News Story

New Caledonian Teenagers Build their Faith During Youth Conference

Young Latter-day Saints learn the value of tradition and respect on remote island

Nearly 90 young people from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Caledonia spent a week of sharing their faith and values on Lifou Island, about 175 kilometres from the capital in Noumea.

The entire group worked together to build a typical village hut following local Kanak culture. The hut’s structure is deeply symbolic as it represents tribal organization. 

For example, the centre post represents the chief of the tribe and also represents the link between heaven and earth. It is also a strong symbol of respect and is very important in local communities. Georgie Guidi, president of the Noumea New Caledonia Stake of the Church, attended the conference along with the young people. 

“This activity was based on Melanesian culture with a mix of tradition, respect, spirituality, service and Christian values. We also had some great water activities, lots of good emotions along with plenty of wind and rain,” he said. 

“There were many beautiful experiences for our young people and their leaders.” 

Paul Hnailolo is a Deacon in the Protestant Church whose group was there also. “I was very impressed with the strong atmosphere of the conference and the spirit and feelings that the young people manifested,” he said.

President Guidi with the youth and leaders during a youth conference on Lifou Island, New Caledonia. April 20222022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Angelo, a young man who attended the youth gathering, said: "I really enjoyed this conference. It was the first one for me. We were studying the ‘Come Follow Me’ curriculum every morning after some ‘muscle awakening.’ It was nice to feel the Spirit so early in the morning."

Jean-Olivier Smatti, a youth leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said: "This week was a miracle. We had 86 young men and women including 15 who are investigating our church. We had passport problems and even a tornado but we know that our stay on Lifou was an incredible tool for missionary work. The locals were impressed by our youth and they were so pleased to meet them." 

The conference finished with a spiritual gathering on Sunday evening with Elder Frederic Riemer, Area Seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking to the group.

He said he was impressed by the spirit of the meeting. He encouraged everyone in attendance to hold on to this spiritual enthusiasm and to share it.

"The Lord will help you to stay on the path. Don't give up. He will lead you if you ask him to," Elder Riemer said. 

Note: A stake is a group of congregations.

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