|Elder and Sister Renlund shaking the hands|
of all missionaries prior to our meeting.
All of the LDS missionaries on Tongatapu were present and we filled the chapel. President and Sister Tuione (our mission president and his wife) spoke first and bore powerful testimonies. We have grown to love them and their family in a very short time. They are so loving, accepting and kind.
Then we heard testimony from Elder and Sister Hallstrom. They were last minute replacements for this trip with Elder Renlund but gladly accepted the assignment and made the trip on short notice. What a wonderful people they are as they testified of the divine callings of our Prophets and Apostles.
Sister Renlund got the audience involved as she told of her connection to Tonga. Her mother was born here as her grandparents served as missionaries (on multiple occasions) helping teach the Gospel and build Liahona as well as lay groundwork for the Church to expand here.
Elder Renlund gave a wonderful address as he reminded us (missionaries) that God loves each of us and is happy we are serving. He told us each of our callings is inspired of the Lord. He detailed some of his experiences extending calls and how the Spirit directed him. Some very special stories. Then he testified of the divine nature of the calling of Mission President for President and Sister Tuione and a few of the details of how that calling was made.
He demonstrated on a chart (to the left) that as missionaries, when our attitude is positive and our work is hard, we are working in the "quadrant of miracles". It puts a new perspective on what we are doing and really makes us want to do more to improve and work even harder. I think this pertains to all areas in our life as it relates to God, if we give it our all and do it with a good attitude we can expect to see miracles. He told us that by nature he operates in the upper left quadrant and it takes effort for him to show a joyous attitude even though he is always grateful.
He then pronounced an Apostolic blessing on all missionaries in the room promising blessings from the Lord as we served not only on us but on our loved ones at home. He promised us that as we keep the mission rules we will be protected and blessed with health and strength. It certainly brought both Becky and I to tears of joy as we felt the Spirit so strongly and knew that although we miss so many at home, they would also receive blessings.
We have only been set-apart as missionaries of 5 weeks now but have had some of the most amazing experiences of our lives.