News Release

New Missionary Training Center President Arrives in Manila

The New Year brought an important change to the Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Gary and Sister Marsha Beck arrived in Quezon City to spend the next two years of their lives supervising the training of numerous young missionaries placed in their care.

This is not the first time the Becks have lived and served the Church in the Philippines. Previously, President Beck served as the President of the Philippines Manila Mission from 2002 – 2005. Reminiscing about that time, he said that it is like coming home for him and his wife of 39 years. At that time the numbers of missionaries were divided almost equally from the Philippines and from North America. Now, because of the growth of the Church in this country, there are a lot more from the Philippines.  

When asked what the greatest highlights from that mission were, he said the missionaries became heroes to him as he watched those young men adjust to initial nervousness and then grow in their ability as they served as Church leaders. Videos were made to educate the new Filipino members about the Church organizations, the Priesthood and auxiliaries, home and visiting teaching (caring for members’ needs and providing spiritual instruction), etc. At that time both the islands of Mindoro and Palawan were in the Manila Mission.  

Sister Beck responded to the same question with the following, “Watching the change in the missionaries as they learned the gospel and gained a stronger testimony of the Savior.”  She said they had a program for improvement called “Raising the Bar” and the missionaries adhered to it.  A new missionary training book Preach My Gospel helped the missionaries rely on the spirit as they taught and the work soared.  The light of Christ was evident in their countenances.

President Beck received a B.S. Degree from the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut and served as the Regimental Commander, the equivalent of a university student body president. He later earned his Juris Doctor (law degree) from Brigham Young University, J. Rueben Clark Law School. Service through the ranks to the grade of Captain with the Coast Guard took them many different places – Connecticut, New York, Utah, Washington DC, Washington State and California. He and his wife  have been blessed with four children, three girls and a boy. In addition, they now have seven grandchildren.

President Beck said “If they had lined up all the MTC’s throughout the Church and told us we had our choice, we would still have picked the Philippine Missionary Training Center here in Metro Manila!  We love this country, its people and our missionaries. The spirit here in the MTC is strong and powerful.  The missionaries here possess such humility. They are teachable and so good and obedient.”

There are currently 66 full time missionaries in training but numbers will increase to 93 in just a few weeks. The facility has the capacity for housing 216 missionaries and will train larger numbers now that missionaries can serve at an earlier age. The training center includes missionaries called from several Asian countries, including Philippines, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Singapore, Laos, Guam-Micronesia and Nepal. They receive training in English using native language translators.

Sister Beck concluded the interview, “Serving in a Missionary Training Center is unique to any other kind of experience or service in the Church. The Savior’s Spirit is here in great abundance.”

Quoting from President Ezra Taft Benson as stated in Preach My Gospel, “We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family.”

President and Sister Beck are honored to assist in training missionaries to spread this message in this part of the world. The new Missionary Training Center was completed and an open house for the public was held March 5-10, 2012  with over 5,000 attending. 



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