Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tongan people after the recent volcanic eruption, so it seems a good time to highlight our Pacific neighbour as the ethnic focus of this edition.
The Tongan islands are a couple of thousand kilometres east of Queensland out in the Pacific.
Tonga is a pretty special place, which is solidly Christian.
Back in 1830, a Tongan chief called Topou dedicated the country to God in response to Wesleyan missionaries. This brings to mind what Lutheran missionaries were doing in the 1800s when they claimed parts of Australia for the Lord.
Nowadays, 96% of Tongans are Christian, and they take ‘mission’ seriously. Most are Methodist, and there is a fairly large Mormon presence there as well.
I didn’t know that almost as many Tongans live in New Zealand as those who still live in Tonga itself. There are about 105,000 in Tonga and another 80,000 in New Zealand.
Thousands of (mainly) young Tongan men come to Australia each year as seasonal workers so that they can send money back to their families.
Pray for these brothers and sisters at the moment as they deal with the recent volcanic eruption (following closely after a serious cyclone in 2018). Let’s pray for the many seasonal workers in Australia and those in New Zealand who must be worried for family.
One thing Tongans are famous for is their group singing. Click here if you want to see Tongans singing their hearts out.
This article is from the January–February 2022 edition of Cross-Cultural Ministry eNews. To sign up to receive this eNews in your inbox, click here.
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