Making Friends:

Hani Jacob Yim of Uturoa, Raiatea, French Polynesia

By Vivian Paulsen

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    Whenever Hani Jacob Yim (5) wants to ride his bike, which is often, he has to find his brother Lehi (15) or his dad or his bike won’t work. They have removed the front tire, you see, and hung it high up in the garage.

    This young French Polynesian boy loves to go to church. As a matter of fact, he just plain loves to be at the church. The road that leads from his home, through his town—Uturoa—and on to the chapel is a busy one. A young boy on a bicycle could be in danger riding up and down this road, and Hani’s family want to keep him safe. To keep track of his journeys, and to remind him to be careful, they make sure that he comes to them each time he plans to travel between his two favorite places. When it is OK for him to make the trip, his brother or his dad reminds him of safety rules and his importance to the family as they remount the front tire on his bike.

    Hani is the youngest in a family of five. He loves his family and speaks often of the example they have set for him. His oldest sister, Irena, is currently a student at BYU-Hawaii. She served a mission in the Tahiti Papeete Mission, and the family is eager to share with visitors some of the wonderful stories she has told them about that special time. Yvana, Hani’s second sister, attends high school and is an excellent javelin thrower. Michel, who is serving in the military in France, plans on serving a mission as soon as he returns home. Lehi, a seminary student who tries to live up to his famous name, also plays the guitar, helps around home, and tries to watch out for his younger brother.

    Dad, Michel Yim, serves in the Church, works at one of the few hotels on the island of Raiatea, and speaks with pride of the faithfulness of his children. Mom, Pauline, is a homemaker and is the heart of the family. Their favorite family portrait was taken in front of the Papeete Tahiti Temple. Because of the temple and the promises they have made there, the Yims can be a forever family, a goal they all share.

    The youngest, Hani has much to live up to. Mom spends a great deal of extra time with him, studying the Book of Mormon. And each morning and evening, he kneels with his family in prayer. His prayers are famous in the family. He always volunteers to pray—in the mornings, in the evenings, at meals, at family home evenings—and he remembers to pray for all those he loves—each family member, the leaders of the Church, the prophet, his friends.

    His days are filled with many things. He enjoys school, where he is very good at drawing, and he likes to play soccer, ride his bike, and do his homework. He has many friends. At school they have a lot of fun together, especially on the days they go to the ocean for swimming lessons. Part of one of the bays on the island has been roped off, and the children, many of their mothers, and their teachers go there a couple of times a week. It is important for children in the islands to know how to handle themselves in the ocean—it is all around them!

    Dad says that Hani is not only big for his age but he is also a big part of the Yim family. He thinks about and understands many things a young boy his age usually does not think about or understand. For instance, his grandfather died not too long ago. Hani loved him very much and knows that this beloved family member is in the spirit world and that he still lives and still loves his family. Remembering his grandfather helps Hani remember how important it is for him and for all of his family to choose the right every day and every minute so that they can all return to live with Heavenly Father.

    Photos by Janet Thomas and Vivian Paulsen

    Lehi, Yvana, Dad, Hani, Mom

    Lehi plays the guitar for his little brother.

    A swimming lesson in the ocean

    Lehi remounts the front tire on Hani’s bike.

    Riding his bike

    Hani is especially good at drawing.

    Mom and Hani study the Book of Mormon together.

    Using large nets, Hani and his dad go fishing in the ocean.