News Release

Tonga Prince and Latter-day Saints Journey Together

On Sunday, 28 February, His Royal Highness Viliami ʻUnuaki-ʻo-Tonga Lalaka moʻe ʻEiki Tukuʻaho of Tonga, Prince ‘Ata, and over 100 members of the Nukuʻalofa Tonga North Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), undertook an historic journey together.

They travelled 10 kilometres by boat to the beautiful island of ‘Atata, off the coast of Tongatapu, to hold the first Sunday services of the Church ever to be held there.

Local Church leader, President Tu'ihalangingie, presided at the services. He thanked His Highness for allowing them to dedicate the home which has been renovated into a meetinghouse so members don’t have to travel back and forth to Tongatapu to attend religious services.

He also thanked the Town Officer and others for their help in preparing the meetinghouse.

The historic gathering provided an opportunity for President Tu'ihalangingie to bless the new Church facility as a gathering place for Latter-day Saints and others to worship on the island.

Prince ‘Ata joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2015.

During the gathering on ‘Atata, he said, “The Holy Ghost will help us to become better people. This Church will make us happy.”

Those present for Sunday’s events were also privileged to witness the first Latter-day Saint baptisms performed on the island. Through baptism, Lesieli Paea-he-Lotu Nau and her younger brother Kelepi Mafi Nau, became members of the Church.

Expressing his happiness for the events of the day, President Tu’ihalangingie said, “I recall the times when members have travelled back and forth from ‘Atata to attend Church; there are days when the ocean is calm and welcoming—and the next day it is rough and angry!”

Members of the group were taken by six small boats from Nuku’alofa to the Island of ‘Atata. Although it was a very hot day, all present walked the long distance from the wharf to the meeting place. There were no vehicles on the island to help transport the elderly to the meeting area, and drinking water was very limited.

However, everyone present was eager to witness the historical event. One member noted, “This has been a beautiful and historical day that we will never forget. These moments remind us of the sacrifices our faithful pioneer ancestors made.”

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