Featured Story

Young Woman Serves Full-time Mission Amidst Pandemic

More than a year ago, Filipino missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assigned in different parts of the world, along with those of other nationalities, were asked to return to their home country due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This particular event in history led to the implementation of some temporary adjustments in the church’s missionary service program, including additional safety protocols for proselyting, temporary reassignments, and the shift of missionary training to an online setup, among others.

Despite major changes in missionary service and the uncertainties during this time, young single adults from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines still choose to serve missions in their pursuit of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and contributing to this great work. 

One of them is 19-year-old Meleza Castro of Quezon City 4th Ward, Quezon City Philippines Stake. 


Meleza, a native of Surigao City, was baptized in 2016 when her mother, who was a less active member of the church at that time, came across the missionaries again and decided to introduce them to her. 

“I did not want to meet with them at first. It took four different missionaries to visit our home before I finally agreed to be taught,” she recalled. 

“When the fourth missionary came to visit us, that is when I finally realized what their purpose was and knew the reason why they kept coming to our home, even if they had to walk under the scorching heat of the sun or get wet in the rain. They walked 10 kilometers just to get to our home. They did all these out of their desire to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ,” she added.

According to Meleza, this is how she came to know about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Church that was restored here on earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. This is how she knew about the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring into the lives of individuals and families, including hers. Furthermore, this is how she developed her love for missionary work. 

Starting early

Even before applying for a mission, Meleza has been serving one in her own home by introducing the church to her sister and nieces. Just like her, Meleza’s sister was initially hesitant to talk to the missionaries. Nevertheless, Meleza remained faithful and consistently shared her testimony with them.

“I knew the time would come when they would realize why I stayed in the church and see the joy we experience when we live the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Meleza. Through Meleza’s example and perseverance, it did not take long for her sister and nieces to invite the missionaries to come over and make the decision to get baptized. 


She continued, “I always do my best to encourage them, especially my nieces, to come to church with me so they will know early in their lives how His gospel can have a great impact on them and how it can open the doors to countless blessings.”

Participating in youth activities and magnifying Church callings

Meleza explained that participating in church activities and programs, as well as magnifying her callings, have been crucial for her preparation to serve a full-time mission. 

“By actively attending seminary and other youth activities, I came to know myself more. I was able to develop a deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, strengthen my own testimony, and increase my desire to serve a mission,” she said. 

“When we know our Savior Jesus Christ and our true identity, we will never think about leaving the church. We will never go astray,” she added.

Moreover, Meleza acknowledged that her present calling as a ward missionary prepared her the most for her mission. “Because of this calling, I truly learned what it is like to be a missionary. I learned how to teach investigators, help them understand His restored gospel, and invite them to live it,” she said.

Overcoming challenges and fears

Despite Meleza’s faith and dedication, her mission preparation has not always been smooth sailing. 

Due to the imposed nationwide lockdown which brought many restrictions, having to do almost everything online is a big challenge as she constantly has to look for a good phone signal when attending virtual Sunday services, conferences, and lessons with missionaries and investigators. Apart from that, she mentioned that lockdown restrictions have made it even more difficult for her to find ways to meet her financial needs.

When asked what she is most nervous about going on a mission, she answered that it is getting rejected. “I am really nervous about the thought that people might slam their doors shut and refuse to hear our message,” said Meleza. “However, whenever I think about this, I am always reminded of the verse in Doctrine and Covenants which says, ‘If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.’”

Meleza considers scripture reading and studying the Preach My Gospel handbook as the most important parts of her daily routine. “I always start my day by reading the Book of Mormon and studying the Preach My Gospel handbook, because when I do, I become so happy and my other tasks become easier to do,” she said. According to her, the Book of Mormon has become a huge part of her life that she feels “there is something missing” whenever she forgets to read it. 

Additionally, she said that limiting her use of social media has helped her become more productive and in tune with the Spirit. 

Keeping the faith

Regardless of turmoil, confusion, and chaos in the world today, Meleza has never failed to look to the future with faith and confidence. She believes everything that is happening today has a purpose.

“I know that everything we are experiencing today has a purpose. The most important thing for us to do is to remain faithful in our Savior Jesus Christ and to stay on the covenant path,” she concluded.

About full-time missionaries

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' missionary program is one of its most recognized characteristics. Latter-day Saint missionaries can be seen on the streets of hundreds of major cities in the world as well as in thousands of smaller communities.

The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel, and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ (see, for example, the work of Peter and John in the book of Acts).

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.