The Queen of Tonga was the guest of honour at a prayer breakfast organised by the women’s ministries department of Tonga Mission.
Around 400 people, mainly women leaders, gathered at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall in Nuku’alofa for the special breakfast on November 18. More than half of the attendees were non-Adventist.
It was the first time the breakfast had been held. The theme was “Women leaders—for such a time as this”, with keynote speakers General Conference women’s ministries director Heather-Dawn Small and South Pacific Division women’s ministries director Erna Johnson.
Alisi Fonokalafi, who leads women’s ministries for Tonga Mission, said it was an outreach program “aimed at planting seeds of our faith and values into women leaders of Tonga” and as part of preparations for future evangelistic programs.
Ms Fonokalafi said the program was made possible through funding from the Trans-Pacific Union Mission’s city evangelism program, which covered about 30 per cent of the expenses. Women of the Tongatapu district contributed the food.
“Feedback from the visitors who attended was very positive and they are already asking when we will have the next program,” she said.
Mrs Johnson said it was a great honour to meet Queen Nanasipau’u.
“I had never spoken to royalty before,” she said. “We met her when she arrived and when she left we walked out with her and had a good chat. She was very, very appreciative of the messages that were presented and she said, can we make sure that it (the breakfast) is done on a yearly basis.
“She also told us that her grandmothers, both on her mum’s and dad’s sides, were Seventh-day Adventists so she knows about us.
“She was very down-to-earth and spoke to us just as if she was one of us. It was a great honour.”
Several other royally-connected Adventists were at the breakfast, including a first cousin to the Queen.