|Kingdom of Tonga|
Area 747 sq.km. Archipelago of 171 coral and volcanic islands 600 km east of Fiji, 36 being inhabited.
Much emigration to Australia and New Zealand where 50,000 Tongans live.
Capital Nuku'alofa 32,000. Urbanites 43%. A considerable migration to the capital from outer islands.
Polynesian 98.3%. Tongans speaking three related languages.
Other 1.7%. English-speaking 600; Other Pacific Islanders 500; Chinese 250.
Literacy 100%. Official language Tongan. All languages 5. Languages with Scriptures 3Bi.
Subsistence agriculture and some tourism. The value of imports is four times larger than exports (mainly to Japan). Remittances from Tongans abroad and aid bridge the difference. Public debt 34% of GNP. Income/person $1,790 (6% of USA).
British Protected State 1900-1970. Constitutional monarchy with the king and nobles having the predominant influence. Since 1990 there has been a growing movement to curb the power of the aristocracy and make the constitution more democratic.
Though avowedly Christian, there is freedom for all religions. The Free Wesleyan Church enjoys a privileged position with the king as titular head.
The high doubly affiliated figure is largely due to Mormon claims for those who still retain membership of other denominations.
1 The Tongan Church has had a glorious history of missionary outreach, but for decades the vision has languished. Over the last ten years there has been renewed interest with evangelical Christians forming a group to promote a missions vision. YWAM's University of the Nations has a branch in Tonga with a specific burden to encourage this. Pray that good intentions may become Kingdom-advancing action.
2 The 20 th Century has been one of spiritual decline. There has been a sad history of bitter schisms within Methodism. Politics and Church are intimately intertwined. Doctrinal extremes and personalities have played their part in dividing denominations. Pray for humility and godliness to characterize leadership and pray for revival.
3 Tonga has the world's highest national percentage of Mormons, but probably half of those baptized as Mormons would not consider themselves such (hence the large doubly affiliated figure). The country's largest employers are Mormons. Pray for the error of this sect to be exposed as such, and for many to find freedom in Christ.
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