I'm sorry for not updating more frequently. We're currently struggling with a terrible Internet and are once again in lockdown, not allowed to leave the village without a v-card. I'm still waiting for computer parts which I, thanks to God and your help, was able to order 3-4 weeks ago. Please pray that we can access the post office and are able to enter the government building to declare and pay VAT + import duties. They're currently requiring a v-card for that.
My wife is now in week 38 and has struggled with a rapid and irrigular heartbeat for a couple of weeks. She also has a bad tooth that causes pain. Please pray for her, the baby and the delivery aswell. We still don't have access to health services.
Below is a summary of our time here in Tonga after the volcanic explosion.
Since we're Swedes I occasionally check Swedish news and on January the 14th I read about Swedish troops marching to protect Gotland, a large island in the Baltic Sea. War seemed to be imminent. I've never in my life seen such troop movements in Sweden before.
The next day the local news reported about strange swirls in the Nuku'alofa harbor when we suddenly hear a huge bang and felt some sort of shockwave shaking our house. At first, we thought that there must be an explosion at the gas station. Then we heard more bangs, which at first seemed to confirm that something was happening locally.
Internet was gone directly after the big bang, and we were nervously joking about the war news from Sweden. We knew there was an ongoing eruption at the Hunga volcano, but such huge bangs from a volcano about 200 miles away seemed impossible. I've been close to a volcano before, the sound was very similar but this volcano was so far away, could it really cause such huge bangs and shockwaves here? Even though it seemed impossible, we came to the conclusion that it must be the volcano.
Shortly after the volcanic explosion, the expat community had a meeting here. Brian, who held the meeting, said that the power unleashed was equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. He also told us there was a tsunami hitting Tongatapu and Hapaii but only a small wave reached us here in Vava'u. Tongatapu was completely covered in ash, rumors said 5 inches, but it turned out to be more like 2-3 inches in most parts of the island. The airport were completely blocked, the harbor damaged by the tsunami and both the international Internet cable and the local cable to Vava'u were destroyed.
No mobile phone communication worked except for a few very limited satellite phones that quickly ran out of credit. On top of it all, the ATMs no longer worked. We were preparing for a shortage of cash, water and food. There were also warnings about increased theft and loan schemes made by criminals.
At first the banks were closed. When they finally opened, the ATMs didn't work. The only way was to withdraw money locally inside the bank office. Since there were no Internet we couldn't transfer money to our local account. A lady at the bank agreed to try and email Nuku'alofa(they had some sort of limited connection with them) and ask them to email our foreign bank and tell them to transfer money to our Tongan account. The lady also told us that the bank would close the next day and that a v-card would be required to enter it when it opened again. She said that she understood our situation and out of nowhere she suddenly said that she trusted us and would give us a private loan that would allow us to stock up on the must important things before the lockdown...
In the middle of the mess, Omicron entered Tonga. Omicron most likely came from an Australian navy ship. It spread to port workers when they unloaded aid packages. Tonga immediately went into full lockdown. We could not contact anyone, could not access our money, and were not allowed to leave Holonga. We no longer had access to health care and basic services.
When we tried to leave Holonga, we were stopped by 4 or 5 young men asking for a v-card. Since we didn't have one, we couldn't leave the village. They said that if they let us go through, the military would stop us before we reached Neiafu, and that would be worse for us without a v-card. The fact that we were healthy at the time seemed completely irrelevant.
The young men in the village were hired as guards. Those who didn't stand guard during the evening/night often talked and had fun while preparing meals in front of our house. They didn't do this to purposely annoy us, but given the situation, it was kind of provoking anyway. No masks were used by them, they were only for show during daytime. For others, there were a curfew in place every day from 6pm to 8am.
Our daily prayer was now literally "our daily bread, give us today"...and He did. God provided in various ways. Some of the trees we had produced more fruit than ever. We ate soursop, papaya or passion fruit almost daily. Our breadfruit tree gave more fruit than ever. Another very common dish was "ifi" (Tahitian chestnut). We also had flour(with some maggots in it...), oil and a few other basic things.
To make things even more surrealistic we saw cars with military personnel driving through the village, huge military choppers in the sky and just before the lockdown we also saw around thirty people, in nice clothes, smiling and talking, outside the newly established emergency center in Neiafu. Were they here for the volcano or for Omicron? I've not seen any food or water distribution here. Authorities entire Covid policy has been focused on getting everyone vaccinated and registered with a v-card.
We were cooking on fire for about 6-7 weeks since we couldn't buy gas. It gave us many interesting conversations with both our children and some neighbors who now accepted us more as "Tongans". It was during the most rainy period of the year, and we often had to "cook" the wood before being able to use it as firewood. It was a challenge, and it took almost half of the day to prepare 2-3 meals per day. We also started to clear some more space to be able to grow more food in our garden.
Since we couldn't leave the village, another family asked if they could help us withdraw money from the ATM. When they came back, they told us that the ATM were monitored by a guard and that the bank could not help us because we had no v-card. That seemed like terrible news for us, not knowing how long we would be in lockdown and what would happen after the lockdown.
After asking around and talking about it again, there seemed to be some misunderstanding. The bank could only allow withdrawal from local accounts, and they required our ID to do so. Since we couldn't move money to our local account and were not allowed to enter the bank office, we had to wait until the ATMs were fixed. That would take weeks according to various sources.
I later wrote a letter to the bank about their Covid policy. An employee replied and said that they were pressured by government and the Tongan national bank to implement strict Corona measures, or they might lose their banking license. Government and banks...that's where the power lies, and those will be the ones implementing the Mark of the Beast in the future.
There were some neighbors who were very kind and helpful, in spite of the propaganda. Especially Una and Sione. Una is a young Tongan girl who helped us find and cook food whenever she could. Sione is a middle-aged Tongan guy who has given us watermelons, peppers and oranges. He has also unsuccessfully tried to make us Mormons. We consider him a brother because of his actions. I would not be surprised if he comes to faith in the true Jesus. We also noticed that some neighbors hesitated to visit us, some seemed almost hateful when looking our way. That's sadly what propaganda does, brainwashing people into believing lies, creating enmity
At one point, we got food smuggled into the village by a man that was vaccinated. It was paid for by another family from the US who also lives in Vava'u. We were able to communicate with them about our situation since local SMS started to work occasionally around the 10th of February. The food helped us get by for almost a week.
Other locals who helped us during this time were Brian and his wife, Fililas family, Elina and her family, Andy and Pamos family and an unknown lady who showed up with some basic food items. God bless you all!
Our first contact with someone outside of Tonga was on February 12th, four weeks after the explosion. It was Benjamin, our oldest son, who managed to call us through Skype. He first yelled "NOOB!!!", referring to Isak, who rejected the first call since he didn't recognize the number. Benjamin then asked if we knew what was going on and briefly gave us some updates about the volcanic explosion and the outbreak of Corona. Until this point, we had no official information about the outbreak. It was a relief to learn that it was Omicron. The call lasted for a few minutes before we lost connection again.
The vaccine propaganda were pushed heavily around us all the time. Both in the village and in the only working radio station. We tried to tell people that Omicron was good news, that it was mild and would give a natural immunity which is superior protection against more dangerous variants. Very few seemed to believe us, since they heard the opposite from the radio channel.
At the end of February, the ATMs finally started to work again, and we were able to make a couple of withdrawals during 2 weeks. We were also able to shop, sort out some bills and pay back the loan to the lady at the bank before it was time for another lockdown.
On March the 20th, we entered into lockdown again. We managed to buy food in advance in spite of malfunctioning ATMs. Because of the generosity some of you have shown during this time, we were able to withdraw extra cash in advance.
The lockdown was temporarily removed on the 26th of March, allowing everyone to buy food. We don't know if we were allowed to enter the town without a v-card, but we looked away and prayed while passing the checking point. Once again the ATMs didn't work but praise the Lord, once again we were able to shop because of the extra withdrawal we were able to do before the lockdown.
While most of the World are going back to normal, the show goes on here in Tonga. Money will be the end of the Covid madness in Tonga. When most countries drop their v-card requirements Tonga will have to do the same to not lose income from tourists.
We pray for that day to arrive soon.
--- End of summary ---
Tonga vaccination rate for 12+ was at least 99.64% three weeks ago. Only 279 who are eligible for vaccination were still holding out. This was accomplished by implementing tough measures, such as a law requiring everyone to get vaccinated or face fines and/or prison plus extreme lockdowns for us without a v-card, not allowing us to withdraw money, access hospitals, grocery stores, dentist, government services, post office, telecom/SIM-cards/top up, maternity care and much more.
God saved Tonga(and Australia), not the vaccines. Perhaps this was God's way to show mercy on the populations who already been oppressed in these countries. Omicron gives natural immunity and out competes the other more dangerous variants. The death rate is 1/5-1/10 compared to Delta and the Delta death rate was already down to 0.2-0.5% in most developed countries with extensive testing. Add the fact that it is estimated that only 1/3-1/4 of the cases are caught in tests and you get a good idea of the death rate that also includes the weak and vulnerable.
If the Mark was implemented in Tonga today, almost 100% would take it. The same tactics to hypnose the population into submission will be used for the mark, perhaps even worse and more sophisticated ones. Add the threat of a possible death penalty for not taking it, and you will have almost 100% compliance throughout the World. The choice will be simple and final.
To take or not to take...
The evil forces of the World have made their rehearsal, did you make yours?
What will you do when you can't pay your taxes without the mark?
What will you do when you can't pay for electricity or water without the mark?
What will you do when you can't access Internet and use your phone without the mark?
What will you do when you can't access basic health services without the mark?
What will you do when you can't collect your parcels without the mark?
What will you do when you can't access your money without the mark?
What will you do when friends turn their back on you unless you take the mark?
We have recently faced these questions in a very practical way and know that only a close relationship with Jesus will get you through, nothing else will do.
Paul said this:
"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted"
Suffering is one of the keys to revival. It is evidence that our faith is authentic.
Are we willing?
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Kingdom of Tonga
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