By Jim Day
Editor’s note: This is the second column about a group’s mission trip to Tonga. If you have not read the first column, you will find it online at https://www.christianlivingmag.com/god-dots-god-connects-the-dots-geographically/
Welcome back. I know that in the last issue we ended with a teaser about the Queen of Tonga getting involved with our friends from Washington, but I realized that there is so much more to tell before we get there.
Before their first trip to Tonga, mutual friends Doc, Charmayne, Joe, and Mary had been getting together frequently to pray for the nation of islands. They prayed for a year and a half before even booking a trip. One night during their prayer time together, they stood around the coffee table to pray. To them, the coffee table represented Tonga.
Joe remembers distinctly praying that God would use an organization, like YWAM (Youth With a Mission), to establish an outpost or school in Tonga and prayed that He would provide the way for that to happen. They had no knowledge of the fact that YWAM had been looking at Tonga as a location for a new University of Nations campus.
YWAM had already spoken to the King of Tonga to attempt to procure a parcel of land. You see, at that time in Tonga, the king owned everything. Houses and businesses were only built with his approval and the land was leased. Ownership was retained by the king.
Shortly after speaking with him, YWAM had permission to build a University of Nations on a parcel donated by the king. They hired a contractor from Switzerland to build the school.
Everything in Tonga that is produced outside of Tonga must be brought in on cargo ships. This makes building materials almost threee times more expensive than here in the States. Out of nowhere, a ship came to Tonga loaded with building materials, but there was no one to buy them. At least not in the quantities that the ship held. The crew of the ship needed to sell off the cargo in order to make space to reload the ship with export goods. YWAM purchased all the materials at a huge discount and the University of Nations was built.
The prayer group had no idea that YWAM had a presence in Tonga and was trying to make any kind of connection with any church or organization in that region for the whole time that they were praying. All of this was so that they could understand why they were praying and why God had put it on all of their hearts. When they couldn’t make any connections in Tonga, Charmayne suggested that they just go there. There was no argument in the group and planning ensued.
With flights booked just a week before they were to leave, someone at the Nazarene Church in Leavenworth, Wash. brought a YWAM newsletter to church. There was an article about the newly built university. Charmayne called and made the first connection in Tonga the next day.
The group visited the YWAM campus and that’s where they met the contractor from Switzerland. They got to comparing their notes and found out that the ship, with all that building material, had shown up right after the foursome had prayed around the coffee table. God had answered their specific prayer!
It is interesting that, after their arrival, on the second morning after breakfast and prayer, there was a knock on their door. It was a native Tongan asking for prayer. They all prayed and were invited on a tour of historic places. A couple of hours later, the man returned with friends and the now-large group piled into several four-wheel drive vehicles and went to several locations where they paused to pray at each spot. That became the pattern for the rest of their first trip.
Every morning, they would get a knock on the door. Joe says that God had their whole trip planned down to the smallest of details. God even gave them a couple of days to go and enjoy the beaches and the beauty of the wonderful island paradise that is Tonga.
They just got up every morning and walked around praying. One day, some locals joined them. As they got near to a forested area, they heard something in the bush. It was a child. The locals explained that the child had a disability and had been abandoned by its family. The child needed medical care, so Joe and Charmayne prayed for and treated the child. Later that day, they found more children – and they knew why God had called them.
They all returned home together as planned, but they knew that they would be going back to Tonga. Our God hears our prayers and calls us to pray, sometimes for people we don’t even know. I am always amazed at how the God of everything wants to partner with us to accomplish His good will. There is so much more to the story and so many God Dots. Next issue we will continue this saga.