On P-Day, the missionary couples and President McMurray's family enjoyed a visit to Old Tonga where Stake President Fehoako and his wife Tina took us on a wonderful personal tour. The idea for Old Tonga began when he was a taxi driver taking tourists to find a fale--a thatched roof hut with sides made of woven coconut leaves or reeds--but he couldn't find one. So he determined to build Old Tonga as a project in family self-reliance and to preserve Tongan heritage and traditions of the island. Old Tonga is in the village of Pupua. In 1982 a hurricane devastated many areas of the island destroying homes. The king gave the land to the people hit by the hurricane. It was not settled at the time. In fact, it was a rubbish dump in a swampy area and the land is the lowest point on the island. President Fehoako was the first bishop of Pupua. There were 400 members in that ward who met under a tent each week. Now they have a chapel and lives in the village are slowly improving. President Fehoako believes that one day the area will be prosperous if members continue to be faithful. It is now the largest village in the Kingdom of Tonga with 3 wards and 3 bishops, and the people are happy and find joy in the Gospel.
Elder Thompson and Elder Hawley enjoy walking through Old Tonga. Note the fale in the background:President Fehoako demonstrates the beating of the Tongan drum--a wooden club against a hollowed out log. In many places of Tonga, the beating of the drum and church chimes are heard at 4:30 a.m. each day, summoning the people to church: A Tongan bed with a mosquito net awaits guests who are welcome to stay for the night: President Fehoako is well-known throughout the South Pacific as a fine sculptor and wood carver, and his wife Tina designs beautiful Tongan jewelry and art pieces: A talented sister weaves a fine mat for wearing. It takes about 2 months of work to make one such as this: A mat like this is worthy of a Princess: Preparing the tapa cloth and painting it is no easy task: Preparing for the feast: Elder Hawley is invited to sit in the King's chair, a gift from the king who died in 2007: Do you recall Elder Monson's Tongan tale of the octopus lure? (Ensign May 2006, True to the Faith) Tongan fishermen glide over a reef, paddling their outrigger canoes with one hand and dangling the maka-feke over the side with the other. An octopus dashes out from its rocky lair and seizes the lure, mistaking it for a much-desired meal. So tenacious is the grasp of the octopus and so firm is its instinct not to relinquish the precious prize that fishermen can flip it right into the canoe. President Fehoako was the fisherman who took President Monson out in the boat that day.
It's an easy transition to point out that Satan has fashioned so-called maka-fekes with which to ensnare unsuspecting persons and take possession of their destinies. Today we are surrounded by the maka-fekes which the evil one dangles before us and with which he attempts to entice us and then to ensnare us.
There is a trick to the octopus lure. Fisherman chew coconut and spit it out to make the water oily so the octopus can’t see them. A fisherman uses different stones if they are not attracted to the first. He can use a second lure and the entire group of octopus will leave the first lure and go after the second. In his hand, President Feheako holds a strange-appearing fishing lure fashioned from a round stone and large seashells. This is a maka-feke, an octopus lure. We are attracted to the graceful beauty of the hands as members of the church dance for us: The young women pour large amounts coconut oil on their hands and arms so they will shine to reflect the beauty of the dance:President Fehoako and his wife Tina give farewell gifts to Elder and Sister Thompson as they prepare to depart from their mission. Elder Hawley gave me a lovely red coral necklace made by Tina: The setting sun is a time to meditate on the beauty and goodness of Old Tonga, the islands and the people :