News Release

Elder Cook Concludes Philippine Ministry

Meetings with volcano evacuees, nation’s president, interfaith leaders and members highlight visit

For nearly a week, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Mary, ministered in the Philippines, a country where they lived from 1996 to 1998 and where more than 800,000 Latter-day Saints reside. While there, they visited with members, government officials, religious leaders and the media. Elder Cook also made an unannounced trip to Batangas, where he ministered to evacuees temporarily sheltered in Church meetinghouses due to the recent Taal volcano eruption.

 

Special Member Devotionals

Within hours of the volcano’s eruption some 35 miles away, Elder Cook spoke to hundreds of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith from the Mandaluyong-area congregations on Sunday afternoon, January 12.

During his remarks, Elder Cook emphasized Filipinos’ strength in the face of adversity. “I know that there are a lot of trials and hardships. The Filipinos have always faced those in such a glorious way,” he said.

Other member meetings were held at the Baliwag and Taguig stake centers. He also met with missionaries at the Manila Missionary Training Center and missionaries from two of the 23 missions in the Philippines.

Meeting with Interfaith Leaders

Elder Cook’s ministry trip continued on Monday, January 13, when he met with Manila-area interfaith leaders at a luncheon held at the Philippines Area Office to discuss different topics, including the value of religion in society, harmonious relationships among religions and religious freedom.

At the luncheon, he mentioned the Taal volcano. “We’re concerned about everybody that’s affected, and we hope that we can contribute to anything that’s necessary to bless all faiths. They have our prayers and our faith,” Elder Cook said.

During the interreligious meeting, Elder Cook met many prominent religious leaders, including Imam Ebra Moxsir, who expressed his satisfaction with the relationship-promoting event. “I’ve met so many religious leaders,” the Muslim leader said.

“[He’s a] nice guy, and you would think that he would be a serious professor type of person,” shared the Reverend Father Carlos Reyes of the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Mandaluyong City, who also participated.

“It was very informal, and we were laughing at the table,” he added. “We see our common humanity as somehow what drives us together,” the Rev. Fr. Reyes said.

Interview with Journalist

That afternoon, Elder Cook met with Domini Torrevillas of The Philippine Star to discuss the foundational principles of faith, family and religious freedom. Torrevillas is a columnist with the Star, which has a combined circulation reaching more than one million daily readers.

which has a combined circulation reaching more than one million daily readers. 

Torrevillas spent time with the Cook’s and the area presidency, learning of the Church’s teachings, its history and the desire Church members have to serve God as well as their neighbors in the communities in which they live.

Meeting with Philippine President Duterte

                  

Elder Cook met with Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in a 35-minute courtesy visit on January 15, his fifth day in the country.

Surprise Visit to Volcano Evacuees

        

During his ministry to the Philippine Islands, Elder Cook made an unannounced visit on January 15 to the Batangas Philippines Stake Center, just miles from the Taal volcano, to offer support and love to nearly 200 Latter-day Saints and members of the community who evacuated and are being sheltered there.

“[Filipinos] Are Absolutely Committed to the Savior”

As Elder Cook’s ministry in the Philippines neared an end, he and Sister Cook sat down with Newsroom and reflected on their visit to the island nation.

“[Filipinos] are absolutely committed to the Savior and to the gospel,” expressed Sister Cook.

“We feel just an enormous appreciation for the Philippine people,” Elder Cook said. “It’s a reunion.”

“Just imagine that we have 800,000 members of the church,” he continued. “That’s amazing. ... I don’t know that there’s been any country that has grown so fast in such a short period of time, and very faithful.”

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