Area Presidency Messages

There is also cause for celebration in the Philippines.  In the month of July members of the Church in the Philippines should pause to reflect on the journey taken by about 70,000 Mormon pioneers who crossed the Great Plains and mountainous territory to relocate to the Salt Lake Valley where the Church would grow and prosper.  It is a great heritage of faith and sacrifice that now blesses all members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The members of the Church in the Philippines should also remember and celebrate “pioneers” who have worked to establish the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Philippines.
The Lord knew that our earthly existence would not be without its challenges; they were always going to be part of the 'Great Plan of Happiness' which we welcomed with cheerful hearts when it was presented to us in the pre-existence. And so, with the 'sweat of our brow'  (Moses 5:1) we work our way through concerns knowing that where there is no struggle there is no growth.
One of the Philippine Area Goals in 2014 is to establish the Church. As we ponder the concept of establishing the Church, we often think about stakes and districts and wards and branches.
The Philippines Area 2014 Broadcast - Hastening the Lord's Work was conducted last January 18, 2014. It details the goals of the area for 2014 with emphasis on how each member can help in hastening the Lord's work of salvation. Leaders and members ages 12 and older were invited to attend. 
When super typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines with the resultant loss of thousands of homes and lives many had cause to reflect on the tragedies we experience.  The loss of employment, the death of a loved one or the missing out on a job opportunity; in their own way they are ‘typhoons’ that cause some pain and anguish.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we understand that the precious gift inside the box is described best in John 3:16 in the New Testament, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  The gift that was given to us by the Father is His Son.  
“Rescue the One” is listed as one of the four “2013 Philippines Area Goals.” This goal has special meaning to me because of my personal background.  I would like to share the story of my rescue as an example of how important it is for us to do everything we can to bring back to the fold those that have lost their way.
We spent a lot of our trip in roundabouts. In fact, we noticed that we could stay in a roundabout as long as we liked; there was no requirement to get out. So as we were trying to determine directions, we found ourselves stuck in roundabouts, going in circles.
When we hear the word feast, only one thing comes to our minds - food.  When we feast upon something we don’t just nibble or take a bite, we partake of it freely and thoroughly enjoy the experience. It involves not only the sense of taste but involves other senses as well.  When one feasts upon the words of Christ, the experience transcends from that of a physical and intellectual to one that is emotional and spiritual.
How very fortunate we are to have two temples in the Philippines and another announced for construction. To be so blessed is a mark of the growth of the Church in the Philippines, the Lord’s love for the people and of the faith of many members. The Lord is establishing His Church on these Islands and yet there is still much to do. 
Because the “traditions of our fathers” can have such a powerful influence on future generations, we must develop traditions in our families, wards and branches that will help our children and grandchildren see the path that leads to eternal life and stay on that path.  
God often tests His people.  He wants to find out if we will put him first in our lives.  Letting go of money and other material things in exchange for intangible spiritual or temporal promises is often difficult. It is a good test whether our loyalty is to God or to material things.