Church members minister at Tongan national prison

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Tonga Mission president Pastor Saia Vea and his wife (centre) were among the group who visited the prison.

A small group of believers in Nuku’ Alofa has embraced the idea of reaching the unreached through a recent visit to the Hu’atolitoli Main Prison Complex.

All of the inmates were brought together in the one venue as members of “Tonga’s 8 o’clock for Jesus” spoke with them, and offered words of encouragement and support. An inmate at the prison expressed his extreme gratitude for the experience.

“Here we only see two types of people: the prison wardens and fellow inmates,” he said. “Today, we are thrilled to see families, children, babies and all of you . . . come and visit us.”

“Tonga’s 8 o’clock for Jesus” group has been meeting for more than 35 years at 8am on Sabbath mornings. It is currently headed by a young Fijian Fulton College graduate Akuila Salabogi, supported by his wife and a young son. They offer an English service for non-Tongan speakers in an effort to further create relationships with the wider community. Membership has extended to those from around Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, in addition to countries in Europe and across the Atlantic.