Free Wesleyan Church
Free Church of Tonga
(July 2014 estimate)
Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean consisting of 171 coral and volcanic islands, 36 of which are inhabited by 108,000 people. Tonga is unique among Pacific nations in that it never completely lost its native governance. Tonga was a British protected state from 1900-1970 and later became fully independent. It remains the only monarchy in the Pacific, though there is a growing movement towards democracy, and the first prime minister was elected in 2006.
Most of Tonga's food must be imported. New Zealand is a main source and is also home to many Tongan expatriates. The number of Tongans living abroad is now higher than the population of Tonga itself. The economy is mainly supported by these workers, followed by tourism, due to the beautiful tropical beaches, rainforests, and active volcanoes. The government is developing in the areas of finance, health, and education and also seeks to upgrade agricultural productivity. High unemployment, especially among the youth remains an issue. Developing the island's communication and transportation systems could provide help in this area.
Tonga's red flag includes a bold red cross on top of a white rectangle; the cross represents the nation's deep-rooted Christianity. Though this rich Christian heritage is a blessing, as reflected by their national song (which calls God their defense and praises His love for them), it has reached the point of oversaturation, and nominalism plays a large role. Many believers look for value in good works rather than God and the Bible. Tonga has the highest national percentage of Mormons. As the nation's largest employers are Mormon, there are financial perks to switch to the religion. May the Tongan people find freedom in Christ and reclaim the dynamic faith of their forefathers, as they see the prayer for protection from their national song answered by God.
(Used with permission from www.prayercast.com/tonga.html.)
There is an Open Door of opportunity amongst the Tongan people. More missionaries could have an impact on this island nation by proclaiming and clarifying that salvation is by grace alone. A deeply religious people, they have fallen prey to the trap of works based faith practices. To learn how you can make a difference in Tonga, please contact BIMI's Southeast Asia Director