Students Experiencing Thanksgiving express gratitude
Thanksgiving 2020 is going to be the very first time, and hopefully the only time, that all PCC employees will have a 4-day weekend. So we asked some of our Cultural Presentations students for their Thanksgiving thoughts during this unprecedented time.
Klaus Timothee Tufariua Tuera – Tahiti. I am excited to spend Thanksgiving with family and reflecting on our blessings. I’m thankful for the Gospel which gives hope to be eternal with loved ones.
Lesi Mate Time – Samoa. I am very thankful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the opportunity to study here at BYU-Hawaii and make new friends. I’m forever grateful for PCC and my beautiful Samoa Village family. My friends and I are planning to have a small BBQ for Thanksgiving Day.
Ilivasi Raiqisa – Fiji. I plan to spend time with family and friends and show gratitude towards them. I’m thankful for my Savior, family, friends, and the opportunity to attend BYU-Hawaii and work at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Pevelini Wihongi – Samoa. I am thankful for my husband Jordaan and for being able to study together in beautiful Hawaii.
Jordaan Wihongi – Kaikohe, New Zealand. One of the blessings I am grateful for is my beautiful wife, and the opportunity we have been given to come to BYUH and work at the Polynesian Culture Centre. Being here in Hawaii has allowed us to meet so many great people, make lifelong friendships, and learn new skills to help us throughout the rest of our lives. My wife and I plan to stay home and just relax, go out to dinner here in the community, and then call our families to wish them a happy thanksgiving.
Faye Chaille Ellis Kioa – Tonga. I am forever grateful to the Polynesian Cultural Center for keeping me employed at this time. It constantly reminds me of my purpose here in Hawaii and how much my education means to me. Despite the many challenges and financial circumstances this pandemic has provided, working at PCC grants me the opportunity to prepare for its re-opening, so that we can bring more students from the islands to further their education.
Meliana Joyceanne G. Helu – Tonga. I’m grateful to still be employed and able to study regardless of how uncertain times are and not forgetting all the experiences I’ve had both good and bad, but most importantly I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and families who love and help mold me to become a better person. I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with good food and family (virtually I mean) and a lot of rest.
Yihang Peng – Sichuan, China. The biggest blessing is to be married to my wife this year during the pandemic and working together towards our future. Because in Eastern countries we do not have the tradition of Thanksgiving, so I will spend that day with my family and probably have a nice meal.
Lady Vainui Garbutt – Paea, Tahiti. I am grateful for my BYUH and PCC Ohana who continue to support us, especially during this pandemic. Most importantly, I am grateful for my family in Tahiti and my husband who constantly loves and supports me and motivates me to be my best self. Considering the situation we are in, we have not planned anything big for Thanksgiving, so my husband and I will just have a nice dinner at home.
Eugene Rey Lucerna – Philippines. I’m grateful for friendships I have gained and am blessed with, not only during this pandemic but during my whole stay here in Hawai’i. I plan to spend my Thanksgiving with my hānai family.
Isikeli Fehoko – Va’epopua, Tongatapu, Tonga. The greatest blessing for me is probably the Gospel of Jesus Christ being fully restored, especially when you have lost a member of your family. Even though my family is separated by closed borders and death, we still have that feeling of closeness. Last Thanksgiving I helped out at the Pu’uhonua o Wai’anae serving breakfast for the homeless. Planning on volunteering again but for this year it is going to be food drop-off due to the pandemic.
Hans Tyrone Brown - Kahuku, Hawaii. I am grateful for my family history! It is humbling to discover the stories of sacrifice of those who forged the path before us. It is comforting to know that they continue to offer support, guidance, and love. It is empowering to build on the foundation and gifts they have given us. I’m blessed to be spending Thanksgiving eating good food with family, blood, and adopted.
Ganbaatar Ulziiduuren – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. A blessing that I am thankful for is the opportunity to study here at BYU-H and work at the PCC. During this pandemic, we are planning to stay home and have a good dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Mako Kamiya – Nagoya, Japan. I’m thankful for my husband because he brings me joy every day and especially during this pandemic. Being with him doesn’t even make me think of the world’s craziness. We were married at the start of the pandemic and were finally able to be sealed for time and all eternity this week! I’m so grateful for the blessings of the Lord’s House.
Purevsuren Narantuya – Mongolia. I am thankful for my family, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, living prophets, and the Atonement. Thanksgiving is a time to study for final exams.
Whether this is your first Thanksgiving or not, may we find multiple reasons to #givethanks and to do so often as counseled by Pres Nelson in his message of hope and healing to the world. Doing so will keep our hearts and spirit happy and that is what RADIATE SPIRIT looks like to me.
Have a relaxing and memorable Thanksgiving.