Where is the love?
You may have heard of the song ‘Where is the love?’ by the hip-hop group, The Black Eyed Peas. The socially conscious rap lyrics identifies various worldwide problems recognising ‘the works of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:19-21) and the lack of love shown by humanity.
This was the very theme of the Tonga Parish Youth rally that took place at the Croatian club in Punchbowl on the 16th of July to reinforce that God loved us, so surely we ought to love each other too (1 John 4:11). This theme was sparked not long after the Tonga Parish participated in the Tongan National conference (TNC) which celebrated its 30th birthday on the June long weekend. The TNC themed ‘Love, Grace and Fellowship’ had the Tonga Parish youth reflecting in lament of the lack of love not only in our local society but world-wide.
Mr Sinipata Kali, currently studying at the Sydney Missionary & Bible College (SMBC), reminded the 350 attendees of sacrificial love as shown by God recapping that it was more than ‘just getting along’. The 11 Tonga Parish Youths alongside neighbouring Tongan UCA youths from Mascot Wesley, Petersham and Auburn were encouraged and challenged to be selfless in a selfish world.
7 years and 20 Youth rallies later, the Tonga Parish Youth continues to grow, hungry for the living word. The intention of the group is to form the faith of our young people so they are equipped to live as disciples of Jesus. Though the Tonga Parish was established 31 years ago, the revival of the youth commenced in 2010 with grant from the Synod Mission Resource Fund (SMRF) to spark the fire in the hearts of our young people committing to host triannual youth rallies. Though the fund ceased some time ago, the flame continues to burn as we endeavour to inform, form and transform our young people to embrace and share God’s love.
This mission was again reignited with the Utalk hosted by Moderator Myung Hwa Park early this year in April and the continual support and empowerment of our faithful Minister Rev Valamotu Palu. The Tonga Parish Youth endeavours to connect with youths beyond our Tongan Culture and perhaps beyond the church setting and into the wider community to inform, form and transform others too.
Malia Puna is Director of the Tonga Parish Youth.
Background info on the Tonga Parish:
There are 11 Tonga Parish UCA churches: Hepisipa (Marrickville), Filipai (Mt Hunter), Patimosi (West Wollongong), Siaola (Tempe), Leotisia (Smithfield), Leopote (Hursltone Park), Kelesi (Dulwhich Hill), Efalata (Blackett) , Huhu’I (Canberra), Kaleli (Cronulla), Peasipa (Ingleburn). Though all congregations are geographically spread; we are all under the one Minister Rev Valamotu Palu in the Sydney Presbytery.