RACE, RELIGION + SOCIAL JUSTICE

Church president arrives in Tonga as part of Pacific ministry tour

May 24, 2019, 11:49 AM

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga — President Russell M. Nelson, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has arrived in Tonga as part of his Pacific ministry tour.

church president tonga pacific ministry tour

Members of the church wrote signs to welcome President Russell M. Nelson to Tonga. Copyright 2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

It’s the first time a church president has visited Tonga since 1997, and church members there say they are grateful.

“I don’t think I can find the right words,” one man told KSL TV. “I’m just excited and we’re just overwhelmed that the prophet is visiting our island.”

President Nelson met with the king and queen of Tonga before speaking to a large outdoor gathering.

“You are precious to us and to the Lord,” President Nelson told the crowd. “We love you. We miss you when we are away from you.”

President Nelson told reporters he spoke about the importance of family with the Tongan king.

There are about 65,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country, roughly 61 percent of its population.

President Nelson’s Pacific ministry tour will conclude with a visit to Tahiti on Friday. Stops along the way included Hawaii, Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

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