Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Wreath Placed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at American Memorial Cemetery

(pics l-r) 1. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Padilla (U.S. Marines) with Boy Scouts 2. Young Boy and Girl Place Wreath to Commemorate Fallen Soldiers 3. E/S Bird with Vice President of the Philippines, Jejomar Binay 4. Members of Area Presidency Pose with British Ambassador to the Philippines and His Son

Bugler Plays Taps at Conclusion of Memorial Services
For the second time on our mission, we attended this Memorial Day service...only this time, the Church contributed a wreath and members of our Area Presidency were present.  Like last year, it was a wonderful patriotic service.  Below is the article written by Randy, that was published in the Mormonnewsroom.ph website.

On Sunday, 27 May 2012 at 8:00 a.m. in the Manila American Military Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, a Memorial Day service was held to honor those fallen in World War II and on the battlefields of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vice President Jejomar Binay,  Congressman Isidro S. Rodriguez Jr., Lieutenant General Jessie Dellosa, chief staff of the Philippine armed forces, and Ambassadors from Canada, South Africa, and The United Kingdom were in attendance. President Michael John U. Teh and President Ian S. Ardern of the Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their wives were among those assembled to pay tribute to those who gave their lives to protect our freedom and liberty.
Members of the Boy Scouts of America, the United States Embassy and the Makati 4th Branch of the Church had placed a Filipino and an American flag on each of the 17,000 graves the morning before. The entire cemetery was reminiscent of the United States National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia or the World War II Memorial Cemetery in Normandy, France.
A row of beautiful wreaths flanked the side of a white tent where the ceremonies took place. The Church had presented one of the wreaths this year and was recognized for its gift. The security and quiet solemnity of the cemetery provided a moving backdrop to the program which included opening remarks and Memorial messages, and music provided by the Philippine Army Band. At the conclusion of the service, Taps was played at two positions in the Memorial preceded by a 21-gun salute. 
The cemetery site, 152 acres of gently rising ground which culminates at the memorial, contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II. Soldiers from all of the then 48 States of the Union as well as the District of Columbia, Philippines, Panama, Guam, Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada, China, England, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Finland, Jamaica, Burma and Peru are buried at the site.
Both the service and the cemetery itself were reminders of the price of freedom paid by those willing to serve their country in time of war. As Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said at a Philippine Area Office devotional the previous Tuesday morning, “There will always be enmity, hatred, contention and dissention in the world because that is the adversary’s work, but the Lord will prevail. Where there was war in Korea and the Philippines, there are now wards, stakes and temples  (dioceses and cathedrals)."


President Michael John U. Teh, Area President and Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the Coconut Palace, Home of Vice President Jejomar Binay

Emman Rama and His Wife, President Michael John U. Teh, V.P. Jejomar Binay, and Elder Russell M. Nelson With Gift of the Christus That Was Presented by The Church to V.P. Binay

Elder Russell M. Nelson Visits With Vice President Jejomar Binay
Below is the article written about Elder Nelson's visit with Vice President Binay.  Haidi (director of Public Affairs in the Philippines) set this meeting up and also accompanied Elder Nelson to the visit. We prepared the gift of the Christus for him! I kept thinking,"does V.P. Binay have any idea how privileged he is today???" It was a great day!

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) met with Vice President Jejomar Binay to renew and discuss their commitment to support the Philippines in its areas of mutual concern, particularly, family values and humanitarian initiatives. 
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Michael John U. Teh, Philippines Area President, paid a courtesy call to the Vice President at the heels of the Church’s successful celebration of its 50 years in the Philippines, and most recently, its observance of the National Day of Service held April 28 in which Church members provided 150,000 hours of volunteer service throughout the country.
In the Philippines, the Church was established in 1961, and counts to date more than half a million members. In their conversation, Binay expressed interest knowing about the origin of the term “Mormons” and spoke of appreciation of the Philippines Manila Temple.  He also expressed familiarity with missionaries walking in the streets in pairs wearing name tags under the heat of the sun.  In line with Binay’s housing initiatives for the marginalized sectors,  Elder Teh informed him of the construction of temporary shelters in Cagayan de Oro in partnership with Catholic Relief Services.  Elder Nelson further reinforced the Church’s desire to help the Filipinos and expressed to Binay the Church’s willingness to partner with his office for any worthwhile projects that will benefit the people. 
Elder Nelson, who prior to his becoming an Apostle, was an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, said: “We were pleased to meet with the Vice President of the Philippines.  He is an ardent advocate of strong families and of helpful service to others. As Church leaders, we also support and uphold the Filipino family as a basic unit of this society.  We often participate with people of other faith groups in addressing humanitarian and other needs throughout the world.  We do this because we try to pattern our lives after the teachings of Jesus Christ.  We strive to follow his example."

Monday, June 11, 2012


1. Elder Russell M. Nelson, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 2. Elder Russell M. Nelson Greets Sister Bird 3. Elder Nelson and Area Presidency (Pres. Teh, Elder Nielsen, and Elder Ardern) Greet People After Morning Devotional

E/S Bird with Bishop Dean and Darla Davies of the Presiding Bishopric...Visited the Philippines the Same Week as Elder Nelson

Sister Bird Greets Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elder Bird Greets Elder Russell M. Nelson and Pres. Michael John U. Teh 

Elders Muhlestein and Dariagan (Malaya Branch Missionaries) Greet Elder Nelson and Elder Nielsen of the Area Presidency

Elder Russell M. Nelson Greets Missionaries and Members on His Way to the Manila Temple

Friday, June 8, 2012


President George Taylor Speaks at MTC Dedication as Area Presidency and Elder Russell M. Nelson Look On

Teachers at MTC Sing Intermediate Hymn

New Missionaries Sing Hymn at the Beginning of the Dedication

Elder Russell M. Nelson Addresses Attendees Prior to Dedicating the MTC
What a privilege to be here for the dedication of the new Philippines Missionary Training Center. It was held on May 20, 2012 in the Joseph Smith Conference Room, and was scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m., however, many were already in their seats at 4:30! Randy and I were in charge of seating the first three rows of guests, many of which were not members of the Church, and then directing the other guests (Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, Manila Temple Presidency, and Area Seventy along with spouses) to just fill in wherever they wanted to sit.  We loved it! We had met many of the Stake and Mission Presidents while traveling to Jubilee Exhibits, and we had such a great time visiting with them again.  Also, some of the others remembered Randy, from back in the 90's, when he came to the Philippines to do CES training...they had been the teachers! It was so fun for us.
But the very best was when Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, walked into the foyer with the Area Presidency...I had never met him...he was the kindest, friendliest, most gracious man ever!  He walked over to Randy and me and said (looking at our name tags), "How are my little Birdies"? We had a brief visit and then he moved into the chapel area for the dedication. As he sat on the stand, and the meeting began, the entire "batch" of new missionaries that had just arrived from many Asian countries (they all arrived the day before!) filed into the isles and filled the foyer and sang "Called to Serve" acapella. Oh, it was just so touching...all of the different faces and heights and degrees of skin color trying to pronounce those words in English. ALL hearts were touched.  The MTC President spoke and read many verses from Isaiah talking about the latter days and an ensign being raised to the nations and the restoration...it was excellent. He was followed by each of the Area Presidency....they spoke of their own missions and of learning to know their Savior and the power of the Atonement...each bore powerful testimonies of the reality of the Father and of Jesus Christ and how they know They live.  Then Elder Ardern gave a very brief introduction to Elder Nelson (for those guests not of our faith...among many other accomplishments,  he was a world renown heart surgeon prior to his call as an apostle) then Elder Nelson spoke to the group for only a short time...testifying of Jesus Christ...and then he smiled and said,"Well, I am not here to give a long speech, but I am here to give a long prayer, so we will start", and he asked all to bow their heads and he gave the most beautiful dedicatory prayer.  The blessings he pronounced upon this country and how he prayed for their leaders was just very touching, and he also prayed for every nation sending missionaries to this MTC. Then it ended with all of the congregation singing Battle Hymn of the Republic.  All were invited to come up one side of the conference room and meet Elder Nelson and the other leaders and then file down and out the other side.
There are so many stories I could tell about the guests experiences...really amazing, but I will share one about a guest invited by our Public Affairs Department.  He is in his early 50's, Catholic, and was hired by the Public Affairs Department to help develop relationships with the media in Metro-Manila. It is very difficult to get any media coverage here if you do not pay big bucks and have an "in" with certain people.  This man is a very successful media relations consultant who has been hired by many huge corporations to help them solve various problems...he is also a very good and honest person, and was highly recommended to Haidi. In his 20's he had decided to go into the "ministry" with the Catholic church, but after a year, he felt it just wasn't for him and changed to a different course of study, but decided he would never marry.  We have been meeting with him every week for a couple of months now.  Since we are now one of his "clients", he has done much study on his own to understand who the Church is (he had never even heard of the Church before this), what our stand is on many topics, and what things would be of particular interest to the media, etc.  He is a well respected man here in the Philippines. So, he wanted very much to be in this meeting for the MTC dedication....it would be one more help for him to understand the Church. Well, what happened was the most unexpected for him!  Right after the meeting ended, he came over to where Randy and I were standing and stood by us and just looked at the brethren on the stand.  We asked him how he liked the meeting.  He seriously could not find words to speak....I started to worry that something bad had happened...then he said, " I have been in many meetings in my life, but never in one like this....I have never, ever felt this way before...I don't know what it is...I can't even find words to explain it..." so then Randy said, "Perhaps it is the Holy Ghost"... He looked at Randy thoughtfully and said, "Perhaps it is."  Then Haidi came over and said they should go and meet Elder Nelson and he went with her. I watched him as his turn came and Elder Nelson was so kind and stood there visiting with him for a minute or two. I saw him visiting with President Teh for a while afterwards as they had refreshments.  

After the dedication, we also had the opportunity to take a group on a tour of the MTC...it was mostly those guests that had been seated in the first three rows and some Mission Presidents/wives that had not been here during the MTC Open House. All were such outstanding people among this group. Randy is such a good tour director, and made it so fun and relaxing for everyone.  One man asked how he might get a copy of the Book of Mormon....by then we had become such friends with him, that I was tempted to say "Hmm, we have no idea"...but I controlled my "silliness" and instead asked, "Would you like it in Tagalog or English?" What a great time to be in the Philippines!