Miracle Birth At The Tonga Temple

LDS Tongan Temple

On Thurs. Jan 7, 2010 [Wed Jan 6 in North America] a baby boy was born in the LDS (Mormon) Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple. The circumstances surrounding this unusual occurance were nothing short of miraculous. Mormon Soprano has received permission from all parties involved to share the story with you, as told by Sister Frederika ten Hoopen (“Sister Teni”), serving as an LDS Sister Missionary Nurse in Tonga:


“I went to the [Tonga] Temple last night. I had taken my watch off at home (something the brethern have asked us to do), so I ended up leaving 20 minutes earlier than usual, and arrived early, [about 6:30 PM] planning to attend the 7:00 PM session. As I was entering, the brothers at the desk said they needed a nurse urgently, and asked me to go into the waiting room!

Tonga Temple

“What I did not know at the time of my arrival is that the phones and internet had gone down at the temple, and no one could call out. The Acting [Temple] President had tried to find me, but no one knew where I was, as I am now working as a proseletyzing missionary. He began to fervently pray for me to come to the 7:00 temple session, and had just completed his prayer when I walked in the door.

“When I entered [the temple waiting room], there was the mommy sitting in a wheelchair in all her white [clothing] and she had already delivered most of the baby. I was very concerned about the baby, and felt the tremendous urging of the spirit prompting me as to what to do. I give all the praise to the Lord! I had to scoop him out of her [undergarments] and turn him over to get him to breathe, and then came that famous cry! They do not have twist ties in Tonga, so I asked for scissors, and elastic bands. I cut the cord and put the elastic bands on. All this time, Sister Clayton [a temple worker] was helping me, as she has had 8 children and many grandchildren! We lifted the mother out of the wheelchair and onto the floor where I delivered the placenta (afterbirth). It took a few pushes and I needed to help it along, but finally it came. In Tonga, the family takes the afterbirth and ceremonially buries it, so it was important to have it preserved.

Proud parents with Sister Teni holding baby
proud parents with Sister Teni holding the baby

“The mother of the baby’s name is Ati. She is a teacher here in Liahona, and had just returned from BYU Hawaii where she had been taking a course. Her due date was set as February 14th, and she had seen her doctor the night before she came to the temple [with everything appearing on schedule]. She and her husband decided to attend a session at the temple together, where she went into labor without warning. Her husband was by her side the whole time of the delivery.

“I could hardly believe it, but the birth only took 20 minutes for all of this to happen from beginning to end! At this point, the ambulance arrived and took mother & baby to the hospital, and all was well! In the meantime, I noticed that I never got one drop of blood, or anything on me! I was able to wash up, get ready for the session, and attend just as planned!

Sister Teni, Mommy Ati & Baby Teni Keleitoni Temipale and Sister Clayton

“The next morning [Sister Clayton] and I went to the Hospital to see the baby. Mom and Dad were waiting for us. They [gave us a great honor] and asked us to name their baby. His name will be “Teni Keleitoni Temipale“, which is the Tongan translation for our names, [ten Hoopen & Clayton] plus the Temple.

“I joined the church 11 years ago in New York City, which has changed my life forever. This was another incredible blessing, to be of some small service in the Kingdom.

I have a testimony that the Atonement can heal all ills of this society, and the world! I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With Love, Sister Teni (ten Hoopen)”


Sister Teni’s life is also a miraculous story. She was born and raised in Canada, and moved to New York City in 1980. She joined the LDS Church in 1998, and three months after her baptism, travelled by train with her two boys to live in Utah. A little over a year ago, she chose to serve at her own expense as a single Senior Missionary. She was originally called to the Samoa mission, but one week before arriving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah her assignment was changed to be the Missionary Nurse in Tonga. After arriving in Tonga, her mission President sent her to serve in Niua – more famously known as “The Other Side of Heaven“, and became the first white (palangi) single Sister Missionary to serve there. Delivering a baby at the Temple is just one of the many miraculous and unique experiences of her missionary service. She is beloved by the Tongan people:

[Sister Teni] is truly a remarkable and wonderful example of Heavenly Father’s answer to many prayers.  The lives she’s touched, the miracle of her being here in Tonga, that’s another story all together!  She has escaped near death, survived a typhoon [the Tsunami that hit Niua in September] nursed the survivors, healed and witnessed a true miracle, baptized families, delivered a baby in a Temple, and saved one person I know very well–literally saved their life.  She is an answer to prayers, my very own Angel, and quite a few others feel that way, too! 

– Sister Kathleen Peaua, a Latter-day Saint living in Tonga

We thank Sister Frederika ten Hoopen (“Sister Teni”) for her selfless service, and for sharing her story and testimony with us. We also welcome baby Teni Keleitoni Temipale to the world, and extend best wishes to his family!


  1. You do so much good so much of the time and to share some of what others do is so telling of what a truly beautiful gift you have because you share through that gift goodness with others. You have been an inspiration and a friend. Just in case you haven’t heard it today-THANK YOU!


  2. Fortunate baby to be born in the temple and a lovely story 🙂 Not sure why she would be so concerned though, the birth seemed straight forward enough. I have birthed all my babies without assistance and birth is rarely complicated unless there are interventions to make it so. Looks like this baby was fully well aware of that when he decided to come into the world.


    1. Mary – you’re a lucky woman! [both in multiple children, and uncomplicated births] I would not have been as fortunate without hospital – my 1st baby would have died without immediate surgery, and at 2nd, I would have died without immediate transfusion. However, this birth was filled with many tender mercies. The baby certainly chose a special place to come into the world. He’s started off life with a sacred connection to the Lord, and with his ability to inspire so many people already…I don’t doubt he’s destined for greatness. 🙂


  3. It is always a miracle when a baby comes into this world, no matter where it is born. I just hope that fewer people judge me for having home births after reading that the Lord allowed a baby to be born in his home.


  4. God gives us beautiful experiences so we can see his hand in everything. I’m so grateful that this one was reserved especially for you. I love my Heavenly Father and for my beautiful experiences that he has reserved for me on this beautiful earth specially to know that my Savior lives.


  5. Great story and Malo for sharing. Only in Tonga. I got to say, that there must be something special about Niua. My family and I are planning to visit the island by the ending of this year. malo, Feki’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.


  6. Thanks for sharing this with all of us,I’m tongan and i know how our little island been bless by missionary so thankful for the missionary and the grate work that they’ve done.


  7. I’m glad you shared this marvelous story!I totally like it.Wish you all the best and happiness through all your days.!!!!!

    Much ,much luv to you and baby!!


  8. hey sister it was a wonderful blessing to the families out there in tonga to have you there..my mom work in the temple also in tonga every wednesday and she told me about the baby was born there…i know ati she is one of my good teacher in liahona high school..i wish i know you in tonga..maybe my mom knows you her name is melenau tukuafu…i’m still on my mission in boise idaho..if you see my mom there tell her i love her and give her a hug for me and a kiss

    ofa atu
    elder tukuaf


  9. What a wonderful thing to happen to Adi and Siua. I have been a teacher in Liahona for almost 20 years ago and know both mom and dad. What a great story to share. Thanks once again, and only you ADI! Great blessings for you two. Thanks for the story… I was uplifted by it and I bet that little baby will grow up to love the temple. ‘ofa atu and Malo ‘aupito…


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