Twenty-nine students from two Adventist schools in Tonga were baptised recently—part of a harvesting program that resulted in a record 225 baptisms for the island nation.
Earlier this year Tongan pastors committed to following the farming cycle of discipleship. As part of the initiative, all Tongan ministers serving overseas were invited to return to their home church and conduct a public evangelistic program from July 16-30.
On the last Sabbath, identified as the “Day of Pentecost”, history was made as Tonga Mission for the first time saw 225 baptisms at 28 different sites.
“In fact, this is a milestone that cannot be achieved without God’s divine intervention,” said Dr Ronald Stone, Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) Ministerial Association secretary and Global Mission coordinator. “As one of the speakers, I could testify to the power of the Spirit of God working in the hearts of the people and behind the scenes to bring about this glorious experience.”
TPUM associate education director Mele Vaihola said 26 students from Beulah College and three from Hilliard Memorial School were baptised. She recently visited the schools to support their harvesting programs and to provide guidance on how to implement accreditation improvement framework.
At Beulah College, four of the baptised students were from Adventist families, with the remainder from various denominational backgrounds: 11 Methodist, three Mormon, one Catholic and four from the Free Church of Tonga.
Among those baptised was Tevita, a young man from a strong Mormon background, who only enrolled at Beulah College this year. He originally asked the principal to be a day student because he could not afford to be a boarder. However, when some of the volunteer teachers found out about Tevita’s circumstances, they offered to provide his school fees and bedding so that he could be a boarding student.
“The school boarding program . . . has contributed to mould Tevita’s life and the working of the Holy Spirit [has helped to influence] Tevita [to] make this important decision in his life,” Ms Vaihola said.
Also making the decision for baptism were 15-year-old twins whose father is a Methodist pastor and who transferred to Beulah College from a Methodist school this year. The girls’ family told them that they would not witness their baptisms. Despite this, the girls have remained positive. “When [they were] asked how do they feel now, with tears in their eyes they said, ‘we feel good and we are glad we made that choice’,” Ms Vaihola said.
“God is working at Beulah! Let’s continue to pray for our schools, especially students who are facing opposition from home in regards to their decision for baptism.”