Free resources about the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission:
- Mission address and phone number
- Mission map
- Video interviews with returned missionaries
- Missionary blogs
- Facebook groups
- LDS Mission t-shirts and gifts
- List of past mission presidents
- Cultural articles written by returned missionaries
- Survey with RMs
Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission Address
Here’s a recent address for the Nuku’alofa Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.
Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission
P.O. Box 58
Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga
Phone Number: 676-20-334
Mission President: President Sione Tuione
Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission Map
Here’s a link to the mission map for the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the Nuku’alofa Mission:
Videos with Nuku’alofa RMs
Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Nuku’alofa Mission. We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.
LDS-Friendly Videos about Tonga
Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Tonga. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Tonga, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.
Tonga Nuku’alofa Missionary Blogs
Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Nuku’alofa Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.
Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission Groups
Here are Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Nuku’alofa Mission.
- Nuku’alofa Mission 1989-92 Pres. Isileli Kongaika Group (107 members)
- Nuku’alofa Tonga Mission 2010-2013 Group (82 members)
- Nuku’alofa Mission Presidents Kivalu, Banks Group (61 members)
Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission T-Shirts
Here are T-shirts for the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission!
Shirt designs include Nuku’alofa Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL. The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.
*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Nuku’alofa missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.
Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission Presidents
Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Nuku’alofa Mission.
- 2016-2019, Sione Tuione
- 2013-2016, Leitoni M. Tupou
- 2010-2013, ‘Aisake K. Tukuafu
- 2007-2010, Lynn C. McMurray
- 2004-2007, Siaosi R. Moleni
- 2001-2004, Douglas C. Banks
- 1998-2001, Taniela Kelikupa Kivalu
- 1995-1998, Alifeleti Malupo
- 1992-1995, Samisoni Uasila’a
- 1989-1992, Isileli T. Kongaika
- 1986-1989, Eric Shumway
- 1983-1986, Melvin Butler
- 1980-1983, Pita Hopoate
- 1977-1980, Sione Tu’alau Latu
- 1974-1977, Tonga Toutai Paletu’a
- 1972-1974, Charles Woodworth
- 1969-1972, James P. Christensen
- 1966-1969, John H. Groberg
- 1963-1966, Patrick Dalton
- 1959-1963, Vernon M. Coombs
- 1955-1959, Fred W. Stone
- 1952-1955, D’Monte Coombs
- 1950-1952, Evon W. Huntsman
- 1948-1950, Emile C. Dunn
- 1946-1948, Evon W. Huntsman
- 1936-1946, Emile C. Dunn
- 1933-1936, Rueben M. Wilberg
- 1932-1933, Verl Stubbs
Tonga LDS Statistics (2015)
- Church Membership: 63,065
- Missions: 1
- Temples: 1
- Congregations: 166
- Family History Centers: 19
Helpful Articles about Tonga
Tonga Nuku’alofa Missionary Survey
Here are survey responses from Tonga Nuku’alofa RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.
When did you serve?
- February 2010-August 2011 (Ema)
- October 2010-October 2012 (Colton)
- 2013-2015 (Caleb)
- 2002-2004 (Mike)
- 2002-2004 (Daniel)
- 1991-1993 (Andrew)
Which areas did you serve in?
- Lapaha, Liahona, Lotofoa, Ha’afeva, Fotuha’a, Tefisi, Ohonua, Nuku’alofa. (Mike)
- Veitongo, Kanokupolu, Vava’u, ‘Uiha, Lapaha, Eua, Te’ekiu, (Daniel)
- Veitongo, Tongatapu / Neiafu, Vava’u / Fasi Tongatapu (Mission Office) / Pangai, Ha’apai / Vaipoa, Niuatoputapu / Houma Vava’u (Andrew)
What were some favorite foods?
- Lamb flaps cooked with tomato, crab and sausage. (Ema)
- Roasted suckling pig, raw fish, dog. (Colton)
- Lu sipi and ufi. (Caleb)
- Lu pulu, Ota ika, Puaka. (Mike)
- Lu Sipi, ‘Ota Ika, Tunu puaka, Mango momoho, Talo Tonga. (Daniel)
- Lu Pulu (Corn beef, coconut cream, onions, wrapped in Taro leaves and baked in an ‘umu or underground oven), Otaika (Cured Raw Fish), Otai (Fresh fruit slush, sweetened in coconut cream), Mango, Faina (Pineapple), Keke Siaine (Banana Cake Balls) Faikakai (Dumplings in Coconut Cream Caramel Sauce) Valu (Tuna) Manioke Paku Paku (Umu roasted Cassava) Ufi (Yam) and Kumala (Sweet Potato) Sipi tunu (Barbecued Mutton) Vai Lesi (Papaya Chutney), Lesi mo e Niu (Fresh Shaved Coconut on Fresh Papya – Sublime), Tava (No translation), Lo’i Hoosi and Kuli (Ifo he ifo!) (Andrew)
What was a funny experience?
- The main transport during the mission was walking. During the long walks, it would be boring or long, or just too sunny to walk. What made it worse was when people in vehicles would drive by and give us a totally stiff look. I told my companions we would oppose that look with a wave and a smile. We would just laugh at how surprised the drivers were when we just waved and smiled. It made walking fun. (Ema)
- The entire mission is a funny experience. The Tongan people have the best sense of humor. (Colton)
- The first time I ate dog (as Tongans do eat dog and other strange foods), I really couldn’t enjoy it because it felt like I was eating a pet. I soon got over that though. (Caleb)
- There was a horse born in Eua that was born without a tail “ho’osi ta’e hiku” it became a pretty funny thing… (Mike)
- I developed a strong friendship with a non-member father in a partial member family. We would joke about how stubborn he was about joining the church. I would use the term from The Book of Mormon to say he had a “stiff neck.” It turns out that in the decades since the translation of The Book of Mormon into Tongan – the term used to describe stiff neckedness had taken on a crude meaning. I always wondered why he laughed when I said it until he finally clued me in. (Daniel)
- My companion referred to my hair brush as a “Helu” which really means comb, but I did not know that, I knew the word for tooth (nifo) so, feeling clever at the local store I proudly asked for a “helu nifo” or Tooth Comb, I was laughed at something fierce. Embarrassing but funny. (Andrew)
What was a crazy experience?
- Going by ferry from the main island (Tongatapu) to the outer island (Ha’apai). I think it was just crazy because a ferry had sunk just a few months before the trip. (Ema)
- A crazy dangerous experience was when I flew on a 10-seat plane from one island to another on the morning of a hurricane. A lot of the ladies on the plane were screaming as the pilot had a hard time getting the plane to land safely. (Colton)
- My companion and I were serving on a small island and while we were out there, there was a massive storm that hit us. We were stuck inside all day until it was over. Luckily no one was hurt who lived on the island but there was some destruction to outside bathrooms and kitchens. (Caleb)
- On a boat from Eua to Nuku’alofa there was a huge storm with waves so high I thought it would swallow our little boat whole. When the boat would go down in the waves there were huge walls of water 360 degrees around us. Thought we were going to sink. (Mike)
- We approached a guy mowing his lawn (chopping it with a machete) and he immediately started yelling at us and chased us off his property. While a non-native missionary unintentionally (or intentionally?) called a girl a derogatory name in front of her father. When we showed up (as zone leaders), a small crowd had formed and the father was holding a tire iron and shaking in rage. It took a town hall where everyone expressed their grievances in order to calm the situation down. Chalk this one up to a language discrepancy – got to be careful what you say when you don’t really know what it means. (Daniel)
- We were teaching a wonderful older sister, her name was Telesia Mahe. She had been an “investigator” for over five years. We were giving a lesson in her home. Her son was drunk and irritated by our presence and threatened to hack at us with a bush knife, which he was holding. Telesia had finally had enough. She chastised her son and made it clear, “This is my house, not yours, and these are my friends. If I want the missionaries to teach me they will teach me and if I want to be baptized I will be baptized.” Her son dissappeared from the house. The next discussion we challenged her to be baptized and she accepted and was baptized just two weeks later. It was scary for a moment but became an awesome turning point in her journey of faith. (Andrew)
What was a spiritual experience?
- Every baptism was spiritual just thinking of how the restored Gospel had been accepted. Other spiritual experiences were when you had a golden investigator. That one investigator you feel is in tune with the Spirit and is willing to accept the Gospel freely. (Ema)
- The mission is a giant spiritual experience, but the best spiritual experience was just watching others come to know the truthfulness of the Gospel and helping them change their lives. (Colton)
- Seeing a woman that I had been involved in her baptism after over a year and she had, by this time, gone through the temple with her husband and baby. It was so powerful seeing her again. (Caleb)
- My companion and I were having a hard time finding people to teach so we decided to fast. We said we were going to fast until we got a lesson. After a couple days we finally had a family bring us someone to teach, it was totally out of the blue, but it was a pretty cool experience. (Mike)
- We found an investigator family in my first area that was half German so they all spoke English. They agreed to take the discussions. First discussion went great and the two daughters agreed to read the Book of Mormon. When we came back a few days later for the second lesson, we saw the Book of Mormon in their room next to a melted down candle. Their mom was a bit angry because they had stayed up super late reading the book. When we finished the second discussion, the two girls asked about temples and I was prompted to stay silent but let my companion answer. He bore his testimony and it felt like fire descended down on the room. It was tangible. The two girls started weeping. The Spirit was the strongest I have ever felt. We looked at each member of the family and testified that that what they were feeling was a manifestation of the Holy Ghost confirming the truth. Both daughters wanted to be baptized but their mother wouldn’t let us come back after that. I hope that those two girls have managed to find the gospel again and get baptized. (Daniel)
- Too many to recount, but for starters, getting off the plane in that heat and humidity in February was brutal. The office elders blabbered away in native Tongan, and even after eight weeks in Provo trying to get the basics, it sounded like confusion on speed, I was sure I would never make it my language. I didn’t know how to properly eat a mango on that ride to meet our mission President (Kongaika at the time) so the stringy flesh got horribly stuck in my teeth. I am sure I had that look on my face that communicated “What am I doing here?” The following Sunday we sat in front of a choir at a priesthood meeting. What came from them was powerful and ethereal, I was reduced to leaky eyes. The feeling I had of belonging and being where I was supposed to be wiped the fear from my expression. So needed that. (Andrew)
What are some interesting facts about the Nuku’alofa Mission?
- You are loved by the ward members IF you serve diligently (why not? you are supposed to serve that way anyways). That love is shown in many ways: being fed well, taken care of with necessities, etc. If you have two or more of something, get ready to have only one or none of it. Tip- just have one of each, having two or more means you share or have it taken. (Ema)
- Tonga has one of the last Monarchs in the world, there are more Tongans living outside of Tonga than who live in Tonga. Tonga has an extremely high literacy rate and the highest number of PHD’s per capita of any country in the world and also has the highest number of LDS members per capita than any country in the world. (Colton)
- About 50% of the Tongan population have been baptized into the church but only about 17% are active. Still a huge proportion. (Caleb)
- There are very few palangi missionaries, most of the missionaries are natives. Tonga has the largest percentage of members per capita in the world. (Mike)
- The most common food during preparation day missionary activities was roasted dog. We had two or three mission boats which would collect Elders for district meetings and also help during transfers. My first area as a lead companion with a non-native speaker started by the boat driver beaching the boat, throwing our bags on onto a deserted beach (politely) and telling us that our house was a mile walk through the bush down a deserted road. The Elders still wore traditional dress (skirts and woven belts). On some smaller islands it was considered disrespectful to wear western pants, so non-native Elders would wear traditional dress as well. Some islands requires Elders to swim from the boat to get to the island because there was no safe harbor to dock (20-30 meter swim). We had to ride a big cargo ship for 24 hours when we were transferred to the northern islands. (Daniel)
- 40% of the general population are LDS. The church buildings in each village shine out as beautiful examples of the restored gospel and its mission. One of the current King’s sons has recently joined the church, putting another famous face on the religion, which more than ever is garnering more and more respect in the islands. As with all cultures there are good and bad people, but generally the people of Tonga are kind and respectful and will go out of their way to be accommodating. I never spent a moment being concerned about receiving a meal or a ride, or help. Mosquitoes are everywhere dawn and dusk are the worst. Do not scratch (could break the skin and start a staff infection, which happened to a few Elders) you have to learn to be patient and wait for the body to simply stop reacting to the bites. Your immunity to the itch response will increase. You will find that captured rain water from a cistern tastes great, but if you don’t have a regimen of boiling the water, straining it and letting it cool before you drink, you can subject your guts to unfriendly guests, and a whole lot of discomfort. I found that telling stories and jokes were the simplest way to be welcomed in conversation, so find a way to be at least a little entertaining when getting to know your friends. When travelling by sea ferry, get a spot on the upper deck, with shade and space to lie down. Otherwise you will spend your time bent over the rail, trying to imagine painless ways to end it all. (Andrew)
What was the weather like?
- Tropical. It rains during winter, and there’s hot breeze during the summer. (Ema)
- The weather is hot and humid, but awesome. Just be prepared to sweat. (Colton)
- Humid and hot most of the time. (Caleb)
- Humid, sometimes hot, beautiful. (Mike)
- Hot and humid. (Daniel)
- Summers (November to April) are muggy and hot. The cool months are drier and nice, sometimes you even need a thicker sheet to be warm at night (55 degrees some evenings). Rain in the warmer months is a regular occurance contributing to the overwhelming humidity at times which makes drying washed clothes a near impossibility. (Andrew)
Any things you really like about the area/people?
- They live a simple life. You will be told they are at home most of the time, but even being home is busy. (Ema)
- Everything. Tonga is amazing and the people are amazing. (Colton)
- The people are so humble and giving and kind. The places were always beautiful and peaceful. There is no rush for anything…everything is laid back. (Caleb)
- They are a very friendly people, easy to love, faithful. (Mike)
- Most generous and loving people on earth. Yet warriors at heart. The Tongan culture is the exact opposite of American culture. In America, it is all about what you accumulate. In Tonga, it is all about what you give away. At first you think one way is right and one way is wrong. By the end of your mission, you appreciate that both cultures are beautiful in their own way – neither right, nor wrong. And you can take the positives from each and incorporate into your life. For the majority of my mission, I had one pair of pants, one pair of sandals, one pair of garments. I washed my shirt every night outside and garments every morning in the shower. Besides clothes, I had a couple of books, my scriptures, and my workout gear. That was it. It was strangely refreshing to not have to worry about “things.” I didn’t want for anything. I had what I needed and nothing more. Fantastic perspective building experience simply letting go of the fixation on material possessions. (Daniel)
- The people become friends for life. The beauty of the Tongan people and their island mindset is more beautiful than the scenery but the scenery is awesome. Ocean baptisms are the best, and your only chance to obediently enjoy the crystal clear waters of Tonga. There are genuine paradise vistas and moments that take your breath away. The hardest day of the mission was watching the islands disappear from the plane windows. (Andrew)
Any packing/clothing advice?
- Since there is “uniform” clothing to wear on the mission, I had few Preparation Day clothes- not more than five. It was just easier and lighter to pack. If you have more clothes you do not want to send back home, leave it at the mission office storage room. (Ema)
- Anything you plan on taking you should be prepared to “share” with others. The mindset of ownership is different in Tonga. (Colton)
- Just have enough shirts to last your mission because they are hard to come by in Tonga, and you’ll have to learn to live without a few things if you don’t pack enough garments and toiletries etc. (Caleb)
- Mesh garments, sandals, light weight short sleeve shirts. (Mike)
- Light, quick drying and durable. (Daniel)
- I prefer cotton underwear. Not the best for drying on the line, but better at breathing and allowing some cooling during the day. Have a few cool mesh options as they can be wrung out and worn a bit damp. A thin towel or two would have been ideal, I would even say now to bring a micro fiber cloth to dry off with. Thick towels always smell musty. Don’t take anything you hope to keep or bring home again. You won’t bring it home. If you allow the experience to become a part of you, former possessions lose their meaning other than the happiness they can bring to the people you love in the mission. (Andrew)
What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?
- They are endless. I was accepted to BYU-Hawaii two weeks before I returned home. I married in the temple. I have a son and I’m independent and blessed to live in Tonga. (Ema)
- I ended up marrying a Tongan from New Zealand, who was born in Tonga. I know have a half Tongan son and we are planning to move back and live in Tonga. My entire life revolves around my mission. (Colton)
- I can speak Tongan and I learned more about the type of person that I want to be. I also am thankful for all my blessings having learned to recognize and acknowledge them. I have also made many long term friends due to my mission. (Caleb)
- Too many to count. (Mike)
- Almost every accomplishment/achievement/blessing I received since my mission I attribute in some way, shape or form to my missionary service. It was really hard as I look back on it. But, everything I am today can be traced back to my service. (Daniel)
- Beautiful wife and a beautiful life. Had an experimental business in Tonga for a few years (a troubled youth treatment center.) Ended up with an opportunity to adopt a Tongan baby girl (she is now 11). My trainer companion married a Tongan American sister and eventually made their way to be among her family in Utah. We found each other, and our families have been bonded since. Their nephew is now my second daughter’s husband (He is a Wolfgramm but doesn’t speak Tongan) and I now have three gorgeous granddaughters. The blessings really do keep coming since I decided to serve. (Andrew)
What are some skills you gained?
- Most importantly obedience, independence, and reliance on the Lord always. (Ema)
- I learned to be humble and to love my companion- my mission companions and my eternal companion. Also, I learned how to strive for goals. (Colton)
- The language and also study skills. (Caleb)
- Ability to open a soup can with a machete. (Mike)
- Patience, open-mindedness, strict obedience, faith, generosity, love. (Daniel)
- Fluency in a foreign language is an amazing experience. It changes how you perceive and interact with the world around you. My storytelling and teaching abilities I owe in large part to my experience as a full time missionary in Tonga. Giving impromptu talks at church were a weekly experience. It becomes a skill. Driving a manual transmission with right hand drive was a great lesson in ambidextrousness (probably not a word) but mission accomplished! (Andrew)
What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?
- I wish I controlled my diet/appetite. I wish I had spoken to more people about the Gospel. (Ema)
- I wish I knew how to be humble at the beginning of my mission and realize I should forgive others’ imperfections just as the Lord forgives my own. (Colton)
- I wish I had a greater understanding of the gospel before I left. (Caleb)
- Brought a better camera. (Mike)
- There is no “right” or “best” culture. Only different cultures. All with positives and all with negatives. Learn to appreciate the positives and not dwell on the negatives. (Daniel)
- I wish I had access to Groberg’s book (In the eye of the Storm or recently retitled “The Other Side of Heaven”) before going. His experiences as a missionary and later a president in his follow up book, were amazing to read even after getting home, but would have been inspiring before going. (Andrew)
Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Tonga?
- You go out there and “serve”. Make life easier for yourself by obeying the missionary rules/handbook. You will have companions that will make missionary work difficult, but do not let them pull you down to their level. You keep praying for a way to preach the Gospel and keep to the missionary handbook. (Ema)
- LOVE YOUR COMPANION, and love the people. Work hard and realize the Spirit will be with you as you love God’s children in the Isles of Tonga. (Colton)
- Stay faithful and true to the white hand book. It’s the only way you will have the spirit with you at all times, as long as you follow it with both your heart and mind. (Caleb)
- Love the people and accept them for who they are. (Mike)
- Strict obedience. Serving a mission without adhering to strict obedience is completely ridiculous. Either you are fully in or not. No gray area. If you are obedient and work hard, at the end of your mission, the Lord will acknowledge and consecrate your service. This experience is one of the most precious I have. (Daniel)
- We had a branch president in the MTC who asked us during a meeting what the difference was between getting up at 6:00 am and 6:01. One elder made the mistake of answering “One minute President.” To which our BP responded, “It is the difference between obedience and disobedience.” This was a powerful lesson for me. The work of bringing souls to Christ’s restored gospel is not our doing, but the Spirit’s. Our responsibility is to become the tool by which the Spirit can do its work. The best way to be the sharpest tool in the box is obedience to even the apparently mundane rules of when to wake up and go to sleep. The next advice I have to give is simply to love the people before you even meet them. They are your brothers and sisters, children of the same loving Heavenly Father, and they desperately need what we have, namely faith and understanding of the Lord’s plan, and Christ’s role as our redeemer, and the blessings that cone so freely when we participate in His restored church. Read the scriptures in Tongan out loud and write in the Tongan you have learned. Gove your brain the chance to soak it in from all angles. At the end of my work, a stranger over heard me on the phone in a church office, when I cam out and he realized I was the one talking, he said, “I would have never guessed you weren’t Tongan.” Great compliment. (Andrew)
What was a funny language mistake?
- One of my companions thought she had fully understood Tongan (with help from the Spirit). I did the translating for her. We went to the dentist for a check up, when I turned around to translate she had told me “no, I think I understand what she said.” In my head I thought “oh finally, no more translating.” After, she explained that the dentist said the tooth is infected and it can affect the blood and get to the heart. In my head I was saying, “oops, still need to do translating”. The dentist just said that the tooth (false tooth) needed to be taken out every night before going to sleep and because it had not been and it had infected the gum it was covering. Nothing to do with the blood and heart, nope. You will not fully understand the language all at once, or even if you do it would be nice to confirm it with a native. (Ema)
- In Tongan te’epile is table, but te’epilo is the flatulate. So I was blessing the food and meant to say “please bless the food on this table,” but I said “please bless the food on this flatulence”. There were many other mistakes made by me and other missionaries. (Colton)
- I said a rather insulting word during a talk once because I didn’t know that the particular way that I used it was insulting. (Caleb)
- The mission president’s wife was speaking in zone conference and must not have known she was saying a vulgar word, she must have said it at least a dozen times… (Mike)
- One of the main words in the Tongan language is Faka. And tired is “Fakahela.” There were lots of nasty looks from other missionaries in the MTC. (Daniel)
- Told the story above. Find out the bad words to avoid saying them by accident. And potty talk of any kind is considered poor taste. Don’t do it. Never tell anyone what your body is going through or what you are about to do in the toilet. Never talk about toilet events. Ever. Oh and breaking wind is unacceptable. Period. Doesn’t matter how sincerely you say “Excuse me.” (Andrew)