Preparing for God’s Timing: Meet Maxy
Many Tongan believers know the precise date that they first became followers of Jesus, keeping the date in their heart like a souvenir. For Maxy Koloamatangi, the 30-year-old, tattoo-clad treasurer of the newly formed Bible Translation Organisation (BTO) of Tonga, that date is the 7 February 2005. It was a turning point in his life.
“When I found Christ I found peace inside me,” he says. “When I was drinking, partying, smoking, and leading other kids into trouble, I never found peace inside my heart.”
Maxy’s desire to grow in his faith led him into a time of preparation. First he went to Bible college where he earned a degree in theology, and then onto a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM.
It was during his DTS that God sparked a new passion in Maxy. Two Wycliffe staff came to talk to students about Bible translation. Maxy had never heard that there were people who did not have the Bible in their language the way that Tongans did.
He wanted to join the work of Wycliffe right away, but because there was not an organization affiliated with Wycliffe in Tonga, he had to wait. It would be three years until he could join.
Maxy now had a vision for his future, and God continued to help him make steps towards it. Maxy served as a teacher with YWAM and gained some experience working for a cross-cultural mission organization. He also met his wife Sulieti at YWAM and they married in 2011.
“I can’t wait to go with my wife to mission field!” Maxy says making a tight fist. He adds quietly, “We are waiting for God. For the right time and right place. This is the preparation time.”
Maxy decided to pursue graduate studies in theology. His decision would bring him into contact with another Tongan with a heart for Bible translation—Tevita Lalahi. Tevita had just started the Bible Translation Organisation of Tonga. He invited Maxy to attend a special Bible translation ‘Vision Workshop’ that began the week after they met.
“I was so happy! God answered my prayer!” Maxy shares, “I have a heart and a passion for people who don’t have any Bible, for the lost people who still haven’t heard the word of God, and for the people who are still crying, still waiting for someone to bring the Good News.”
Maxy became one of the first staff members of BTO Tonga, which tripled from two founding members to six in its first year.
“It is a milestone for us to join in the work of Bible translation. It is good for Tongans and other Pacific Islanders to join in because it is a work that God gave us. I think it is amazing for us to join.”
Words & Photography by Elyse Patten
Maxy and his wife Sulieti ask for your prayers as they serve with BTO Tonga and prepare for cross-cultural ministry. Please pray that God will continue to lead them to the right time and place.