News Release

More than Mangoes, Passionfruit, and Coconuts

Hyrum Willis from Cornwall enjoys serving as a missionary in Tahiti

Hyrum Willis from Cornwall is far from home but the sweetness of serving others as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is even more delicious than the tropical fruits he has come to love on the Pacific island of Tahiti.

And it is not just the mangoes, passionfruit, and coconuts he loves – it is the people.

He says, “The Tahitian people are so friendly and generous. They feed us, they wave, smile, and stop to ask us questions.”

Even if some people have little themselves, they are willing to help and offer their services such as driving Hyrum Willis and his companion Damon Stewart to locations too far for them to walk or ride their bikes.

Elder (a term of respect) Willis and Elder Stewart feel included and accepted in the community where they work with members of the Church to bring the teachings of Jesus Christ to the Islanders.

“We have found that one hour of working with members and their friends is more effective than 3 hours on our own trying to find people to teach,” reflects Elder Willis.

One of the responsibilities that Elder Willis has as a missionary is to train other missionaries. He says, “I work hard to help prepare a new missionary to be an effective teacher – meaning someone who can explain a principle in a simple and effective way.”

His companion, Elder Damon Stewart adds “Elder Willis is amazing. He makes this work so fun by his patient and energetic example of loving the people that you want to keep going like he does every day.”

Elder Willis’s love of the people is shown by his willingness to give back and engage in the Tahitian culture. He has participated in relief projects for Tonga and helped to pour cement for homes. He has also learned to play the ukulele.

He says, “In addition to the people and the food, I love the music of Tahiti. Music is a part of my life in Cornwall and now part of my teaching experiences in Tahiti.”

French is the official language of Tahiti and Elder Willis plans to learn it well enough so he can later provide humanitarian aid to other French-speaking areas in the world. Another goal he has is to be an example of a happy missionary so his younger siblings will want to share the message of Jesus Christ too.

Once he completes his mission, Elder Hyrum Willis plans to go to university but until then, he continues to enjoy the sweetness of his labours as he teaches the people of Tahiti about the love the Saviour has for all people.

“I can see the fruits of joy and peace in people’s lives,” says Elder Hyrum Willis, “as they embrace the teachings of Jesus. His message and invitation will change your life so come and give it a go.”

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