News Release

Elder Renlund Inspires Commitment to Christ and Unity at Butuan Stake Center

Distinguished among the attendees were church leaders, including Elder G. Kenneth Lee, Area Seventy, accompanied by his wife, Sister Angelica Lee, and Elder Bartolome L. Madriaga, Area Seventy, with his wife, Sister Jean Madriaga. Their presence added significance to the devotional, enhancing the spiritual atmosphere.

Approximately 940 attendees from different stakes and districts gathered at the Butuan Stake Center, while others joined remotely via Zoom, demonstrating the power of connection. The anticipation and reverence in the center created an atmosphere of expectation. Elder Renlund's renowned commitment to Christ and profound insights further heightened the sense of anticipation.

Amidst this spiritual backdrop, Elder Renlund delivered a message that deeply resonated with those in attendance. His central theme emphasized the need to center their lives on the Savior, Jesus Christ. "In all that we do, let us turn our focus to the teachings and example of our Savior," Elder Renlund passionately emphasized from the pulpit.

Members from the Alegria Branch of the Placer District made a dedicated effort to attend the devotional, using an unconventional mode of transportation - a bongo owned by their branch president. The bongo, capable of seating up to 25 people, became the means of travel for these faithful members on their journey to the devotional.

Aljohn Saure, a returned missionary and one of the individuals who embarked on this journey, reflected on the profound experience. He remarked, "Amidst the privilege of hearing a servant of the Lord, the most important lesson I took away was the need to build a sure foundation, honor His covenant, and become like Him. Though I couldn't shake hands with Him, Elder Renlund's countenance radiated Christlike attributes, reminding me of the answer to troubles, problems, and doubts. The experience may have been fleeting, but its impact was immeasurable."

Sister Julene Taro, a teacher in the Placer District, made a concerted effort to attend the devotional despite her demanding schedule. She shared, "Elder Renlund reminded me to always ponder and remember the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, especially as we partake in the sacrament. I was also reminded to nurture my talents to serve more willingly in the church. As we make covenants in the temple, having the will to serve is far more valuable than possessing talents alone."

Even those who watched the devotional remotely via Zoom were inspired and grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a significant event. Brother John Darren Pacquiao, who was unable to attend in person due to financial constraints, participated by connecting through Zoom from the meetinghouse of Alegria Branch in the Placer District. He expressed his gratitude and said, "I am so blessed to meet one of the twelve Apostles of the Lord, Elder Dale G. Renlund, and his lovely wife, even though I only had the chance to watch and listen to them in our chapel via Zoom. From his powerful message, I realized that the Lord, Jesus Christ, will help those who are willing to do something in order to accomplish His great work for His kingdom here on earth."

In addition, among the attendees were members residing in close proximity to the stake center, including Brother Bhonlane Laniton, a young man, from Butuan Stake, 3rd Ward, who resides just a few blocks away. Reflecting on the devotional, Bhonlane shared, “Jesus Christ is the way, and it is up to us to choose whether we will follow His guidance and embrace His light. With Him in our lives, all things become possible." These sentiments echo the profound message conveyed by Elder Renlund, emphasizing, "Without Jesus Christ in our lives, we lack the power, stability, and direction necessary for true fulfillment."

Sister Marjorie Camingao Baculio, a married member of the Butuan 3rd Ward, candidly conveyed her personal reflections on this profound principle, revealing, “Many times, I find myself doubting my abilities and feeling inadequate. I often get caught up in focusing on my weaknesses, limitations, and fears. But I've come to realize that these negative thoughts hinder my progress and prevent me from fully embracing the covenant path.”

Apart from these lengthy reflections of other members, a youth from the 2nd Ward of Butuan Stake simply expressed her profound realization in the simplest words, "God doesn't just want me to know what is right. He wants me to choose and do what is right."

Following the conclusion of Elder Renlund's address, a wave of gratitude and appreciation swept through the congregation. The attendees left the devotional with renewed determination to live their lives according to the teachings of Christ and to foster unity within their communities.

Elder Renlund's visit to the Butuan Stake Center will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of those who were present. His teachings on faith, love, and unity will continue to guide the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their individual spiritual journeys and strengthen their collective bond as a community of believers.

As the sun descended on this notable occasion, the Butuan Stake Center stood filled with a renewed sense of dedication and overwhelming joy. The impactful teachings of Elder Renlund echoed within its walls, serving as a constant reminder of the profound influence of faith, love, and unity in service to God.

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