More than 40 missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped clean the Royal Tombs a week after Tropical Cyclone Gita pounded Tonga on 12 February 2018.

Photo: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Pacific Newsroom.

Mala’e Kula is a sacred burial ground where only former Kings and Queens of Tonga are interred.

Tropical Cyclone Gita left a large trail of broken trees and branches and other debris inside and surrounding the Royal Tombs after it struck with fierce winds and torrential rain.

Parliament House was one of the many buildings destroyed as Cyclone Gita ripped roofs off houses, brought down trees and caused widespread flooding.

The building was over 100 years old and it is not clear where Parliament will be sitting in the meantime.

Reports described Cyclone Gita as the strongest storm to hit Tonga in recent history, with some saying it was the worst storm in 60 years.

Photo: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Pacific Newsroom.

King Tupou VI urged Tongans to unite and collaborate to rebuild the country, especially Tongatapu and ‘Eua.

He thanked God that no lives were lost, although many homes, businesses and farms had been damaged.

The King, accompanied by members of Tonga’s defence force and royal household, delivered water to residents in one of the worst affected areas.

His motorcade slowly moved through the village of Patangata, as soldiers delivered trays of fresh drinking water to grateful residents.

Tonga Nuku’alofa Misson President Sione Tui’one and Sister Tui’one organised the working bee and made sure all their missionaries were dressed in their traditional Tongan attire.

President Sione Tui’one said, ‘We are honoured to be able to give back to the Royal Family with our service.’

‘Even though we are here to work and clean, I wanted our missionaries to know the importance of respecting not only the Royal Tombs but the current King and Queen. We’re glad we did because the Queen of Tonga came out to thank us personally.This was a special moment for all of us.’

The volunteers wear traditional missionary attire. Photo: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Pacific Newsroom.

King Tupou VI who ascended the throne in 2012, rules over a small nation with a deeply Christian culture.

He and Queen Nanaspipau’w were crowned in a lavish traditional service three years later in 2015.

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