Saturday, September 3, 2016

August 2, 2016

Our First Batch of Exiting Missionaries

President Speirs and I had no idea that we would be so sad to see Elders and Sisters return home after  completing their 18 month or 2-year assignments.  Yes, we have only been here for 1 month, but we love them dearly.  They are our leaders.  They are righteous examples to the other Missionaries.  They have found a place in our hearts and we are proud of them, happy that we could serve with them for one short month, and excited for the next phrase of their lives.  Today we journeyed  to the Manila  American Cemetery with our departing missionaries for a final testimony meeting.

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

The Manila American Cemetery is located in Metro Manila and occupies 152 acres.  It contains the largest number of American graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,201, most of whom lost their lives in the Philippines and New Guinea.  It is also the place where Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, rededicated the Philippines for Missionary Work.

Three Debts we Cannot Repay

In the early morning of April 28, 1961, around 100 Latter-day Saints, most from Clark Air Base, gathered together on the grounds of the American Cemetery.  Elder Hinckley said:

"This is an occasion you will never forget. What we begin here will affect the lives of thousands and thousands of people in this island republic, and its effect will go from generation to generation...
As we gather in this beautiful and peaceful place this morning, there crossed my mind the thought that there are three debts that none of us will ever repay in full.   The first is to the Savior, the Redeemer of mankind, the Son of God, who gave his life that we might live.  Nothing that we shall ever do shall in full measure repay the debt, which we owe for that.

Another is to those who are remembered in this cemetery, the thousands upon thousands who gave their lives that we might have freedom to assemble this morning, and freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience.

Yet another is the debt we owe to those missionaries, who in days and years past, came at great sacrifice to us or to our forbearers to bring the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is fitting that we meet in this place, which has become sacred and hallowed by the sacrifices of many...."

Philippines Dedicated for Missionary Work

Elder Hinckley, along with those present, then bowed their heads in prayer.  He said in part:  "...We invoke thy blessings upon the people of this land, that they shall be friendly and hospitable, and kind and gracious to those who shall come here.  And that many, yea, Lord, we pray that there shall be many thousands who shall receive this message and be blessed thereby...."

President Hinckley's blessing has been fulfilled.  The Filipino people are "friendly and hospitable, and kind and gracious" to all our missionaries, and many have received the gospel.

We are sad to see 14 of our missionaries leave us, but thankful for their dedicated service as Disciples of Christ.  

Testimony Meeting

The American Military Cemetery is sacred ground for many reasons.  Now it is sacred for one more.  We had a spiritual fest as we sat against the cold marbled walls of the memorial. All bore testimony of the power of love, of service, of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost.  As we sat in the Memorial hall, the bell tower began playing hymns.  Testimonies paused as we all listened, and felt the spirit sweep over our little band of missionaries.

At the conclusion of our testimonies, our little group of missionaries sang hymns.  I am thankful for the thousand upon thousandth times the spirit testifies to me of God's love.  I am thankful that our missionaries could feel it too and know that our Heavenly Father is well pleased with all the good they have done here in the Philippine Cavite Mission.

Front: Elders Yocte, Boam, Velena, Reyes, Samante, Sison
Sister & Pres. Speirs, Elder Turituri, Elder Mataele, Eldr Seeley, Sister Su'a, Elder Cahan, Elder Flitton, Elder Alvarez, Elder Lagudas
Elder Ramos and Elder Lambson
Thousands of names are listed on the memorial walls

Elder Boam

Elder Seeley off to solo time
Front:  Elders Sison, Lagudas, Velena, Reyes, Alvarez, Mataele, Yocte
Back:  Elders Samante, Seeley, Flitton, Turituri, Sister Su'a, Elders Cahan, Boam, President & Sister Speirs

President Speirs and the Assistants to the President
Elder Flitton (exiting AP), Elder Ramos, and Elder Lambson (new AP) 

Elder Alvarez & Sister Speirs
Elder Mataele, Elder Turituri &
Elder Flitton (behind the tree)

Elder Seeley & Elder Sison
In the van

No comments:

Post a Comment