While serving in the Pacific Islands Area Presidency, I had the marvelous experience of getting acquainted with the people of the islands. They are people of great faith. As I watched them and met their children, I soon learned that to be happy, you don’t need all of the trappings of worldly wealth.
Once while I was in Tonga, I was traveling between islands to attend a district conference. Traveling with me were my wife, a translator, and the mission president and his wife. To get from island to island, the people travel by boat. This particular boat trip between Ha’apai and Ha’afeva took us four hours. When we arrived at Ha’afeva, the Saints were lining the shore and singing to us. We rolled up our pants, took off our shoes, and waded ashore.
We soon learned that the people there had been suffering because of a drought. In the islands, drinking water is collected in barrels from rainwater running off roofs. The islanders drink the water from the barrels. If it doesn’t rain, they’re out of drinking water, and their crops don’t grow either. They had been experiencing the drought for so long that they were out of water, and for dinner that afternoon, they shared with us the last of their food. I thought to myself, “What faith!” They had been fasting, and they asked if we would join them in a prayer for rain, which we did.
After the conference had ended and we prepared to leave, the people on the island prayed not only for rain, but they prayed that we would have good weather until we arrived back at our destination. We got into our boats and traveled back with good weather. But as we arrived at our final destination the heavens opened, and the islands were blessed with rain.
That’s the kind of faith many Polynesian people have and the kind of miracles they bring about. They have a simple faith, a deep faith. They don’t have to have proof. They don’t doubt at all that the Lord lives and that He loves them. When they hear the truth and they feel it, they accept it. Then they build upon that testimony.