The Jubilee Events started tonight with the VIP dinner and reception at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City. We were so amazed, this hotel was probably the most grandioso, top of the line, premier hotel we had ever seen!! The environment was beautiful! As the guests entered the area where this was being held, they were greeted, registered and given gifts, and then shown through wonderful displays giving them information about the church and especially its history in the Philippines. They were allowed time to just mingle and visit and then were escorted to the dining area......it was so so nice. In attendance at the event, along with many civic, community, and church leaders, were three of the first four missionaries in the Philippines. (Elders Murray, Lowe, and Goodson) We also had some of the first converts to the Church. Sister Garcia, one of the early converts, and aunt to the former Philippines president was in attendance. Former Philippine Pres. Ramos was there along with some of the Senators and Congressional leaders of the country. It was such a privilege to meet each of these along with many others. A wonderful buffet meal was prepared which consisted of rolls of Sushi...(nope, we didn’t have any raw fish!!) chicken, rice, beef tenderloin, many salads, a cucumber soup that was yummy, rolls, drinks and a dessert bar (cakes, fruit, and other native pastries). A string orchestra played throughout the evening. A program followed the dinner with wonderful music by a quartet of young men, Church members, that were so talented. The lead singer, Paulo (17 year old boy) won the equivalent to runner-up American idol here in the Philippines. We got to know them a bit, because they came to rehearse in our Public Affairs Office a couple of times before the event. Those who spoke in the program were Elder Edwards, Area President, and Elder Teh, new Area President, and Leni Pilobello, Director of Public Affairs for the Philippines. The whole event was very touching, watching a video history of the Church here in the Philippines. From one early convert to over 650,000 Saints today. From one mission to seventeen missions. The stone truly has been rolling forth. Elder Teh is the first Philippine area President here and now nearly 70% of the missionaries come from the Philippines. We were also honored to have President DeLaMare, (Quezon City mission president) President Howard (Manilla Mission President) and President Taylor (Philippines MTC President) and their wives in attendance. Those who spoke bore strong testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Church’s growth here. We had a great conversation at our table with a young, Fiipino business man about the Church. His work hours are from 5:30 am to 10:00 pm. Not much time for family life during the week, only the week-end. He asked if he could visit further with us next week and wanted to have lunch. His name is Jefferson Mendoza. We were so impressed with him...such a bright and pleasant young man. This whole evening was so grand. It made up for the 2 hours it took to drive there because of a bomb explosion on EDSA (main highway)......we sat there in traffic forever! All is well!