News Release

Construction to Begin on ‘Lighthouse of Peace and Joy’ in French Polynesia

New stake centre in Tahiti will be built on prominent site near Pape'ete

Ground was broken on Friday 26 November for a new Church building on a beautiful site in the community of Mahina not far from the capital Pape'ete in French Polynesia. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will construct a new building for members and friends of the Church in Mahina on a historic site called Tahara’a, which overlooks the Matavai Bay where European explorers first landed in Tahiti in 1767.

The event was led by Elder K. Brett Nattress, a member of the Pacific Area Presidency, who traveled from New Zealand to attend. “It is a real privilege to be here in Tahiti for this ceremony especially at such a magnificent site.”   

In his remarks, he talked about the need for this new building. “Every groundbreaking ceremony is a sign that the Church is growing in the Pacific."

The purpose for constructing Church buildings, he said, “is more about building our hearts than it is about building bricks and mortar.”  

“Each Sunday when we come to church we partake of the sacrament in remembrance of Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God. The sacrament reminds us to be more kind as parents, that we will be better mothers and fathers and better neighbours.”

Elder Nattress then offered a dedicatory prayer and called upon the blessings of God to be with those who will worship there in the years to come.

Elder K Brett Nattress, through an interpreter, spoke and offered a dedicatory prayer at the Mahina Stake Center groundbreaking. French Polynesia, November 20212021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

He blessed the site not only to become a place of protection and refuge, but above all, to be a beacon of peace and joy for the whole community, in a parallel to the magnificent 150 year old lighthouse at Point Venus just a short way down the coast, also in the community of Mahina. 

Elder Nattress also asked for a blessing upon the families: “We pray for our families, that they will find refuge, and respite, as well as spiritual strength. That they will find joy as they go forth to serve their families, friends and all of God’s children.”

He pleaded with God for the protection of the rising generation of young people. “We pray that they will build their foundation in Jesus Christ, that when the storms of life come, that they will be steadfast and immovable in their faith.”

He concluded by inviting everyone to commit their life and time to the Saviour: “We dedicate our time to serve one another, to be better neighbours, to be better friends, and to be more faithful in living according to the word of our Heavenly Father.”

Elder Nattress was joined by his wife Sister Shawna Nattress, and Elder Frédéric T. Riemer, Area Seventy for French Polynesia. Also attending was Thierry Hunter, president of the Papeete Tahiti Temple, and his wife Christine Hunter, along with other Church leaders.

This will be the 54th building for the church in French Polynesia.

Elder Frederic T Riemer (left) and K Brett Nattress (centre) talk with Damas Teuira (right), the mayor of Mahina at the Mahina Stake Centre groundbreaking event. French Polynesia, 2021 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The mayors of Mahina and Hitiaa o te Râ also took part, along with representatives of the construction companies who will do the work there.

Tavana (mayor) Henri Flohr from the Municipality of Hitiaa o te ra declared: “I congratulate the Church for the construction of this new building. It will be another key place where the children of God can learn the gospel, prepare themselves to meet God after this life and become better citizens in the community.”

“I left an important meeting with the government because I wanted to be part of this groundbreaking,” said Tavana Damas Teuira from Mahina.

“This is the perfect place to build the stake centre. It will tie our community together and help it become a better place to live for all the people of our city.”

Elder Riemer invited all to come and see: “A stake centre is also a house of the Lord. They are places built to unify and perfect the members who live within its limits. They are places of protection and refuge from visible and invisible enemies. They become magnificent emblems for the world to see. They are banners and a rallying sign for the nations. A place where members can gather, families can reunite along with friends and communities.”

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