Latter-day Saint Youth Serve French Polynesian Communities

Latter-day Saint Youth Serve French Polynesian Communities

Putting faith into action for the benefit of others

News Story

More than 700 youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently participated in service projects that included painting the municipal building and the S.O.S. Children’s Village in the community of Papara, Tahiti.


The youth, who were between the ages of 14 and 18, were a part of the “Jeunes Soyez Forts” youth conference, which was held at the Lycée Polyvalent de Papara during the first two weeks of July.

14 and 15 year-old youth attended the first session, July 3-8, and youth aged 16 to 18 participated in the second session, July 10-15.

The goal of JSF, or “For the Strength of Youth (FSY),” as it is referred to in English-speaking countries of the South Pacific, is to help youth strengthen their commitment to live the gospel of Jesus Christ by providing inspiring learning opportunities and wholesome social experiences.

Watch a video about the youth conference:


According to Marc Valenza, JSF logistical coordinator, the multiple service projects included painting exterior walls and doors at the high school were the conference was held. The youth also cleaned bathrooms, offices and classrooms at the S.O.S. Children’s Village, which provides care, education, and health services for at-risk children and families.

In addition, the young women designed and sewed stuffed animals and cuddly toys for the “Petits Dodos” Association, which helps children suffering from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease.


At the Papara villages offices, youth prepped and painted exterior trim, garden flower boxes, and exterior walls as well as interior meeting and community rooms. Paint and materials were donated by the village, Valenza said.

In addition to the service projects, the youth participated in a talent show, religious instruction, a dance, and other evening activities that included viewing a special video message from Latter-day Saint apostle Elder Neil L. Andersen and the Church's Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé.

“The greatest success of the conference was to see the growth in the faith of the youth,” said Gilbert Tunutu, JSF Tahiti co-director.

Speakers at the conference included Elder Benjamin T. Sinjoux, an Area Seventy who oversees the Church in French Polynesia.

The theme of the conference was taken from James 1:5-6 and encouraged the youth to draw closer to God through prayer.

“I hope you will take the opportunity to open your mind and to open your heart to search the will of our Heavenly Father for you,” Elder Sinjoux counselled the youth. “If you are sincere, if you have a real intent to know the will of Heavenly Father, the Holy Ghost will reveal His will to you.”

The conference was staffed by nearly 100 young adult and adult volunteers who served as camp counsellors and provided services that included registration, security, food preparation, maintenance, communications, spiritual instruction, and entertainment support.

Similar youth conferences take place in other parts of the South Pacific, and worldwide.

Elder Steven Thomsen and Sister Dorie Thomsen. 

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.