TONGA TAKES A BATTERING

WRITTEN BY MIN TOBITT, INC SOUTH PACIFIC

On February 3 2018, the strong tropical storm Cyclone Gita hit Tonga and left in its wake  flattened buildings and flooding. It was the most severe storm experienced in the last 60 years. Power and water are still not connected.


Some of our INC churches in New Zealand and Australia responded quickly with funds to assist the Nuku’alofa church under the leadership of Pastor Peni Mafi to purchase food and water supplies to give out aid to the people. The church people were also quick to get out and help with the clean up and repairs to the damaged homes

The church building survived the storm and is being used as the base for packaging up hampers of food and water and to house some families including Pastor Peni and his family whose homes have been flooded or damaged.

This powerful cyclone has been the cause of the huge surf on the Australian coastline and the eye of the storm is now headed for the west coast of New Zealand.

A Taste of Tonga – a special relationship

Nuku’alofa with a population of 24,500 is situated on the island of Tongatapu and is the capital city of the kingdom nation of Tonga. The remainder of the mostly Polynesian 108,000 population are scattered over 52 of the 176 islands of this small South Pacific nation.

Peni & Ma'ata Mafi

Pastors Peni & Ma’ata Mafi are the pastors of the small but growing Nuku’alofa INC church, also known as Christian Outreach Centre. Recently they received a visit from Pastor Maurice and Wendy Ritchie and Pastor Ben Cherry from INC churches in New Zealand. Over the past 8 years a special relationship has developed between the two fellowships. While acknowledging the support of other friends and churches in Australia, Maurice and Wendy and the New Zealand churches have provided finances and expertise in the building of the church and have stood alongside them and encouraged them through some difficult times. And now they are seeing the fruit.

After a week of meetings in October with church leaders, young people, musicians, a social night with couples and a Sunday morning service which was packed and full of life, Wendy writes, “ To be part of this work is an absolute joy. It has been wonderful to see the health, growth and development of the congregation in spirit and in numbers and to see these generous, gracious people loving God with their whole heart, in the building that they have built with their own hands, with a little help from friends. Congratulations Pastor Peni and Ma’ata.”

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TRAVELLERS TO TONGA

Photos: Church building, visiting speakers with the church pastor

WRITTEN BY MIN TOBITT, INC SOUTH PACIFIC

Tonga, previously known as the Friendly Isles is our smallest INC South Pacific nation and the furthest east. We only have one church there in the capitol city of Nuku’alofa. But in this isolated situation they have been blessed by help and encouragement from Fiji, Nowra in Australia and New Zealand over recent years.

 Over the past months, there has been plenty of activity, when a team from City Church Nowra finally put the finishing touches to their church building by putting in the ceiling. Pastors Peni and Ma’ata Mafi were ready then to celebrate their Conference with visiting speakers Fiji National Chairman Pastor Sevuloni Cakau and his wife Iva and Pastor Jason Smith from Australia.