September 2, 2017

225 Baptisms Make History in Tonga

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record

Twenty-nine students from two Adventist schools in Tonga were baptized recently—part of a harvesting program that resulted in a record 225 baptisms for the island nation.

Beulah students after their recent baptism. [Photo: Adventist Record]

Earlier this year Tongan pastors committed to following an organic process of discipleship. As part of the initiative, all Tongan ministers serving overseas were invited to return to their home church and conduct public evangelistic meetings from July 16-30.

“It is a milestone that cannot be achieved without God’s divine intervention”

On the last Sabbath, identified as the “Day of Pentecost,” history was made as the Tonga Mission for the first time saw 225 baptisms at 28 different sites.

“It is a milestone that cannot be achieved without God’s divine intervention,” said 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 baptized. She recently visited the schools to support their evangelism programs and to provide guidance on how to implement an accreditation improvement framework.

At Beulah College, four of the baptized students were from Adventist families, with the remainder from various denominational backgrounds.

Among those baptized was Tevita, a young man from another faith tradition, 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 in the dorms. 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 mold Tevita’s life and the working of the Holy Spirit [has helped to influence] Tevita [to] make this important decision,” Vaihola said.

Also deciding for baptism were 15-year-old twins who transferred to Beulah College from another faith-based 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 they feel now, with tears in their eyes they said, ‘we feel good, and we are glad we made that choice,’” Vaihola said.

“God is working at Beulah! Let’s continue to pray for our schools, especially students who are facing opposition in their homes after making a decision [for Christ],” she said.