Making Friends:

Marau Brothers of Papeete, Tahiti

By Vivian Paulsen

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    On Monday evening you can always find Marau Brothers (9) in the same place. She is in family home evening with her mom, Amelie, her dad, Iosua, her eight brothers (Ramond, Alban, Alfred, Jerry, Teamo, Rudy, Lemuel, and Ronald), her three sisters (Heloise, Raina, and Mireille), and a couple of neighbors and friends. She cannot remember a Monday evening that was not spent this way. The only reasons any of her family have ever missed being together at this special family time have been to serve missions, to fulfill their military service obligation, and to attend school in France.

    Her dad is the bishop of the Arue Ward in the Pirae Tahiti Stake, is a sealer in the Papeete Tahiti Temple, and is a trusted employee of the Bank of Tahiti, so he is a very busy man. Yet he remembers twenty-six years ago, when he was a young father and the sister missionaries came to teach him the gospel. He refused to take the missionary discussions but agreed to let the sisters come and hold family home evenings. They came, and along with the prayers, the songs, the fun, and the refreshments, they taught him the gospel. Family home evening has held a special place in his heart ever since. He has not let a single week pass without holding a family home evening since he was baptized in 1968.

    Marau has learned from her parents’ testimonies, and from those of her brothers and sisters, both the importance of sharing the truth with others and the importance of living her life so that others will want to hear about what she believes. Her two oldest brothers, Ramond and Alban, both filled missions in Tahiti. Her third brother, Alfred, is now serving in the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission in Africa. At home her family has shared the gospel with several neighbors who have joined the Church. Often nonmember friends are invited to attend their Monday night family home evenings, and all the Brothers children plan on filling missions. “The favorite Church work of this family,” they all say, “is to share the light.”

    Marau also likes to have fun and do the things that other nine-year-olds in Tahiti like to do. She has the Pacific Ocean in her backyard, and she can often be found there, swimming in the bright blue water, or riding her bicycle or playing volleyball with her friends on the black-sand beach. She would rather be doing that than doing her homework, but her mom, who used to teach school, makes sure that lessons are learned also.

    On the lawn just up from the beach are some wonderful island trees full of the locally famous Tiare Tahiti (flower of Tahiti). It is Marau who strings these flowers together to make the beautiful leis that are given to visitors who come from far away. All who come are greeted with a kiss on each cheek and a warm smile.

    Marau loves her beautiful island home, and she thinks it is even more wonderful because of the gleaming white temple that was dedicated shortly before she was born. All of her brothers and sisters were sealed to their parents in this temple, and Marau was later born into this loving, eternal family. She knows that this is one of her greatest blessings.

    Photos by Janet Thomas and Vivian Paulsen

    1. Papeete, Tahiti, with the island of Moorea in the background

    2. In front of the Papeete Tahiti Temple

    3. In front of a flowering bush on the temple grounds

    4. Beautiful flowers everywhere

    5. Marau often makes flower leis for visitors

    6. Riding her bike on the beach behind her home

    7. Mom and Marau

    8. The family poses at the end of family home evening.

    9. Some of Tahiti’s mountains

    10. With her mom in front of the new Arue Chapel, under construction