News Release

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Visits Philippines, Shares Message on Love

Messages of faith and obedience highlight the multi-stake (diocese) conference with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church).


Held at the Aurora Stake Center on 13 January 2019, the stake conference was broadcast live in 106 stakes and 69 district centers all over the country. 

The multi-stake conference focused on messages that promoted faith in God and to increase the willingness to obey the Lord shared by general authorities of the Church and selected speakers from the Quezon City South Stake.

In his address to the members and friends of the Church who watched live or via satellite, Elder Holland discussed about the change in the Sunday meeting schedule. He explained that the change of the schedule is not a “retreat from the chapel” but a “movement towards the home” where families can develop a more home-centered faith that’s Church-supported.

“It isn’t much of a church. It isn’t much of a faith. It isn’t much of a force in the world if we only live it at church or in and around a church building,” Elder Holland said. He then encouraged members to continue applying the principles and doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives, to be active participants in missionary, family history and temple works for the growth of the Church in the Philippines.

Additionally, Elder Holland also talked about the new program of ministering that President Russell M. Nelson announced in the last 2018 April General Conference.

“The idea of ministering [is] that we can get a higher and holier approach to just caring about each other. Not so much about the visit but about the care and the love," he said.

Elder Holland pointed out that to help members succeed in this endeavor, they’ll be aided with the principles that the speakers who spoke before him during the conference shared. 

“The first one is simply to obey,” said the 78-year-old Church leader. “Obedience is not only the first law of heaven. Obedience is the first law of everything. Everything that I know that matters requires that initial commitment to obey the word and the will of the Lord. It’s the first covenant that we make in the temple.”

Elder Holland concluded his message by leaving his personal testimony about Jesus Christ and a special blessing to everyone. “I leave an apostolic blessing to each of you... that you’ll be blessed to receive the promises of Almighty God,” he said. “Every blessing you need, whatever you need in righteousness, I promise you, you will have.”

“Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you," Elder Holland said, quoting from the scriptures. "I promise you answers to those pleadings. Timing, again, is up to the Lord, but I promise you a successful conclusion of your faith.”

He then encouraged members to remain true to their faith. “Do not be driven by every wind that blows. Do not be tossed about by every wave of the sea. Be strong. Be steadfast. Be firm and filled with faith,” he said.

Other speakers included Elder Evan A. Schmutz, Elder Michael John U. Teh, and Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, who are members of the Seventy. Sister Vernoni Dulalia and Sister Minerva Hisita, members of the Quezon City South Stake, also spoke to the members.

Elder Wakolo, called recently to serve as the second counselor of the Philippines Area Presidency, shared a message on keeping covenants with God and fortifying homes.

He defined ‘covenant’ as a pact or agreement between God and man. “God always keeps His promises,” he emphasized. “You and I have a choice. It’s up to us what we do to honor our covenants.”

Elder Wakolo, who hails from Fiji, also explained that the things that lead to eternal life are prayer, scripture reading, paying tithing and many other good habits. These activities will help fortify the homes and help families survive spiritually from the attacks of the adversary.

Elder Michael John U. Teh, serving currently as the first counselor of the Philippines Area Presidency, focused his message on the youth. He shared fondly of his life when he was still a young child and a young man.

“The spark of testimony from my childhood days was added upon to become a small flame of faith,” he said, recalling how memorizing the Articles of Faith, attending seminary and being an active participant of the Youth Program of the Church helped him develop a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Elder Teh, later on, shared about this experience as a young full-time missionary of the Church and the lessons he has learned on his mission. He shared what his mission president was trying to teach him to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. “Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, we can cast our burdens upon Him,” he taught.

Additionally, Elder Teh also shared, “Our lives would be much simpler and stress-free if we focus on just pleasing God and not on other people.”

Elder Schmutz, who is currently serving as the president of the Philippines Area Presidency, in his message recalled a personal experience he had recently about a young twelve-year-old girl who shared about the lessons her parents taught her about faithfulness and obedience. He then encouraged the adult members of the Church to set an example in word and by deed by keeping the commandments of God.

“It is necessary that we take upon ourselves the responsibility to be diligent in putting into place what President Russell M. Nelson has asked us to do. Let us be faithful in using the Come, Follow Me to augment or increase the study that we already do at home.”

“It is essential, above everything else, that we develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship comes about by faith in His name, by choosing to believe in Jesus Christ – that which He has taught and that which He has done -- and by exercising our faith to repent of sin, to be obedient and to endure to the end in joy and happiness.”

“Let us be obedient to the Law of the Tithe; let us be obedient to the Law of the Fast; let us keep the Sabbath Day holy; let us be worthy to obtain and retain temple recommends and walk in a way that our Heavenly Father has commanded.

Sister Vernoni Dulalia, president of the Quezon City South Stake Relief Society Organization, talked about mental health awareness and the importance of seeking medical, professional and spiritual help. Quoting from Elder Holland, she said, “Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.”

“The Savior loves each of us. He fully comprehends the pain and struggles that many experience as they live with a broad range of mental health challenges. He suffered the pain of every living creature -- both men, women, and children -- so that He will know how to succor us,” she said.

Sister Minerva Hisita, a wife and mother, encouraged the young women to always set a good example. “Please don’t underestimate your influence and your righteous examples to others,” she said. She then narrated true stories about three young women who have exemplified what it means to be “Witnesses of Christ” and how their influence changed the lives of others around them.

“'In the eternal plan, no blessing will be kept from the faithful. No woman should question how the Savior values womanhood.'” Sister Hisita concluded, quoting from a talk by Elder James E. Faust, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder Evan A. Schmutz conducted the Philippines Stake Conference. Two young single adults were asked to share their testimonies prior to Elder Holland's concluding message. The Cubao Ward Choir provided the music. Songs sang during the conference included Consider the Lilies, If You Could Hie to Kolob, and Put Your Shoulders to the Weel.

Elder Holland is currently in the country to preside over the groundbreaking ceremony of the Urdaneta Philippines Temple on 16 January 2019. The Urdaneta Philippines Temple will be the third temple in the country upon completion and will benefit members of the Church residing in the Pangasinan province and in all of Northern Luzon.

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