Latter-day Saint Life

Tony Finau, Elders John Groberg and Vai Sikahema Talk Church Growth in Tonga and the Power of Missionary Work Worldwide


As a young missionary first arriving in Tonga in 1953, Elder John Groberg couldn't imagine the impact that the small island nation and its people would have on his life and on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now, nearly 66 years later — despite still appearing as little more than a period on the map of the world, — Tonga holds the highest per capita rate of Church members of any country in the world and, as Elder Groberg said, the power of the missionary work there continues beyond his imagination.

"I think it shows that anything is possible to the Lord," said Elder Groberg, now an emeritus general authority, in a recent interview with the Church News. "Over the years, to watch the influence as the Church has become stronger and stronger, and as the people become more and more faithful ... I think about how Joseph Smith said the gospel would fill North and South America — and the whole world — and it makes me realize that it can and will happen because I've seen it on a smaller scale."

Story by Aubrey Eyre, Church News. Lead image from Church News courtesy of Elder Groberg.
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