News Release

Church Leaders Encourage Tongan Latter-day Saints

Elder Ian S. Ardern, Second Counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Paula Ardern, recently spent six days in Tonga touring the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission and providing encouragement and counsel to missionaries and members of the Church.


Speaking of the Church's response in the aftermath of Cyclone Gita, Elder Ardern said: “We have been anxiously engaged in helping Tonga recover from the cyclone. We are not only helping those who are members of our Church, we are helping all Tongans. With that said, what has been most heartening is to see Tongans helping each other.”

He noted that the Church provided a saw mill so fallen coconut trees could be used to provide building materials to assist with repair or rebuilding of damaged or destroyed homes. “We are educating people, teaching them the skills needed to become self-reliant.”

Sister Paula Ardern suggested that we need to minister to each other in our homes so that our children will learn from their parents and then be able to go out and minister to others.

"Ministering at home,” she said, “is loving one another, reading scriptures, praying and working together, and learning to love it.”

As they travelled throughout the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission with Mission President Sione Tuione and his wife, Sister Lupe Sika Tuione, Elder and Sister Ardern observed: “These missionaries are terrific, they look the part, they act the part, and they are doing a great job! You can trust them to teach your non-member friends.”


Elder Ardern had these words of encouragement for those still struggling: “When disasters come—and they will—we must turn to the Lord. In our moments of despair, as we turn to Him, the pain will be lost and we will grow as we recognize that He is with us.”

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