For the next 9 days we will be on the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga which is called Tongatapu. Tonga is an archiIpelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies directly south of Western Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. Tonga is made up of 176 islands that are scattered over 270,000 square miles of the South Pacific Ocean. (Only about 57 of those are populated). The country is known as the Friendly Islands because of the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit to the island in 1773. The total land covered by Tonga is 289 square miles. As of 2010, the country has an estimated population of 104,000. (Information from mapsoftheworld.com)
Although we are getting more practiced at international travel, we still get a little rattled as we navigate through the process of filling out exit forms, going through customs and getting to where ever we need to be.
When we arrived in Tonga on Saturday night (May 16) we were hot, tired, and a little disoriented.
As we waited in line to get our passports stamped we noticed a young man in the line next to wearing a Tshirt from Idaho State College. We tried to ask him where he got the shirt and if he knew about Idaho, but he did not speak any English. Still, we had to smile, believing this was just one of the many ways that God was reaching out to us to remind two senior missionaries from Idaho that He is mindful of us and that we were arriving right where He wanted us to be.