On Friday morning we had a wonderful training with another ward council back at Central Stake. Quite a few of the leaders stayed after the presentation to work on their own family trees and to learn how to submit family names.
On our way into Nuku’alofa for our second training, we ran into another parade supporting the World Cup rugby games. Nuku’alofa is a much larger town than where we had been in Vava’u, so they had a lot more cars and people involved with this revelry. Rather than a formal parade, this seemed to be a very loosely organized group of enthusiasts who chose to come out in solidarity. There would be several decorated cars with loud speakers creating a knot of excitement followed by long lines of cars of regular traffic trying to get through to town to do their business. Then down another road there would be a different group doing their own thing. Traffic was tied up for most the morning as different groups of decorated cars would spontaneously start a new route or clumps of young people would begin dancing in the street. Blaring music from loud speakers, laughter, and chants permeated the town as people came out all over in support of their favorite team members.
When we got to the church for the 2PM training we met the newly called Family History Director who was very excited about her calling and eager for training. She is a convert with a strong testimony for doing the work. Unfortunately, no one came to that training. There had been a problem with the plumbing to the building so the previous day all meetings were cancelled. Then there was also a tsunami warning for the area due to an earthquake in Chili. There was no specific danger in Tonga and we were completely oblivious to the warning. However, being such a low island with no real high ground, they have to be very aware of all factors which could impact them. They have specific evacuation plans to move people quickly to the center of the island should a big wave come.
At any rate, with no one to do a presentation for, we spent our time in the FHC with the new director going over various resources and showing her how to do things on FamilySearch. We talked about her goals for how to get more engagement from people in the ward and brainstormed ideas about possible activities to promote family history.
The stake president came in for a while to see how we were doing so we had him bring up his family tree and re-emphasized the importance of the 15 in 15 program to him.
That evening we had just a handful of people show up for the 6PM meeting. Still, those who were there seemed very grateful for the training and the young man I worked with was able to find a family name to submit which he was very exited for.
With that training done we were finished with all the work we had come to do. We had completed a total of 22 trainings and had given presentations to about 370 people. We had specifically assisted 15 people in submitting names for temple ordinances and showed many others how it was to be done.
We were tired. It had been a very full couple of weeks. But we felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of this work, knowing our efforts were making a very real difference in bringing families closer together on both sides of the veil. Our testimonies had been strengthened. Our love for the people of Tonga had grown by leaps and bounds.
We had many times during our visit when we felt guided in what to say or do by Heavenly Father. Clearly, all that was accomplished was HIS work, we were just the instruments privileged to be part of it.
One of our special memories from the trip was hearing the Tongan saints sing Hymn # 183 in Tongan Hymnbook: Ke tau tokanga mu’a (Let us therefore take heed)
Ke ta-u to-ka-nga mu’a ki he to-hi ho-ho-ko, ‘O ku-mi ho ka-i-nga na’’e ma-te fu-o-lo-a, Ke ta-u ha-nga ‘o fa-i ha nga-u-e ki a’I, Ke fa’ka-mo-‘u’I a’I si-‘o-ta-u ka-i-nga.
Tu-ku a [Tu-ku a Ho-‘o to-lo-I ta-i-me] Tu-ku a [Tu-ku a Ho-o to-lo-I ta-i-mi Ka ke ku me [Ka ke Ku-mi] mu-‘a si-‘o fa-mi-li, He ko e ta-i-mi si’i.
Ke tau tokanga mu’a ki he tohi hohoko,
Let us heed the genealogy
‘O kumi ho kainga na’e mate fuoloa,
Looking for a place that was long dead
Ke tau hanga ‘o fai ha ngaue ki a’i,
To make the action ???
Ke fakamo u’i a’i sio tau kainga.
To witness generation to see your home
Tuku a [Tuku a Ho‘o toloI taime] Tuku a [Tuku a Hoo toloI taimi Ka ke ku me [Ka ke Kumi] mu‘a si‘o famili, He ko e taimi si’i.
Let us heed the genealogy , seeking a village died soon , to make the action ???
Don’t delay. Don’t delay. Seek out your family in this moment.