News Release

Members Share Tender Moment with Relief Society and Primary General Presidents in Area-wide Women’s Devotional

In a spiritually uplifting gathering, women from all over the Philippines joined in person and virtually last November 16, 2023, for a memorable devotional that was streamed live from Cebu, Philippines. The devotional focused on the importance of women, with messages focused on the fact that they are loved and precious to Heavenly Father.

The Area Broadcast was attended by Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson and Primary General President Susan H. Porter, who traveled to the Philippines for a 10-day special ministering assignment.

Apart from the Women’s Conference in the Lahug Stake Center, the General Officers also participated in the launch of the Light the World Giving Machines in Ayala Center Cebu and met with press members and community leaders from the area.

The Women’s Devotional was presided over by Elder Steven R. Bangerter, President of the Philippines Area. He was joined by Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, First Counselor to the Area Presidency, and their wives, Sister Susan Bangerter and Sister Bon Kyung Koo Choi.

Sister Susan H. Porter: You are loved; you are precious

Sister Susan H. Porter expressed her deep love for the Filipino members. She engaged the congregation by asking about primary songs that taught them about Jesus Christ, fostering a spirit of unity and shared devotion.

During the devotional, sisters courageously shared personal stories, emphasizing that challenges are growth opportunities, echoing the sentiment that Heavenly Father's love sustains them. Despite being the only member in her family, a sister committed to following Jesus Christ's example and being with Heavenly Father in the life to come.

Sister Porter drew on inspiring accounts of women from scriptures, highlighting the power of honest prayers, faith in healing, and the transformative nature of reaching out to God. She emphasized that each sister was precious by underscoring the infinite worth of each soul, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-11).

She poignantly shared, "God’s love comes in many forms – someone else's timely presence, an impression to serve, or the overwhelming feeling of His love for others. We can pray for hearts to understand, eyes to see, ears to hear His love, knowing we are precious to our Heavenly Father."

Sister Camille N. Johnson: You are necessary

In her equally beautiful talk, Sister Johnson emphasized the essential role of women in the Church, as President Russel M. Nelson mentioned in his October 2015 General Conference talk, “A Plead to My Sisters,” urging them to reflect righteousness and be distinct from the world.

Observing that women need not excel at everything simultaneously, Sister Johnson encouraged cultivating individual talents and attributes. She stressed the importance of making and keeping sacred covenants, underscoring its importance in this life’s journey and in joining Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ someday.

Sister Johnson emphasized that members of the Church must continue to cultivate the capacity to receive personal revelation, strive to live the teachings of the prophet, improve upon talents and attributes to build up the kingdom, know who we are, and reflect upon how God is expressing His love for us.

After the devotional, several members shared their thoughts and feelings: A senior missionary serving in Cebu Mission spoke of the power of primary songs and shared how they remind her that “Hard things are okay because Heavenly Father loves us."

A returned missionary sister in the audience mentioned how, despite being the only member in her family, she committed to follow Jesus Christ's example and be with Heavenly Father in the life to come. "When Sister Porter said, "We need to see God's life in our lives. It may be in the form of someone else's impression to serve someone else, feeling his love for others," she said.

Lorelei Ravanera from Lapu-Lapu 2nd Ward also shared her testimony of God's love for her despite being imperfect during the process of the Plan of Salvation. "I learned that Heavenly Father would still love us no matter how imperfect we are. And He blesses us in individual ways just enough to feel His love for us. He loves us so much and is always there for us.

Even virtual attendees shared their love for the speakers, especially the General Officers. A sister who watched the Women’s Devotional on YouTube said: “Thank you so much for this wonderful devotional. Your messages are so timely for the things I am struggling with now. Thank you. You have inspired me to be better.”

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