News Story

National Day of Fasting Gets Wide Support in French Polynesia

People of many faiths join together to pray and fast for relief from pandemic

The President of French Polynesia, Édouard Fritch, recently invited citizens to join together in a day of fasting and prayer to seek God’s help as the country faces the many challenges of COVID-19. 

The response was profound, with people of many faiths participating from their homes during the current pandemic-related lockdown.

Elder Frederic Riemer, Area Seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in French Polynesia, called upon everyone in the country to take part. "Let us continue to show solidarity, to give what we can, to help where we can, and to serve whenever the need arises," he said.

He also called upon everyone to “share the peace of Christ” to encourage unity and faith across the country.

He further stated: "We welcomed the opportunity offered…to reconnect with God, our Creator, with this weekend of enriching spiritual experiences."

Members are asked to go without food and drink for two consecutive meals, or approximately 24 hours, usually on the first Sunday of every month. According to some who took part in the fast, joining with neighbours and friends of other faiths during the special national fasting day gave added purpose to this important part of their worship.

Tepurotu Mariteragi, from Paea, said: “It was a wonderful experience for our little family. Early that morning, we knelt together in prayer and poured out our souls to the Lord in favour of families who have lost a loved one, in favour of our fenua (country) and our people. We spent the day talking about gospel ideas and reading the scriptures.”

She continued, “As we closed our fast, we could feel this strength and union of all the families and individuals who took part in the fast. I am so grateful for this chance to do this together as a country."

Church members shared their experiences with fasting on social media and received many questions about how to fast from others that resulted in positive exchanges and shared spiritual experiences. 

Vairea Terai Fabre from Moorea Island eating with her family after fasting for the first time. French Polynesia, September 20212021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Vairea Terai Fabre, from Moorea and from another faith tradition, was invited by a family member to take part. “This is the first time we have fasted and we were happy because we were able to do it. What an experience!"

At the conclusion of the event, Elder Riemer thanked everyone who participated, with a promise: “God loves all His children and I know that God has heard our pleas and will intervene in due course. His promise is very clear: Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted,”(Doctrine & Covenants 98:2).



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