The Newsroom Blog

Mormon Man Carves out a Niche for Him and His Family

As a young man, Kapoa Tiaou served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Caledonia which then was part of the Suva, Fiji Mission.

Upon completion of his service, he found a job as a roofer, married and started a family in New Caledonia.

Although his job provided for him and his family, he longed to do something else with his hands—something that would bring joy to him and to others.

Being a man of great faith, he prayed and fasted for a gift that would fulfill this desire and dreams. His strong belief in a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to be successful, drove him in his prayers of faith.

One day as he was unloading a truck full of roofing materials at the local dump, he spied two pieces of finished wood laying in the rubbish. He picked them up, threw them in his truck and took them home.

Having no experience in any kind of wood working, he purchased carpenter tools and started to test his skills. He was surprised that he was good – even with the wrong tools. He was amazed that he could carve a replica of his own hand that could be used as a lamp base.



An amazing course of events were about to play out in Kapoa’s life.

The week following his first attempt at carving, he met an old friend who lamented to Kapoa that he had just failed an exam. When questioned what kind of exam he had failed his friend responded, “I have failed my carving exam.” The exam required him to make a replica of a coin with an image of a bird. He had failed because the eyes on the bird were wrong. Poor eyesight had kept him from receiving a certificate in carving.

“Where did you learn to carve?” was the next question posed by Kapoa.

Kapoa was referred to the school by his friend. He passed an introduction exam and 11 months later would graduate with a certificate in carving.

His construction boss was surprised to have Kapoa quit his job and questioned, “Are you sure?” “I’ve never been more sure about anything!” he explained.

He went to work carving for someone in the souvenir and tourist trade industry.

Kapoa was about to face the biggest challenge in his life to this point. Shortly after giving birth to their third child, his wife passed away leaving him with a 3-year old, a 2-year old and a 1- month old baby.

He found himself in a very dark place of questions and sorrow.

Once again, he turned in faith to the source of all his blessings. Help came in an unexpected way.

Two sister missionaries knocked at his door and were helpful with his children and with advice. One sister told him, “If you are filled with dark clouds, there is no room for the light of Christ.” This advice resonated with Kapoa and he started his climb out of the dark place he was in.

Upon completion of her mission, one of the sisters returned to check in on Kapoa. A great friendship was formed and they eventually married. She filled the young carver’s life with stability and love for his three children.


Beatrice Tiaou learned to carve from her new husband and she was also very good at the art of wood working. Together they were able to start their own business and could earn a living in the carving trade.

As the children grew, they too learned the art of carving and now in their own countries of abode, they carry on the tradition of beautiful carving and woodworking.

Watch a short video on obtaining self-reliance:


Mormons believe that "there is a direct, interconnected link between our spiritual lives and our material lives, and this is centred in the life of the family. Our Church is a practical religion. When we have our needs met we can then help meet the needs of others.” - Bishop Gérald Caussé

Browse the Blog

About The Blog: This blog is managed and written by staff of the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The information here is reliable and accurate but should not necessarily be viewed as official statements from the Church. The purpose of this blog is to provide journalists, bloggers, and the public with additional context and information regarding public issues involving the Church. For official news releases and statements from the Church, visit

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.