Hello, brothers and sisters all over the Philippines! I am grateful for the enthusiastic response you gave when we launched the “Come Unto Christ: I Will Go, I Will Serve” initiative which now applies to all members of the Church, not just the youth and YSA.
As Elder Bangerter discussed the different ordinances and covenants under the banner of “I WILL GO,” I was thinking of the things we can do at home to help strengthen individuals and families so they can each proudly proclaim “I WILL SERVE.” Several holy habits and righteous routines came to mind, and I am certain that engaging in them will develop within us the desire to serve and the strength to do what is right and stay on the covenant path.
By definition, a holy habit is positive behavior that is spiritual or religious. It is second nature to you, something you do automatically without being reminded. A righteous routine is similar because it is a virtuous or morally upright fixed program or a series of actions that you follow regularly. So a holy habit or a righteous routine is anything you do regularly that helps you to come unto Christ.
President Thomas S. Monson declared, “We have three classrooms of learning—the classroom at school, the classroom at church, and the classroom called home…the most significant of all classrooms is the classroom of the home. It is in the home that we form our attitudes and our beliefs.”
A First Presidency letter sent in February 1999 counseled members of the Church around the world to help children acquire holy habits ad righteous routines in the home:
“We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”
When the “Come Follow Me” home-centered, Church-supported approach to scripture study was introduced in the 2019 October General Conference, it was not difficult for Brother Jaime Raymundo of General Santos City in South Cotabato to comply. Holding weekly family home evenings, praying, and studying the scriptures as a family were already among the holy habits and righteous routines they had.
When their five children were growing up, he noticed it was difficult for his wife Teresita whenever he was stationed away from home for months at a time. So in 2006, Jim opted for an early retirement from his career as a soldier. As a result of both parents focusing their energy on raising their children in the gospel, all of their children were blessed by the seminary and institute program with two serving full-time missions.
With coming unto Christ as the priority for his family, Brother Raymundo cherished the ordinances and covenants they made, beginning from his baptism in 1983, his endowment and their family sealing in 1993, and their trips to the temple today as he serves as the high councilman assigned to Family History. He serves by being in the Stake Family History Center seven days a week to assist members as they do family history work.
As the adviser of the Elders Quorum in the General Santos 1st Ward, he also goes out every Sunday with the presidency to go on ministering visits. They set an example to the rest of the ward by linking arms with the full-time missionaries and focusing on part-member families. When fellowshipping new converts, he introduces them to family history work and helps them to prepare for the temple. “As an officer in the Soccsksargen Tribal and Agricultural Coop, I also introduced family history to my fellow officers and some of them have been to Church. That is how I follow the Love, Share, Invite counsel of the brethren to reach out to my neighbors,” he adds.
As a result of coming unto Christ through temple covenants and ordinances, the desire of Brother Jaime to go and serve is magnified and he finds great joy in serving with his family. His five children, seven grandchildren, and countless generations to come are blessed in return. May more Filipino families enjoy these same blessings AS THEY UNITE UNDER THE BANNER – COME UNYO CHRIST, I WILL GO, I WILL SERVE.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.