Following an increasing number of murders and road deaths recently, the Tonga National Forum of Church Leaders organised an evening of Sacred National Prayer, on 25th of March.
In the four weeks between 4 February and 4 March, there were six alleged murders in Tonga, along with a higher than normal crime rate, and the most powerful cyclone since records began hit the islands. Church leaders suspect that the unusually high death rate is a result of the “sinful way of life” that Tongans are currently living. Illegal drugs and excess alcohol were said to be the cause of some of the fatalities.
The obvious rise in crime during this period, in sharp comparison to the entire year of 2017, is a serious cause of concern for church leaders. The service called for the people to pray and intervene for the country and the growing challenges it is facing.
Following the murder of an Asian couple in Tonga, Rev Dr Mohenoa Puloka asked Tongans to welcome foreign visitors “just as foreign nations welcome our Tongan sisters and brothers when they seek a better life abroad”.
Thousands of people attended the service asking for repentance and renewal. Royals such as His Majesty King Tupou VI, Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu and Lord Tuita made an appearance to ask for forgiveness for the country and offer it up to God. One of the church leaders asked everyone, including the King, to kneel and offer their prayers to God.
Poor weather did not deter anyone as seven choirs performed to the thousands in the run-up to the service. A famous Tongan hymn called “Pule’anga mo e Siasi ka e malohi ha fonua“, meaning ‘Governance and the Church that dominate a country’ says the church and state must stand together for the country to stand at all.