challenging goals, and to experience the satisfaction that comes from worthy achievement.” (A Time to Prepare, Ensign-May,1975)  

And Sister Huea’s students are doing just that.  They are confident that by living Church standards and choosing worthy activities and goals, they will grow closer to their Savior, and this will bring them the greatest happiness they can find on earth and after. According to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Our happiness will come in living our lives the right way for the right reasons – reasons that are eternal, reasons that matter in this life and in the next.” (We want the Best for You, New Era-Jan, 2010)

Although their goals are varied, all agree with Elder Bennett that preparing to serve missions and being married in the temple take top priority.  They know that to be worthy to serve a mission and to receive the blessings of the temple requires both determination and a willingness to set their standards high.  They must have courage to avoid many of the worldly activities and self destructive behaviors that beset so many young people today.

Here are some of their ideas about how they plan to stay on track and reach their goals:

1.     Set smaller goals to help prepare for the big goals.
  “To go to the temple, I first set some goals such as obtaining my Young Womanhood Recognition award…”  “Seminary prepares me to go to the temple by helping me make good choices in life so that I can be worthy to enter the House of the Lord.”  I want to graduate from seminary and institute, and especially, cling to the Lord.”  -- Jennifer Clark

“Seminary really prepares me to serve a good mission, thanks to the scripture mastery program.  I will be strong spiritually.” – Raymond Teahuotoga

2.      Remembering why the goal is important will help to keep on track.
Kahealani says that going to the temple is important to her, “ To converse with the Lord to tell him that I am faithful, receive the promised blessings and his spirit to accompany me throughout my life.” – Kahealani Heuea
Tinaya says going to the temple is important to her “because we can be with our family forever and I want to be sealed to my family with my brothers and sisters for eternity.” --  Tinaya Mau

3.      Live the Church standards and be worthy to serve a mission and go to the temple now.
“I try my best to respect the standards, choose good friends and go to church for Sunday services and other activities.  I try not to criticize my leaders.  I pay my tithing, often bear my testimony and strive to fast.” – Kahealani Heuea

4.      Learn and study about the goal.
“To prepare for the temple”, says Raymond, “I’m learning spiritual and temporal things.  I must know about the sacred ordinances in the temple, like baptism for the dead for example….” –Raymond Teahuotoga

In preparing to serve a mission, Kahealani says, “I learn my scripture masteries by heart in order to be ready when I teach others.  I look up to the full time missionaries and I ask them questions.  I realize it is important and I gain more knowledge about the ancient prophets’ stories.  I try to pay more attention to the leaders’ messages and most of all I pray personally for divine help.” – Kahealani Heuea

5.      Pray and stay close to the spirit.
“I can pay close attention to the whisperings of the Spirit.  It strengthens my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in God the Father.” – Kane Tuhoe-Touatini

“I pray a lot and I learn as much as I can to be able to speak about our Heavenly Father to others without doubting.” -- Tinaya Mau

6.      Attend seminary.
“Seminary helps me to become spiritually strong and prepared.” –Blaise Teahuotoga

“Seminary allows me….to have my spiritual side nurtured every week so I do not stray from my goal of getting married in the temple.  Seminary gives me the will to go to the temple and therefore do everything necessary to prepare myself.” – Kahealani Heuea

7.      Study the scriptures.
According to Sister Heuea, “Young Polynesian seminary students are not, by custom, voracious readers or even simple readers.  Our people have lived by oral traditions, hence their difficulty in reading the scriptures.  But thanks to the teachings and encouragements of those around them, many of these young people end up reading the scriptures and appreciating their content”

Kane is preparing to go on a mission “By learning the scripture masteries, which strengthen my testimony of my Heavenly Father.” – Kane Tuhoe-Touatini

“Seminary helps me as it requires that I study the scriptures, which is useful to preach the gospel.  It is so much better when we know what we’re talking about.” --  Jennifer Clark

8.      Stay close to family and leaders.
Family is important to Raymond.  “It is important to go to the temple because we find there our heavenly Father in a family unit.  I am sealed to my parents with my siblings and I know we can inherit eternal life as a family.” – Raymond Teahuotoga

“I attend seminary and follow my leaders’ instructions and my parents’ teachings.” – Kane Tuhoe-Touantini

Although Sister Heuea is concerned for her students because of the challenges they must bear at this age, she admires them for the choices they are making and for their courage to set high standards and goals.  She says, “They have all my sympathy and my love…”

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