News Release

Elder Neil L. Andersen Reaches the Rising Generation in the Philippines

The Apostle begins nine-day ministry

“I just love being here. There is something in your spirits that enlarges our soul. I think it’s just because of your hearts and spirits, because of your faith and your testimony,” said Kathy Andersen, wife of Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Even though we don’t know each one of you personally, we feel such a love for you.”

Those remarks were given at a stake conference in Quezon City, a part of Metro Manila, on Sunday, February 17, 2024. Elder Andersen, accompanied by Sister Andersen, spent the weekend teaching Latter-day Saints as he begins a nine-day ministry in this Southeast Asia nation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is relatively young in the Philippines — yet it is among the fastest growing areas of the Church in the world with more than 850,000 members and 128 stakes (each similar in size to a diocese).

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At the stake conference, Elder Andersen shared his witness. “[God] will reward all good people everywhere and all who believes in Him. But let us not be mistaken. This, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is where his priesthood has been restored,” he said. “Our membership in this His restored gospel will be a great badge of honor as we cross to the other side of the veil. I know this is true, I know He lives. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer.”

The Apostle met with youth and young single adults, answering their questions and giving them guidance. He first met young single adults in San Pablo, Philippines, a city about 50 miles south of Manila, on Saturday.

One question was about how to handle the pressure to serve missions, get married and get an education.

“Let’s not call it pressure. Let’s call it high expectations,” Elder Andersen said. “I’m 72 years old. I still have some pressures. The president of the Church might say, ‘Neil, you have some things you could do better.’ That’s an expectation from the Lord’s prophet. But it’s OK. I know I’m loved by my Heavenly Father. I know I’m not everything I can be. And I’m not going to be everything in this life. But I can rise above who I am.”

In response to another question, Elder Andersen counseled the young single adults to “be very patient with others and very tough on yourself.”

“I’m not sure what will be someone else’s destiny,” he said. “But I know for myself that I need to be serious about my life. What an amazing gift the Lord has given us to choose [how we will live].”

One of the young single adults, Cyra Andal of San Pablo, said learning from Elder Andersen was “a really great experience.” Another, Keona Aranguren of San Pablo, said hearing an Apostle “gave so much comfort to my heart” and courage to move forward “despite the challenges that I face.”

On Sunday, Elder Andersen met with a group of young men and young women following stake conference in Quezon City.

Immanuel Ruis asked Elder Andersen for his advice about how to forgive others when it is difficult to do. Elder Andersen responded, “In the forgiveness you don't let it canker your own heart. You try to get your mind to how the Savior thinks. He had so much done against him. Yet when He was on the cross, what did He say? ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And that's what you have to say.”

Reflecting on Elder Andersen’s response, Immanuel said, “What I got from that is that it's about how you are forgiving [others] in terms of being more like Jesus Christ.”

In a meeting with leaders in San Pablo City, Elder Andersen expressed gratitude for their service.

“We can’t thank you enough. You are the ones who hold the Church of Jesus Christ together,” Elder Andersen said. “You are the ones who make the wards work and make the stakes work. And you help others have faith in Jesus Christ and in his eternal plan. We love you for that. We thank your spouses and children for all the sacrifices you make for the kingdom of God on earth. I want to give you my sure and certain witness that Jesus is the Christ. He lives. He is resurrected. And we will see Him again.”

At meetings held on Saturday, Elder Andersen was accompanied by Elder Carlos G. Revillo Jr., Second Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency, and his wife, Marie. On Sunday Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, First Counselor in the Area Presidency and his wife, Bon, were with Elder and Sister Andersen.

Elder Andersen’s ministry over the coming week will include several visits to humanitarian agencies with whom the Church collaborates. He will also meet a prominent journalist and civic leaders and minister to individuals and families. He will conclude his trip to the Philippines by joining The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square as its world tour begins in the Philippines.

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