News Release

Church Leaders Answer Questions from Youth in Tonga

Elder Juan A. Uceda, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Seventy and President of the Church’s Pacific Area, recently spoke at a devotional to Latter-day Saint youth and young single adults in Tonga.


Joining Elder Uceda and Elder Haleck were their wives, Maria Isabel Uceda and Peggy Haleck. Also attending were Elder Aisake Tukuafu, Area Seventy, and his wife, Lose Tukuafu, and Benjur Kivalu, President of the Tonga Nukualofa Harbour Stake (group of congregations) and Anau Hala of the Tonga Nukualofa Capital Stake.

In a question and answer forum youth asked Church leaders their thoughts on prayer, missionary service, dating, gaining an education, and personal worship.

“How is it possible to kneel down and be able to speak to God and be heard by him?” Elder Uceda asked.

“I cannot explain this to you, but I know it’s true and all your prayers are heard by the same God. Your prayers will receive answers if you ask.”

“You can kneel in Tonga, Peru or Salt Lake City. It’s all the same distance to God and he will show unto you answers.”

“The only problem with prayer is you. You can fix it by praying. It works. I know it works and I can’t tell you how it works but I know it does.”


One young person asked, "How can I decide whether or not to serve as a missionary?"

Having joined the Church at age 17, Elder Haleck decided that he wanted to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. While there, he received a strong desire to serve a two-year Mormon mission.

“Reading the Book of Mormon was my personal witness to the gospel,” he said.

Sister Maria Isabel Uceda shared that her desire for each of her children when they were born was that they grew up to devote time to missionary service. “They have been preparing since they were babies. They participated in the seminary programme and studied their scriptures as a way to strengthen their faith.”

In response to the question, “How will I know the person I’m dating is the right one for me?”, Sister Peggy Haleck said, “Pray and take time to get to know each other. Take the time to share your hopes and dreams, but also your testimony of faith.”


Answering the same query, Elder Tukuafu said, “Spend time together—it’s a time to prepare. You need to focus on the greater goal.”

Elder and Sister Uceda recently visited New Zealand, Tonga, and Australia to meet with members and missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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