For the many Tongans living on those islands who are members of the LDS Church, as my Tongan colleague explained, they will derive a straightforward, clear message from what has happened. They will not spend hours and energy devising and applying convoluted weather theories as to why this happened. They will not point fingers or lay blame when every condition and issue associated with the storm is not addressed.
Instead, he explained, they will think that perhaps they need to reform their lives, make some changes, and draw closer to God. He predicted that my son would be busy over the next few months, helping to reactivate and bring souls to Jesus Christ.
I certainly can, and should, find ways to assist the people of Tonga at this time and should assist any community where a natural disaster strikes. Christians can hardly do anything less and call themselves disciples of Christ. Yet, perhaps my attitude and outreach pale in comparison to what I might take from these simple, faithful, humble people. Perhaps they’ve got it a little bit “righter” than me.
I may have more material possessions, and live in grand comfort, but in many ways they seem more content. They focus on friends, family, and their faith shines forth as they trust God to watch over them and to provide that which they need.
I may be very well-educated, but I still have a lot to learn.
Kristine Frederickson writes on issue-oriented topics that affect members of the LDS Church worldwide in her column “LDS World." She teaches part-time at BYU. Her views do not necessarily represent those of BYU.
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