Elder Vaea is rarely seen not sporting his big Tongan smile. Growing up in the Pacific islands, he related well to the people of the Island people of the West Indies, where he was called to serve as a missionary. However, it wasn’t always easy for the Elder who, unknown to his companions, quietly suffered with health issues.

“I thought they were probably allergies, and I’m not one to make problems” said Elder Vaea who almost completed his entire mission undiagnosed. On his way home from the West Indies the missionary department had him lay over in Salt Lake City, where he had a range of tests completed at the hospital.

“I had moved from the third floor to the first, I was waiting for some blood test results. I had the strongest feeling come over me and I immediately checked to make sure I was wearing my name badge, which I wasn’t, the hospital had given me a tee-shirt when I went in. I put my name badge straight on”.

Elder Vaea had never lived outside the islands before. The large, busy hospital mixed with feelings of uncertainty regarding his blood tests became overwhelming. “I was praying so hard for God to make the blood tests right, then tears start come down from my eyes”.

Elder Vaea had never been to a hospital before and this was his first time in two years without a missionary companion. He not only felt far from support but he was having to try and understand doctors in his second language.


IMG_8713 Georgetown zc (18)

Elder Vaea making a Tongan drink and with Elders at Zone conference. 


“Right then I saw a man come out from a room with a doctor. I knew immediately, this was The Prophet, I was so shocked and the first thing that came to my mind my was ‘this is a answer to my prayer’, God is showing me a servant of the Lord”.

President Monson had been at the hospital for a routine check up at the time Elder Vaea was waiting for blood tests.

“He looked towards me and said ‘Are you are missionary?”, “I said, ‘Yes Sir”. “Then he put his arms around me and gave me a big hug”. “I told him that I had finished my mission in the West Indies and that I was there for a medical check, and then I will go home”. The Prophet asked, “Where’s home?”

“Tonga” I said. “Malo e lelei” He said back to me with a smile. (which means Hello in Tongan) “I asked him if we could take a photo, he said ‘Yes, yes, yes’. So we went outside”.

“I was so grateful for that experience, even if no one else knew, God knew that I was alone and scared and I was so happy to meet the Prophet’.

Elder Vaea stayed a further five days and received excellent treatment and medication. He has now returned to Tonga. Fit and healthy, he continues to serve and work with missionaries in his local ward.



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One Response

  1. trevordangerolsen@gmail.com'

    I was Elder Vaea’s last companion in the field when he got sick. That man is a machine! I’ve never seen anybody work so hard at anything. I respect him for many things, but mostly for teaching me how to give your all when you have nothing to give.


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