Tongan Saints

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Jeffrey R. Holland

I was recently in Vavau, Tonga. It is a little island which is one and a half hours away from Nuku’alofa by plane and twenty-four hours away by boat. By boat it is the worst trip that can be made. (If you don’t believe that, ask Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who went there recently to organize a stake and could not get a plane.) When the area conference was announced for Tonga, it was determined that only one boat would be available for the Saints from Vavau. The boat held 150 people. If you stuffed bodies into every possible corner of the ship, you could get close to three hundred people. Eight hundred Tongans jammed onto that boat and stood up for twenty-four hours without sleep, without food, without drink, without anything—because they knew that a prophet of God was going to be in their islands and they were not going to miss him for anything in the world.

Do you want to go to conference that badly? Do you care that the prophet of the Lord is speaking in the neighborhood? Do you care enough to flip on a television set, a radio, or to come to this building to watch a priesthood meeting? Eight hundred people stood up for twenty-four hours to get to conference, and they didn’t think anything about it. “The President of the Church is here,” they said. “That’s our prophet, and we may not see him again soon.” And they came.

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