Thursday, April 5, 2012


Haidi F. Fajardo--New Area Director of Philippines Public Affairs

                                                       Gerome and Haidi Fajardo Family

Haidi F. Fajardo embarked on her journey as the new Area Director for Public Affairs on January 9, 2012. She saw this new chapter in her life more as a calling than an employment. Like all public affairs directors, she offers up her time, and talents to the building up of the Lord’s kingdom here in the Philippines. I knew the Lord had to have been preparing someone to fill this position left by the passing away of Leni...and it only took a few days of being around Haidi to know that she had amazing talents and experience. So one day I asked her if she would mind if I looked at her resume....she laughed and said, "no problem, I will send it to your computer." Wow! I will now share some of what I learned about her.

She is from Lapulapu City, Cebu ...yes, where Magellan landed... and her parents were converted to the Church in 1972 when she was two months old. Her childhood is dotted with memories of ballet and piano recitals as well as creative writing and academic achievements. Being taught the gospel early by her parents made her realize the importance of seminary, institute and in seeking the kingdom of God first. When she was 17 years old, her father passed away. This pushed her to be independent early on and she learned to rely most on the Savior for important decisions in her life. Her favorite music has always been the Young Women song “I Walk by Faith.”

Haidi had been working in public affairs in Cebu for well over a decade, and was currently the multi-stake director of Public Affairs. She made huge contributions of her time and expertise to the Cebu Temple Committee and the Cebu Jubilee Celebration, besides her work as a Cebuano hymn-translation reviewer, she was an all-around gospel teacher, and Primary and Young Women leader. None of this surprised me, but I really had no idea of her professional accomplishments.

She is not just a distinguished architect with a thriving architectural and construction business that she runs with her husband… She is also a prolific writer, a university instructor, a school founder and administrator, and an advocate championing worthwhile causes.

As a writer, she was regularly published in an architectural magazine. She taught Visual Techniques, Architectural Design, Theory of Architecture and Architecture History at the University of San Carlos College of Architecture and Fine Arts. She was among the founders and served as the administrator of two schools, one for autistic children and the other aiming to help children with special needs make the transition to mainstream education. Autism is a very personal matter with her, as her 16-year old daughter, Menfreya, has autistic spectrum disorder. She has also been involved in many civic organizations. Whew...and she is only 40 years old!!!

Last but not least, she is the mother to three beautiful children: Menfreya “Pia”, 16 years old; Vaughn Nephi, 11 years old; Dantzel Chloe, 1 year and three months old. The other love of her life is her husband, Gerome R. Fajardo, who previously served as a missionary in the Manila Mission and also served as bishop of the Pajo Ward for 5 years and a counse­lor in the Mandaue Philippines Stake Presidency for 9 years. They were married in the Manila Philippines Temple in January 1995. She goes home to Cebu every other weekend and looks forward to May, when her family will move to Quezon City to join her.

On top of all this, she has the happiest and warmest personality. She is extremely kind and thoughtful of others....and best of all....loves to laugh with all of us. We love her already and are so grateful to serve under her watch.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Back row: Elders Goss and Bird Front Row: Sister Goss, Haidi, Deo, Sister Bird

Deo, Elders Goss and Bird at Farewell Party

Deo Divinagracia at Farewell Party

                                           E/S Goss, Deo, E/S Bird at FVA Award Dinner

Our dashing and debonair bachelor, Deo Divinagracia, completed his contract work for the Area Public Affairs Depart­ment on March 31, 2012. His contract with public affairs has allowed him to work on projects like the “National Day of Ser­vice,” events associated with the Jubilee Celebration, the Family Values Awards for 2011, and even the launching of the PhilPAD Perspectives newsletter!
Deo was the driving force behind the creation of the Public Affairs 2012 Calendar “Mormon, Pinoy & Proud.” Besides the many hours spent in our office, he managed to sandwich in directing shows and other entertainment events for individu­als, groups, and businesses. We have enjoyed his grace and good humor, and the energetic spark and creative mind he has brought to our office. He has taught us that particular thought and effort must be given to “lunch” and all “eating occasions” in general! All events requiring food were overseen by Deo, but it was his music that gave our events that magic touch. He always knew what people would like the best.
Following the death of Leni Pilobello, he was our only Tagalog speaker in the office and frequently answered the cry for “help...Deo...quick!” from the non-Tagalog speaking senior missionaries, as he would be handed a phone and expected to pick up on a conversation about whatever we were trying to communicate!! He NEVER once acted irritated with our constant interruptions!
I must admit that I am quite the "matchmaker" and Deo had to put up with us finding a possible companion for him everyplace we traveled.....he even agreed that some were possibilities! I was more than happy to remind him of how much time was left if he wanted us to be able to go to the temple with him for his wedding!!! He was such a good sport with my "meddling" ways. Besides, he would be a very good catch for some worthy woman! Okay, another favorite memory about Deo: Few people here actually own their own car...he was no exception. Every once in awhile, he would walk into our work area with this sheepish look on his face, and look at Elder Bird (or Elder Goss) and say, "Dad....."...of course every dad knows exactly what their son wants.....either money or to borrow the was always the car to run an errand!! He is truly like a son to us and we loved teasing him and giving him counsel that he usually didn't ask for! We have grown to love him and will miss him greatly. We are hoping that aside from going back to full-time production work directing shows, organizing events and managing talents, he will also devote some time to finding an eternal companion...after all, we leave in October!!


Manila Stake President and VIP's at Jubilee Exhibit

                  E/S Bird with Stake Leaders, Guests, Volunteers...and some adorable children!!

The Manila Stake hosted the final Jubilee Exhibit, during the Philippines Jubilee Year, beginning March 26, 2012. It was nice to be able to drive just 45 minutes to attend this exhibit and, also, to travel through a part of Manila we had not experienced before. Eleven months ago this area would have frightened me to drive through it, but after living here for a while, I just felt right at home. The exhibit was held on the second floor of the Manila Institute of Religion Building. Once again, the Public Affairs Council was very well prepared. This exhibit is not something you can pull together last literally takes months of preparation! They had done their homework well and it was reflected in their opening ceremonies. Many VIP's attended, as well as, visited the exhibit during the week. President Andrada, his wife, and other stake leaders were wonderful hosts. The opening ceremonies consisted of M.C's, a Jubilee choir that performed several numbers, remarks by Pres. Andrada and one of his counselors, and the High Councilor over public affairs. A couple from Manila, not of our faith, was also honored for their contribution to strengthening families in the area. Following the opening ceremonies, the ribbon cutting was done by those VIP's attending. The VIP's were also given tokens of appreciation (picture of Christ, framed Proclamation on the Family, or Tabernacle Choir C.D.s) for taking time to attend the event. The Jubilee choir sang as the VIP's walked through the exhibit teaching the history of the Church in this great country. We later learned that hundreds attended on this opening day. We are so happy that we have been here to witness this historic event!