Church member in charge of tourism in Tonga

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga — Fineasi Funaki, 39, was appointed as Tonga's Minister of Tourism on May 17, making him the first Church member to become a minister in the Kingdom of Tonga.

The appointment ceremony was held at the Liahona High School campus, near where Brother Funaki and his family reside. The letter of appointment was read by Sateki 'Ahio, the king's private secretary. Many government officials and Church leaders attended the ceremony.

"This new post gives me a greater opportunity to be of service to all the people of Tonga. Being minister of tourism, I have been given the full responsibility of ensuring that the tourism sector provides the economic strategy which is one of Tonga's brightest hopes in developing our small island nation," said Brother Funaki.

Prior to his new appointment as minister, Brother Funaki served as the second People's Representative of the Ha'apai Islands Group in Parliament.

Brother Funaki attended Tonga College in 1977, the Teachers' Training College from 1984 to 1985, and BYU-Hawaii in 1986, 1989 to 1991. He served as a full-time missionary in the Texas Dallas Mission from 1987 to 1989.

Brother Funaki is the high priests group leader in the Liahona 1st ward, Nuku'Alofa Tonga Liahona Stake.

"Without the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I definitely would not have gone this far," he said. "The principles and teachings of the restored gospel truly work in all or any circumstance, place, and anyone's life, regardless of who you are, what you do and where you live."

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