News Release

We've Been Fasting and Praying for You

Wainis 2024 in Chuuk 2024
Wainis 2024 in Chuuk 2024
President Tarsi and Sister Mary Jane Wainis© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

 Tarsi Wainis grew up on the island of Weno in Chuuk.  His younger sister was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around 1987.  After she was married, she and her husband moved to Wichap (a village on Chuuk) for a few years. She became inactive in the Church over time.  In 2000, after moving back home to her village with her husband, missionaries from the Church would come to visit her and try to help her return to activity in the Church.  Tarsi didn’t like “the Mormons”.  He had been told that ‘their church’ was not true.  Whenever the missionaries came to their home, he would be mean and chase them away.  He told them: “You just go.  You don’t need to teach her here. We don’t want ‘Mormons’ to come to our place.”   This went on for many months.  One day something changed inside of him that he couldn’t explain.  His feelings changed toward the missionaries.  One night the missionaries returned to his home looking for his sister and her family.  Tarsi told them: “They are not here.  They have gone to Wichap, but what about me?”  The missionaries face turned red, and the tears fell from their eyes.  They were surprised and said: “What? You want a lesson?”  He assured them that he did. They began that night teaching him, his wife, and children.

The missionaries prayed with them.  Tarsi remembers the missionaries crying as they taught him.   A few days later, the missionaries returned to teach them again.  Tarsi was confused and asked them: “I don’t understand what has happened to me.  Before, I was mean to you guys. Something has changed me, and I can’t even explain how or what it is.  Now, I really want you guys to come and teach me. I really want to listen to what you’re going to teach me.”  The missionaries explained to him saying: “We have been fasting and praying for you.  We asked the Lord to soften your heart so that you would listen to the truth.” Tarsi humbly asked them: “Can you teach me why you have so much faith in me, enough to fast for me?

Tarsi’s father was a pastor of a Protestant church.  Tarsi never felt like he knew the scriptures.  His parents never taught him.  They never sat with him or his siblings to teach them the Bible.  When the missionaries were teaching him, they read the scriptures with him and his family.  They taught them the meaning of some of the things they read.  They asked him to pray about what they were teaching, what he was learning and reading.  They asked him to pray and find out for himself if these things were true.  Tarsi wanted to get baptized half-way through the lessons.  The missionaries told him that he needed to finish taking all the lessons first.  When he and his wife finally finished the lessons; the missionaries asked him to please talk to his wife’s parents and ask them if it was alright if she gets baptized.  She told them that she didn’t need to ask for their permission because she was old enough to decide on her own. Tarsi said: “Yes, me too! We want to get baptized together.”   They were baptized toward the end of the year in 2000. 

His mother found out that he had been baptized. By this time, she had moved to Oregon.  Tarsi would write her letters, but she never would answer his letters or talk to him.  He felt like she was unhappy that he joined the Church. 

One year after joining the Church, Tarsi was called to be the branch president of the Mwan Branch. He and his family would walk thirty to forty-five minutes each way to church.

When Tarsi was a teenager, he drank a lot.  His father was an educator.  Tarsi got to where he was fighting in school and eventually got kicked out.  His father sent him to a junior high school on Halls Island, which is on of the outer islands of Chuuk.  He felt like this would be a place where Tarsi would learn to respect people. After one year there, he met his future wife! 

Tarsi fasted and prayed for his mother.  One day, she called to see how he was doing and to find out if he was still going to “that” church. He told her that he believed that the Church was true.  A short while later, she called again and asked him: “Can you look for a used care so I can send this money to you to get a car for your transportation?”  Tarsi knows that her heart was softened because of his fasting and praying for his mother’s heart to change.  He was able to purchase a car with the money she sent so they no longer had to walk to church.  Not only did her heart soften towards him, but it softened enough to listen to the missionaries. She was baptized in Oregon!  After that, he began fasting and praying for his sisters.  They were baptized as well.  He has one sister who has not been baptized yet and he continues to fast and pray for her. 

All their children have also joined the Church.  Their oldest daughter lives in Iowa.  She was looking for a house and was unable to find one.  She finally found a house to rent.  The people that had lived there before were also from Chuuk!  The missionaries had been coming to their home.  His daughter moved into the house just two days after the previous renters had left.  She found some Book of Mormons in the closet and figured that they must have been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints too. Hearing a knock at the door, she opened it to see two missionaries standing there.  They didn’t know that the previous family had moved.  She smiled at them and told them that she was also a member of the Church and that her father was a branch president in Chuuk.  The missionaries got excited and asked if they could return at another time.  Tarsi learned from his daughter’s experience that Heavenly Father knows where we are and will send his servants to find us. 

Tarsi had an uncle that was chopping firewood when the ax slipped and cut his leg.  His uncle was rushed to the hospital.  He needed to have surgery to repair it right away, but the doctor told his family that he would not survive the surgery.  His blood pressure was too high. If he had the surgery now, he would die.  His Aunt called him to come to the hospital to give his uncle a blessing. (They were also members of the Church) Tarsi prayed to the Lord before he went to the hospital. In his prayer he said: “Father, I know this is not me that can heal my uncle, but you.  I ask by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood that I hold, that you will bless him to be healed and get better so that all the doctors and people in the hospital will know that You can do miracles.”  He then went to the hospital and gave his uncle the blessing.  After giving the blessing, he returned to work.  A few hours later, my aunt called to tell me that my uncle’s high blood pressure was gone. The doctors were able to do the surgery, and his uncle was going to be alright.  This was one of the many miracles that Tarsi has seen through the power of the Priesthood and prayer.

President Wainis said that before COVID 19, there were a lot of people coming to church.  Now there are not very many that come.  He said: “I really want my branch to grow.  I am working together with the missionaries to reactivate our members.”

Tarsi was a branch president for six years the first time.  He was then called as the district president.  He helped open new areas in the district such as Udot, Fosum, and Fare.  He served for twelve years as a district president.  Several years ago, some of these islands were closed again to missionaries. Some of these areas are once again being reopened.  This is Tarsi’s second time to be the branch president of Mwan. 

When Tarsi was the district president, the youth in the district went on a pioneer trek.  They built travois or sleds in place of wagons out of bamboo.  They pulled these travois through the jungle and the streets, walking from Mwan to Sapuk which took them through seven different villages.  It was a long and hard hike.  The trek helped to strengthen many hearts.  The kids that went on the trek have stayed strong in the gospel.  He said that they also put on a Book of Mormon pageant that helped to strengthen all their testimonies. 

Tarsi said that he stays in the Church because he knows it’s the true Church.  He said: “I have prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and I feel the Spirit telling me that this book is true.  I’ve also prayed about Joseph Smith to know if he is a true prophet of God. I felt the promptings of the Spirit that he is a true prophet of God.  When I learned in the scriptures that Jesus’ church should be called after His name, it makes me have faith and believe that this is the true Church because it is the Church of Jesus Christ.  Also, I know that we are the ‘latter-day saints’ and we are called by His name because we have the covenant of our Heavenly Father.  I have also prayed about the Priesthood.  I know whoever holds the Priesthood of God can perform all the ordinances to administer this gospel.  This is the only Church that has the Priesthood power of God.   No other church has these things.  Baptism for the remission of our sins is what our Savior Jesus Christ has shown us.  Part of the repentance process is going into the waters of baptism. After baptism, we are confirmed with the Holy Ghost and become members of the Church of our Heavenly Father.  All these things give me confidence to know that this is the true church.   I want my branch members to know that there is no salvation except following our Heavenly Father and His Son’s example.  We need to go to the temple and receive the blessings and ordinances for ourselves and our families, to be sealed together forever with our families.  All these are part of being a member of this Church.”  Tarsi said that he feels like some people are leaving the Church because they don’t understand the gospel.  “Other churches,” he said, “teach some correct principles, but only this Church teaches the principles of the plan of Salvation.”

He has a testimony of the blessings you can receive by going to the temple.  “Before going to the temple,” he said, “sometimes I would shout at others and have the thought of turning my back on others when they offend me. When I came from the temple, I changed.  I had a fear of offending someone.  The temple gave me a feeling of a softer heart.  People need to go to the temple so they will feel the difference.  If you go as often as you can, you will feel more comfort and be better disciples of Jesus Christ.  Those feelings help us to learn respect, be humbler and loving towards others.”

He testifies that choosing the right person to marry has made a difference in his life.  His wife, Mary Jane, has helped him to be a better person.  She encourages him to read scriptures as a family.  They were sealed in 2005 in the Bountiful Temple in Utah.  They’re looking forward to going to the temple again when they come to Guam for FSY in July. 

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