Hundreds of full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints staying at the Manila Missionary Training Center (MTC) gathered on Monday, 14 January 2019 to listen to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
In his talk, Elder Holland expressed his love and gratitude for the missionaries. “In a way, you and I are in this work together. You carry an apostolic work and we are grateful for what you do,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of full-time missionary service. He reminded the missionaries to “assume the responsibility to make the mission a life-changing experience.” He further said, “Do not go home with any regrets. Do not miss this opportunity to carry out this apostolic mission.”
Elder Holland assured the missionaries that the Lord will bless them as they go serve in faith. “I didn’t have anyone in my family who has served a mission, so I didn’t have any clue on how it was supposed to go,” he said as he shared his experience of being the first missionary in his family.
“But everything changed after those two years. Everything got better. Anything I needed to learn, change and do, I got from serving those years. I don’t know where I’d be even if hadn’t been in my mission. It seems like every good thing that has happened to me throughout the years has come as a result of my mission.”
Elder Holland urged missionaries to care for this service as he does. “I just care so much about this work, and that’s why I’m here, asking you to care for it too.” In order to do so, he shared keys to missionary service.
He started by pointing out that, “Obedience is the first law of heaven, and a prerequisite to all things, but eventually, you have to obey to have the Spirit of the Lord, because you cannot succeed in this work without it.”
He explained that to find the will to obey, one needs to seek the Lord’s guidance in all things. “You have to ask for it, you have to pray for it, seek it, in every decision, every minute of every day. And we seek the spirit because we should teach with astonishment, with power and authority. And give that opportunity to every person,” he said.
“We can’t afford to be the judges of people, to say who deserves to hear the gospel or who does not. And as you make the gospel available to everybody, use the single most important tool in bringing people to Christ – The Book of Mormon. And don’t forget to give the credit and glory to God. If you do, you will never fail. Get His companionship and you will succeed,” he concluded.
Other messages shared that night also aligned with Elder Holland’s remarks. Sister Carlos, the wife of the MTC President, talked about her journey as a convert and reminded missionaries that “we cannot judge people whether or not they are ready for the gospel, so we should share it with everyone.”
President Carlos testified of this, saying, “We don’t know who the Lord is preparing for us.”
Meanwhile, Sister Grace Teh, wife of Elder Michael John U. Teh who is a member of the Philippines Area Presidency, expressed her gratitude for the atonement of Jesus Christ and bore witness that it “can help us through the difficulties and trials of not only the mission but of our life.”
Elder Teh reminded the missionaries that although they are embarking on a great work, they should “not get discouraged when things don’t go as planned and to trust in His timing.”
Before full-time missionaries embark on their 18- to 24-month journey to teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, their first top is one of the 15 MTCs around the world where they undergo 19 to 40 days of training. The Missionary Training in the Philippines serves missionaries from the country and other countries in Asia. It includes language training for those who will use Cambodian, Cebuano, English, Indonesian, Mandarin, Mongolian, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese all throughout their mission.