Jean Tefan

Jean Tefan

Jean Tefan

1980, Elementary Education
Area Authority Seventy, French Polynesia

It took more than a dozen years for Jean Tefan to complete his education at BYU-Hawaii, but the results have been a great benefit for him and the tens of thousands he has served.

Tefan came to the Church College of Hawaii from Tahiti in 1968, but was called home after one year to serve a mission. Seven months after his mission he married and remained in Tahiti for a decade before deciding to continue his studies at BYU-Hawaii.

Tefan left his job as school principal to return to Laie with his wife and four children. Every Saturday he took his family to town, the beach or a park. "The key to keeping my family a priority was to balance all my responsibilities," he said. This meant rising at 6 a.m. and going to bed at midnight "to accomplish everything on my agenda." Already fluent from childhood in French and Tahitian, Tefan amplified his gift for languages to become a top student in English and Spanish. He used these skills to translate for Church authorities visiting the islands. He also gained valuable spiritual insights when BYU-Hawaii Stake President Eric Shumway called him as a high councilor.

After graduating, Tefan went on to earn a master's degree in public education from BYU. Returning to Tahiti, Tefan served his community as deputy mayor. He also was called as a stake president in 1990. In 1996, he served as the mission president in Fiji, and soon after being released was named Area Authority Seventy in French Polynesia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Be grateful for what you have. Education is worth sacrificing for.