VIDEO: Rugby League Star Leaves it all to Serve a Mission

"Although I had all these things in the world, there is nothing compared to the loving feeling of our Saviour."

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Young Tonumaipea made waves in May when he announced mid-season that he would be leaving the Melbourne Storm to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In July, Tonumaipea walked away from his contract, leaving over $200,000, and boarded a plane for his mission in Berlin, Germany.

Tonumaipea said his main reason for deciding to serve a mission was the example of his friend and fellow Storm player Lagi Setu. Setu left the Brisbane Broncos to serve his own mission in England. He met Tonumaipea after his two-year service when he was playing for the Melbourne Storm.

“There’s something in Lagi that I felt I didn’t have. That was pure happiness,” Tonumaipea said. “I knew that was because of the love of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and how close he was to our Heavenly Father. And I envied that.”

25-year-old Tonumaipea had been a rising star in the National Rugby League. He played fullback, wing and centre. However, he felt that he had to follow Setu’s example and serve a mission.

“Although I had all these things in the world, there is nothing compared to the loving feeling of our Saviour,” Tonumaipea said.

Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve for a period of 18-24 months on a volunteer basis. They teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and serve people in the communities where they are assigned. Learn more about missionaries here.

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