The Start of Change in Tonga, Meeting with the Minister of Youth
From the 26th to the 29th of May, there has been a witnessing trip to the island of Tonga. 2 weeks previously, the first witnessing team, which consisted of Sister Lee and one short term missionary, went in advance to preach the Gospel and invite people. Afterwards, on the 26th, the second group arrived and the group now became six.
On the first day, we arrived in Tonga after a flight that lasted three hours from Auckland. The atmosphere was very rustic and refreshing, reminding us of Korea in the 1970s. Sister Mona and her family were already at the airport when we had arrived. Although their circumstances make it seem as though they should be working every day, she had delayed her work to join us in the work of the Gospel.
When we arrived in Mona’s house, the daughter, Sophia, and her husband were preparing a meal for us. In spite of the fact that Sophia is only 22 years old, she is a mother of two children. After listening to the Gospel and receiving salvation while attending the World Camp in 2011, her heart did not become dilute but she continued to remain in contact with us, doing the work of the Gospel in Tonga.
After lunch, we visited many offices to organise meetings with the Ministers. We met with their secretaries and introduced the IYF to them as well as inviting them to the Minister of Youth Forum. They showed lots of interest as we introduced them to these events. The Minister of Youth promised that he would have a meeting with them if time allowed it.
In the evening, we gathered the family of Mona and had a Mind Lecture. Through pictures of the Gospel, the speaker began to explain about how sin entered our world, and how to be cleansed of it. Then, he also began to speak about the promise that Pastor Ock Soo Park had received in 1973 for the South Pacific islands, which included the island of Tonga. The promise was also very much alive in the heart of Sister Mona. Sister Mona was delighted and we could see the hope growing in her heart.
On the second day (27th), we had a Mind Lecture with 1500 students from 8.40am at the Tonga High School. The short-term missionaries had prepared a dance for them and through the Mind Lecture; Pastor spoke about the story of John. Through this story, he explained about the source that leads our thoughts, how to open your hearts and how the Word of God is the best Mind.
After the Lecture, we had a meeting with Pastor Benjamin, who has a high status in Tonga, as well as being the foundation of the Tonga High School. Pastor gave his thanks, as he explained that the Word had become a great hope and strength inside of the students who have been living in difficult circumstances. He said that he had even witnessed tears in the eyes of many students. Furthermore, stating that this was not the final encounter, he asked us to continue to send Mind Lecturers, and promising that we would, we left.
After the farewell with Pastor Benjamin, one female student came running after us as we were just about to leave in the car. She introduced herself as ‘Alla’ and said that she would like to continue to contact us and listen more of the Word, saying that she loved the Mind Lecture so much. On top of that, many students stood at the back of the hall and were tearful when listening to the Lecture. They had opened their hearts and made us promise to come back.
“Pastor and the witnessing group that came from Korea explained what the heart and the mind was. He said that opening our hearts and our minds is believing in the Word. Although there are many things that are preached in Tonga, this one was the most touching. I will now open my heart. First, towards God, then towards the world. Thank you.”
Having finished the Lecture at the Tonga High School, we came back to the house of Sister Mona. However, we got a call from the secretary of the Minister of Youth informing us that he would like a meeting with us at 2pm. We arrived 15 minutes earlier than the meeting schedule but when the Minister of Youth heard that we were waiting, he invited us in and welcomed us warmly. Together, we had a meeting for 40 minutes.
Introducing the IYF, we explained to him about the work of Pastor Ock Soo Park and how he is leading the hearts of the youth worldwide. All the while he was listening; he seemed very content and interested; especially with the idea of going to a developed country that is Korea and learning something new there. But because he was not in a situation where he could move individually, he told us that it had to be granted by the Prime Minister when taking a letter of invitation from us. The secretary told us that they would give us an answer in two days time.
We felt that God truly loves Tonga and is protecting it as he allowed us to miraculously meet the Minister of Youth in just one day.
On the 28th and the 29th, we continued to meet new people and have fellowship with them. Many people were able to receive the assurance of salvation and the fellowship with Sophia’s husband, Kiki, was especially graceful. Kiki asked if he could speak about his heart and began to tell us the story of his life. He was filled with anger because he had grown up as an orphan. That made him turn to violence and drinking but he was in such pain because he did not have the self control. Kiki, who had been condemning himself for all the sins that he had committed, was overjoyed when hearing about how to receive salvation.
“I thank you for giving us such a good opportunity. Thanks to you my heart has changed and my family is happy. Thank you for supporting us in the work of the Gospel and I hope to invite you next time as well for my family and also for the people of Tonga.”
Pastor said that spiritual life begins when you discover how evil you are. As we entered Tonga having the heart that we cannot achieve anything by ourselves and that we are only evil, we could witness the fluent and flawless will of God flowing in Tonga. Is Tonga, Sisters Mona and Sophia are pouring all of their hearts into protecting the Gospel and are waiting with the many people who have received salvation, for a church to be established.