Pastor Wilson warmly welcomed to Tonga

Quick selfie: Pastor Fanueli Mataele snaps a shot as the Wilsons and Pastor Maveni wait to be received by the Tongan king.

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General Conference president Pastor Ted Wilson received a warm welcome from the people of Tonga upon his arrival to the Pacific island kingdom this morning (May 13).

Pastor Wilson and his wife Nancy were greeted at Fua’amotu International Airport by government and church leaders, including all the pastors from the Tonga Mission who lined the side of the tarmac.

Church members waited alongside the main road from the airport to greet the Wilsons as they travelled to their first stop, Beulah Adventist College, where an official reception was held.

Crowds lined the road from the airport to Beulah Adventist College to welcome the GC leader. Pathfinders and students from Beulah marched with the Tongan Adventist Brass Band, welcoming the Wilsons to the school, where Pastor Wilson was invited to raise the Tongan flag at the start of proceedings before the national anthem was played.

The program at Beulah was attended by Tonga’s deputy prime minister Samiu Vaipulu and church leaders including Tonga Mission president Fanueli Mataele, Fulton Adventist University College vice-chancellor Dr Ronald Stone, Samoa Tokelau Mission president, Sione Ausage and Trans Pacific Union Mission president, Maveni Kaufononga. Also on today’s agenda was an audience with King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u and a meeting with Tonga’s Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni. Tonight, Pastor Wilson will be speaking during a church worship service at Beulah.

In his welcome at Beulah Adventist College, Pastor Mataele wished the Wilsons a visit that would be filled with “meaningful exchanges, enriching experiences and cherished memories that will endure a lifetime.”

“Your visit to our humble nation is a testament to the strong bond and shared values between the Seventh-day Adventist church and the people of Tonga. Your leadership in guiding the global Seventh-day Adventist church community has been an inspiration to millions and we are truly privileged to have you among us today.

“As you immerse yourselves in the beauty of our island nation and the warmth of our people may you find solace and inspiration in the natural wonders that surround us.”

Pastor Wilson travelled from Papua New Guinea where he has been involved in the PNG for Christ program. The Tonga Mission is holding its own Tonga for Christ program and a number of Pacific church leaders are taking part in that event. Pastor Wilson is spending four days in Tonga before heading to Fiji this weekend.

During his stop in Tonga, Pastor Wilson will dedicate buildings at Beulah and the Tonga Mission office that were damaged in the tsunami created by the 2022 eruption of Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai, a submarine volcano in the Tongan archipelago. Support from around South Pacific Divison was contributed toward the rebuilding efforts in Tonga, including aid from Fiji Mission and food from New Zealand.

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