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Fangaloto Ground Breaking Brings Excitement to Tongan Latter-day Saints

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) broke ground on Friday, 15 January, for a new chapel in Fangaloto, Tonga.

Elder O Vincent Haleck, a member or the Church’s Area Presidency in the Pacific area, presided at the ground breaking. He was joined by Tevita M. Hikila, president of the Nuku'alofa Tonga Stake.

A stake is a Mormon term for a group of congregations in a geographical area, similar to a diocese in other Christian churches.

The land for the building is being provided by Lord Tu’I Lakepa (estate holder), who joined the Church when he attended Liahona High School. Speaking of his decision to become a Latter-day Saint, Lord Lakepa said, “This is the right church to save our family and children.”

Speaking to those present, Elder Haleck said, “This chapel will long stand because of the Tu’I Lakepa family.  May we live faith, practice faith and keep the commandments. May we be reverent in this chapel when it is completed, as it is ‘a house of order, a house of prayer a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of God,’ and a house to remember the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement.” (Doctrine & Covenants 109:8)

President Hikila thanked those who helped make the occasion a historical day.  “The Lord has answered our prayers. Today we witness the blessings of those who have gone before us.  The pioneers from this stake, men, women and children who have sacrificed to contribute to this.  There are not many houses around now, but in the future, the Lord will prepare people to enlarge this ward.”

Garrick Parr, Tonga Service Centre manager for the Church, remarked during the proceedings, “Thank you for making Tonga a beautiful place to be.  May we feel the spirit and appreciate the faith of our ancestors and our parents and those who will follow. Today it is about respecting the past, present and looking ahead to the future.  May this chapel be a gathering place to build one another and worship the Lord.”

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