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John H. Groberg, a middle class kid from Idaho Falls, crosses the Pacific to become a Mormon missionary in the remote and exotic Tongan island kingdom during the 1950's. He leaves behind a loving family and the true love of his life, Jean. Through letters and musings across the miles, John shares his humbling and sometimes hilarious adventures with "the girl back home", and her letters buoy up his spirits in difficult times. John must struggle to overcome language barriers, physical hardship and deep-rooted suspicion to earn the trust and love of the Tongan people he has come to serve. Throughout his adventure-filled three years on the islands, he discovers friends and wisdom in the most unlikely places. John H. Groberg's Tongan odyssey will change his life forever.Written by
Mary Jane Jones
Cast member John Paekau (The Governor) died of a heart attack a couple of hours after wrapping production on the film. A dedication is made to him in the closing credits. See more »
The majority of Tongan characters speak with New Zealand accents throughout the film, although the only white people they have supposedly been in contact with are the American missionaries. This is due to the fact that most of the actors portraying Tongans are actually from New Zealand or the Cook Islands. A lot of the Tongan dialogue is also mis-pronounced throughout the film. See more »
I'm sorry that the adolescent ravings of the previous reviewer appear first. His profound failure to "get it" is an embarrassment.
First of all, this is about a young man of "white-bread" heritage casting aside all he has and all he is, even leaving the love of his life for two and a half years, in order to immerse himself in a culture about which he is totally ignorant so that he can offer them the greatest gift he has to offer: His faith.
Rather than "looking down" on the people he has come to SERVE, he bears great hardships, and exerts himself in ways he could never have conceived, in order to connect with these people. He comes to love them, profoundly.
And their love for him in return, even those who have reason to be suspicious of him, is a testament to his sincerity.
Please recall that this is a TRUE STORY. Whatever you might think of John Groberg's religion, or his motives, the fact is that these things actually happened in just this way. He DID travel from Idaho to Tonga, he did live among the people there, he did come to gain their trust, he did bring to them a precious gift of faith, and he did return often throughout the rest of his life, with his wife and family, to be among these people whom he loved.
That anyone could be so callously dismissive of this truth is a sad commentary on our "post-Christian" society.
But I found this film to be deeply moving and very satisfying, and I recommend it highly to those who enjoy inspiring film.
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