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Going to The Kingdom of Tonga

The truth contained in the first, second, and third angels’ messages….must lighten the darkness of every continent, and extend to the islands of the sea. GW 470.2

             Last year I was greatly privileged to travel to the beautiful Kingdom of Tonga, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. This past December was a huge adventure as I’ve never been anywhere even remotely close to that part of the world. However, I accepted the invitation to be a part of a team that would go and do medical missionary work in the communities. So after soliciting donations for my trip, I left some time after the Thanksgiving holiday. Then from Los Angeles, I boarded the plane for the long flight across the vast Pacific Ocean.

            I left Los Angeles on a Sunday, November 29th and arrived in Tonga on a Tuesday, December 1st, so I completely missed Monday, November 30th. Due to the extreme time difference, I never saw this day, so I knew this would be a different experience altogether. Upon arrival and passing through customs, I was warmly welcomed by people who assumed I was from the neighboring island of Fiji (because of my complexion), and aggressively welcomed by taxi drivers offering their services. Then after a few minutes of taking in all of the sights and sounds I heard a familiar voice yell my name across the crowd, one of my friends that I’d gone to school with and a member of the team. Thankfully my ride had arrived without too much delay.

            Arriving at the home that I would be staying during my time there was a blessing. The family that hosted me did not have much, yet the hospitality was like none I’d ever experienced. The village was called Paki’lau in the town of Vaini. This humble village was designated by the chief of Vaini for Adventists because of his respect for the Adventist faith. Walking around this village was an amazing experience, picking the fruit from the trees, waving to the neighbors, and running alongside the children, who always seemed so thrilled with my presence there. Though, surrounded by unfamiliar people and words, this was my home for a month, and was treated as a son.

            After resting a day or two from traveling, it was time to get out and work. We understood that health is a big issue on this island, so an exercise program was began for the youth and extended to others. Along with this, there was a week of prayer that took place at the local church that focused on getting back to our first love, Christ. After this, we would do programs at different churches on Sabbath and present studies on the foundation of our faith. Many were blessed as they were reminded of God’s mission for His people at this time. Also, we conducted a series of Bible studies at our local church each evening on how to study the Bible. Then we studied with the people on various topics including the Sanctuary, Sabbath, and the Three Angels’ Messages. Many of the youth expressed that they had never enjoyed studying the Bible until then. It was truly a blessing to see young people begin to develop a love for God’s word. Visiting the sick and shut in was also a huge blessing to me as well.

            We stressed to the people, especially the youth the importance of sharing what they had learned with others. Therefore, we taught them how to canvass and pass out tracts. This was extremely exciting. They had never heard of such a thing and had no idea what to do. So after a training session we all hit the streets with truth filled literature. Many of the youth came back with tear filled testimonies of how they were blessed by the experience of being used by God. I was also privileged to go into a few homes to help people with their health. Many were surprised to learn that what they were eating was hurting them and that they could find relief by just doing the simplest things, such as drinking an adequate amount of water daily.

            The people of Tonga are God fearing people, however many things have been hidden from them. It was heartwarming to see people begin to understand God’s word, for young people to say that they will commit to following God, and to help the sick find relief in Jesus. I ask that you would keep this small country in your prayers. Pray that these dear people in the Kingdom of Tonga will remain faithful and be ready for Christ’s coming and live with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Emory Horne

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