Missionaries in Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission safe; no contact yet with Tonga Outer Island Mission

Jan 17, 2022, 8:09 AM | Updated: 8:30 am

This photo from the Tonga Geological Services shows the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption and th...

This photo from the Tonga Geological Services shows the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption and the 3-mile-wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising to 12 miles above sea level on Jan. 14, 2022. (Tonga Geological Survey)

(Tonga Geological Survey)

SALT LAKE CITY — Missionaries serving in the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission have been reported safe following Saturday’s volcanic eruption and ensuing tsunamis in Tonga.

Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said as of Monday morning, no contact has been made with missionaries in Tonga’s second mission, the Tonga Outer Island Mission, due to damaged communication lines.

“We are praying earnestly for our brothers and sisters in Tonga, and for their loved ones across the world who are waiting for news,” said Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We are working with government and other officials in the region to identify urgent needs and how we can support efforts to alleviate suffering and help communities get back on their feet after this disaster. It is in times such as these that we are grateful for the generosity of members of the Church who donate to the Church Humanitarian fund for there will be a need of temporal assistance in Tonga.”

New Zealand and Australia were able to send military surveillance flights to Tonga on Monday to assess the damage from Saturday’s huge undersea volcanic eruption.

No casualties have been confirmed on Tonga, although a British woman was reported missing.

Updates trickle in from Tonga as Utah Tongan families look for ways to help

“Church leaders in Tonga are not aware of any loss of life on Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island,” officials said. “Reports from outer islands are still being sought but communication lines being down and rough seas are hampering efforts, although the Tongan Navy has now been able to put to sea to gather further information.”

The Church has a huge presence in Tonga, a country that, according to the Church, has the most Latter-day Saints per capita of any nation in the world.

Leaders previously announced the Church will distribute 50,000 donated masks that are already in Tonga and were previously sent for pandemic purposes. The masks are being distributed to prevent the inhaling of the volcanic dust that blanketed the island nation.

“There is only one color in Tonga right now, and that is a dark dust,” said local Church leader Elder Inoke Kupu.

Communication remains limited between the islands of Tonga and the international community after the sole underwater cable that connects Tonga to the outside world via Fiji was likely severed during the eruption.

Flights sent to assess Tonga damage after volcanic eruption

Samiuela Fonua, who chairs the board at Tonga Cable Ltd. which owns the cable, told the Associated Press it would likely take a week to fix a single break while multiple breaks could take up to three weeks to fix.

There are 174 congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tonga. A temple is located in Nuku’alofa and a second temple is being constructed on the island of Vava’u.

The Church owns 116 meetinghouses for worship services and other activities and runs six schools.

KSL 5 TV Live


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided an update on the ongoing renovation projec...

Mark Jones

Church provides update on Temple Square construction progress

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday provided an update on the ongoing renovation project at Temple Square.

19 hours ago

Lloyd Newell (left) has been the voice of "Music and the Spoken Word" for 35 years. Derrick Porter ...

Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

Iconic voice of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ to present his final program

The voice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “Music and the Spoken Word” program is saying goodbye after nearly 35 years.

23 hours ago

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d...

Carlysle Price

Elder Gong visits Brazil following floods, new projects in the works

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, an apostle with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with officials in Brazil on Thursday to see those affected by flooding, and plan new projects.

2 days ago

The fourth announcer, narrator, and presenter of the Spoken Word, Lloyd Newell....

Karah Brackin

Lloyd Newell to give final broadcast with Music and the Spoken Word

After nearly 35 years, the announcer, narrator, and presenter of Music & the Spoken Word, is preparing to pass the torch.

2 days ago

The Angel Moroni statue sits atop the Salt Lake Temple as thousands begin gathering at the Conferen...

Eric Cabrera, KSL NewsRadio

Renovation managers give updates on Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake Temple renovation managers have given updates on the project. They come after four and a half years of construction.

5 days ago

Elder Jorge F. Zeballos, President of the Church’s South America Northwest Area, his wife Carmen ...

Mark Jones

Church announces groundbreaking news for 2 temples in South America

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday groundbreaking news for temples to be built in South America.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Missionaries in Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission safe; no contact yet with Tonga Outer Island Mission