News Release

Foreign Missionaries Welcomed to the Philippines After Long Lock-down

With the opening up of Philippine borders to foreign visitors, 33 foreign missionaries were welcomed once again in the halls of the Missionary Training Center yesterday, February 25, 2022.

In 2020, close to 2,000 foreign missionaries were repatriated due to the pandemic surge. The significant loss in the missionary workforce brought unforeseen challenges. Now that they are back, they will continue where they left off and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in every corner of the country.

Sister Loosli, 21, from Florida is among those who served in the Philippines prior to the pandemic. She said, “I am so excited to come back to the Philippines for the second time in my mission. It’s not something I ever thought would happen.”

Upon arrival at the airport, Elder Shearman from Idaho said, “It’s great to finally have the chance to be able to see the culture and get to know the people I’ve been waiting to see and meet.”

Bishop Reynoso Calalang Jr of Payatas Ward (congregation) was also found at the airport waiting for Elder Sligting, son of the missionary who baptized him 29 years ago.

Upon waiting at the gates, he said, “Elder Sligting had tears on his eyes when he opened his assignment to serve in our country. He was praying to come here, and his coming at this time is a fulfillment of his prayers.”

Elder Sligting is among those missionaries whose mission calls were reassigned. More than half of the missionaries who came already served 18 months on a temporary mission assignment and will be spending the remaining months of service in the Philippines.

Arrival and Journey to the MTC

After more than thirty hours of travel, missionaries have not thought of the discomfort but are focused on the Savior’s call to bring the world His truth.

Upon their arrival in the MTC, welcoming them were Elder and Sister Choi, and Elder and Sister Bangerter of the Philippines Area Presidency. Joining them were MTC leaders, President and Sister Maurer.

One by one, they all expressed gratitude to the missionaries for their faith and willingness to serve and be part of the Lord’s battalion.

In his remarks to the missionaries, Elder Bangerter talked about how the Philippines is the springboard of the gospel in Asia.

Sister Loosli, teary-eyed said, “Back in 2019 when Elder Bangerter visited our mission, I heard the same words from him, and now, two years after, it’s heartwarming to know that this fact hasn’t changed, and I can fully participate in this great work happening in the country.”

Looking Back to the Tale of Blessings and Sacrifices

There have been significant changes since the last foreign missionaries stepped into the Philippines in 2020. The Philippines Missionary Training Center has shifted into online training and operations to cater Filipinos and Asians from neighboring countries like Japan, Thailand, Mongolia, Pakistan, and India.

Elder Pengoy, one of the first to complete virtual MTC training in April 2020, learned to be more obedient and disciplined. He said, “I've learned to obey [the missionary] rules even when I’m alone. I've also learned to use my time wisely and use technology the right way.”

With the shift in the nature of training, missionaries had more opportunities to serve their families and the people around them. “Missionaries undergoing online training had more influence with their family and friends during training. They were more active in making their family involved in missionary work,” said Mushiee Mondejar-Mulit, MTC teacher.

The first batch of virtually trained missionaries like Elder Pengoy and many others attested that this unique training experience made them learn beyond the curriculum, particularly about the true essence of discipleship.

Looking back, the Lord turned difficult situations into blessings for missionaries and their families with increased faith and opportunities to serve.

Moving the Work Forward

Great excitement filled everyone when the Philippines has finally opened its borders. The MTC started its preparation by conducting language training for teachers. This training equipped them to better help missionaries develop the gift of tongues in learning and teaching different languages. Currently, there are Tagalog and Cebuano learning missionaries in the MTC.

Language training missionaries are thrilled to learn and serve in their original mission assignments. Even though they only have less than a year left, their burning desire to help Filipinos is strong.

Elder Osmond, who’ll serve at the Philippines San Pablo Mission, said, “I’m so excited, I can’t believe I’m here. When I opened my call to the Philippines, I felt a lot of love for the country, and that love just never left.”

“I was shocked and excited when I learned I would be going to my original mission in the Philippines. We only had a week and a half before our flight here. Not all of my fellow missionaries went here. I feel Heavenly Father knew I needed to do something else,” said Elder Hislop, who will be serving in the Philippines Angeles Mission.

Meanwhile, the Philippines Area will continue in its relentless effort to receive more missionaries from other countries as travel restrictions in the country allows.

Full-time missionaries all over the world are undaunted as they continue to serve, following the counsel of the prophet and keeping the guidelines set by the government in their area. They join everyone in prayer and fasting so this crisis will be over and they can walk the streets again. Truly, this work shall go forth... until the great Jehovah shall say 'The work is done'

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