On November 17, 2019, the first service was held at Mango Tree Church of the Nazarene, in the island nation of Tonga. Thirty-seven people attended the service, where missionary In-Kwon Kim spoke about the Church of the Nazarene and its core values. Mango Tree Church of the Nazarene was formed from Mango Tree Center, which has been ministering in Tonga for several years. “Doc” and Charmayne Olds, a retired Nazarene couple who were serving as missionaries in Tonga, recruited teams and raised funds to help construct the first building of the Mango Tree Center in 2005 on the main Tongan island of Tongatapu.
The planting of Mango Tree Church is the culmination of a need for authentic Christian worship in its area. “I have taught the Bible every Sunday afternoon for the past two years. Each time about 30-40 people came.” Eventually, worship was added to these gatherings, to further disciple those who gathered. On November 19, General Superintendent Dr. Eugenio Duarte visited Mango Tree Church of the Nazarene, affirming the congregation.
Mango Tree Center was originally founded to help people with disabilities. “The first challenge [we] faced was that there are many children with disabilities in Tonga but no rehabilitation therapists to treat them. Physical and occupational therapy needed to be given to children with disabilities, especially children with cerebral palsy.” Through the ministry of physical therapists from New Zealand and through people locally, the Church of the Nazarene has been able to equip local Tongans to minister to those with disabilities, including transporting them to and from therapy sessions.
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Mango Tree Center is the only organization in Tonga that provides rehabilitation services to children with disabilities. While so far this ministry is isolated to the island of Tongatapu, the main island, In-Kwon dreams of extending it to other Tongan islands. He hopes to “expand Mango Tree ministry to Vava’u, Ha’apai, and Eua to show the loving hands of Jesus to the disabled. There, together with the Mango Tree ministry, the Church of the Nazarene will be established, and Nazarene mission will be carried out throughout Tonga to share the Word of God to those with disabilities, their families, and those who did not know Jesus Christ.”
You can give to ministries in the Asia-Pacific Region and to the World Evangelism Fund at the Church of the Nazarene’s Giving site.