17 Tahitians travel over 4,800 miles to see Melaleuca fireworks


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IDAHO FALLS — It’s a week to remember for three families visiting east Idaho from Tahiti.

The group of 17, ranging in age from six to 75, is made up of the Pangsing, Marae and Tauaroa families.

All of them began planning for their 4,800 mile trip to America in 2010 after meeting Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot and his wife Belinda.

The VanderSloot’s were visiting Tahiti and needed a ride to church. A kind woman, working at their hotel, volunteered to take them and a friendship was formed.

Now, after six years of planning and saving their money, the families are on the vacation of a lifetime.

“We came to tour America and visit the LDS church history sites,” David Pangsing said. “We’re going to Palmyra, Nauvoo, Kirtland and other places.”

Earlier this year, when VanderSloot learned his friends were coming to the United States, he arranged to have an RV with a driver waiting for them at the Los Angeles airport.

Their first stop? Idaho Falls.

“Frank asked us to come and see the fireworks on July 4,” Pangsing said. “We haven’t seen fireworks like that. They’re just beautiful.”

The families left Idaho Falls Tuesday for a tour of America that they say they’ll never forget.

“We’re so honored to be here,” Pangsing said. “Thank you to Frank and Belinda for hosting us and treating us very well.”