Tonga Christians say God protected their nation from volcanic eruption more powerful than Hiroshima

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Tongan Christians have publicly given thanks to God for saving their South Pacific island kingdom when a massive volcanic eruption, which NASA experts say was hundreds of times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb, poured over the tiny nation on January 15, Christianity Today (CT) reports. Given the intensity of the eruption and the potential for destruction, many say it is a miracle that the number of casualties was not exceedingly higher than three.

The January 15 eruption caused several inches of ash to cover the Tonga islands, and created 50-foot high waves that swept away villages and resorts, CT said. “Rushing water pushed boulders and debris onto roads. The undersea telecommunications cable connecting the South Pacific nation of 105,000 residents with the rest of the world snapped,” CT added in its report.

As communication with Tonga was cut off, Tongans who are now living in the US, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere called for prayer for the islands and for their loved ones there. “These were sleepless nights for me and many Tongans around the globe,” Sela Finau, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Taylor, in Texas told CT. “We were desperately waiting to hear any word of life from the kingdom. While our communication line was down with family and the people of Tonga, we leaned onto our faith. We knew that our communication line with God was always open and that we could petition for God’s mercy and protection.”

The call to prayer was powerful and many answered. “Some people have never been to Tonga, some people have never heard of Tonga, but when the call to prayer was made from one believer to another, people prayed,” Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, regional secretary for the World Evangelical Alliance’s South Pacific Evangelical Region told CT.

The population of Tonga is mostly Protestant Christian (64.9%). Indeed, the islands were dedicated to God by King Tupou who, in 1839 adopted a new motto for his kingdom: Ko e ʻOtua mo Tonga Ko Hoku Tofiʻa (“God and Tonga are my inheritance”). Confirming his country’s dependence on prayer, Tonga resident Christian Feʻilaokitau Kaho Tevi told CT: “If we’re estimating the explosion to have been [many] times the explosion in Hiroshima, it’s just a surprise and wonder that we’re still here. We are in God’s hands. He has brought us through a number of disasters and we’ve come out safe and sound.”

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