My husband and I were married on February 26, 2016 in the Manila Philippines Temple, two months after he returned home from serving a full-time mission in the Philippines Naga Mission. He mastered the courage to follow the counsel of the prophet to marry at the right time, in the right place and by the right authority. I remember how difficult the preparation was for us since we were both not employed. However, we remembered the counsel of the Prophet Nephi in 1 Nephi 1:6, “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things that I should do.” His words encouraged us to obey as we made a decision to be married in the temple not knowing beforehand the things that we should do. Blessings began to flow as we obeyed. The Prophet Nephi taught us another lesson in 1 Nephi 3:7, “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commanded them.” The Lord indeed prepared the way for us to be able to marry each other in the right place and at the right time!
As we were preparing to marry, we encountered questions from people like “Why did you get married early?” “Are you pregnant?” “Why is it so fast?” It was not easy to explain the same reasons over and over again, but the reality is that we have to help them know and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. I realized that those were wonderful opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we started our married life, callings were given to us. My husband was called to work in the district presidency and I was called to work with the young women district presidency. These were wonderful opportunities to serve the Lord by serving our fellow beings. But magnifying and obeying does not end there. We also needed to focus on how we can contribute to the Philippines Area Plan Goals. We felt the Spirit whispering to us as we talked and planned for things that we could do to obey, covenant and establish every time we hold our family home evening and family council.
Right before we got married, the Area Presidency announced the Philippines Area Plan. My husband pasted the small pamphlets on the first page of his journal and started marking the specific goals that we still needed to work on. We came up with a lot of markings, so we decided to make a consistent and persistent follow up on the markings we had made. We humbly asked the Lord for help in identifying opportunities and names that He wanted us to focus on. We came up with a list of names of people whom we could focus on in each of the respective goals. We reported on our progress during our family home evening and family council. These were the simple things that brought great blessings and opportunities for us to serve. During the most recent district conference, my husband and I were teary eyed as we heard the names of the two elders on our list being advanced to the Melchizedek Priesthood. A week after, we learned that one of the names we listed under increasing the number of young men to serve missions is now preparing and was already recommended by our branch president to become a full-time missionary. These were all good fruits of fasting, prayer and consistency. We hope and pray that they will continue to serve the Lord throughout their lives.
Elder Jeffrey Holland once said “Salvation is not a cheap experience.” Since it is not a cheap experience, the ways to obtain it will never be easy! We must do the simple things that can bring about great things. For the past three months, we have proven that we could serve a mission, marry in the temple, create a happy family, get an education, magnify our callings and continue to serve the Lord, all at the same time. We are not meant to just hang in there, but we are to continue pressing forward and to improve. That led me to remember what the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. once asked, “Shall we not go on in so great a cause?”