General Conference President Receives Warm Welcome in Tonga

Ted N. C. Wilson and his wife, Nancy, meet with church and government leaders.

Tracey Bridcutt and Jarrod Stackelroth, Adventist Record
General Conference President Receives Warm Welcome in Tonga
Fanueli Mataele snaps a selfie shot as Ted and Nancy Wilson and Maveni Kaufononga wait to be received by the Tongan king. [Photo: Tonga Mission, Adventist Record]

General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson and his wife, Nancy, received a warm welcome from the people of Tonga upon their arrival to the Pacific island kingdom on May 13.

The Wilsons were greeted at Fua‘amotu International Airport by government and local Adventist Church leaders, including all the pastors from the church’s 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 traveled 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 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 principal Ronald Stone, Samoa-Tokelau Mission president Sione Ausage, and Trans Pacific Union Mission president Maveni Kaufononga. Also on the May 13 agenda was an audience with King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau‘u and a meeting with Tonga’s Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni. In the evening, Wilson spoke during a church worship service at Beulah.

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

Wilson traveled from Papua New Guinea, where he had been involved in the PNG for Christ evangelistic series. The Tonga Mission is holding its own Tonga for Christ program, and a number of Pacific region church leaders are taking part in that event. Wilson is spending four days in Tonga before heading to Fiji.

During his stop in Tonga, 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 the South Pacific Division contributed to the rebuilding efforts in Tonga, including aid from the Fiji Mission and food from New Zealand.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Tracey Bridcutt and Jarrod Stackelroth, Adventist Record