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Elder Stevenson Assures Saints and Missionaries in Philippines of God’s Love

‘[God] is mindful of everything in our lives, no matter how big or small,’ the Apostle says

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared messages of love and faith with members and missionaries in the Philippines during a nine-day ministering visit in May.

Elder Stevenson and his wife, Lesa, traveled to the three major islands of the Philippines — Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao — ministering to Latter-day Saints. They also addressed missionaries gathered at the Philippines Missionary Training Center.

Members and Leaders

At a special member devotional at the Cagayan de Oro Philippines Stake on Saturday, May 25, 2024, Elder Stevenson shared God’s love for His children. “God wants to communicate with us. He is mindful of everything in our lives, no matter how big or small, He is always willing to help us,” he said.

He was joined by Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Presidency of the Seventy, and his wife, Shelley, and members of the Philippines Area Presidency. The special member devotional was broadcast to all other stakes and districts under the Cagayan de Oro Coordinating Council.

Elder Stevenson reminded the Cagayan de Oro Latter-day Saints that communication lines to heaven are open and that God hears and answers their prayers. He counseled them to think of their Heavenly Father as a loving and living Father with a physical body and remember that they have a divine identity as His offspring (see Acts 17:29).

Elder Stevenson said Heavenly Father will bless all Filipino families and that their “posterity will get to know Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God.”

Members from various parts of the province eagerly traveled to hear from Elder Stevenson.

Marr Radaña, a young single adult from Canitoan Ward, diligently prepared for the meeting by immersing herself in the scriptures and seeking divine guidance through prayer. Her anticipation was palpable as she hoped to receive “comfort, assurance, peace and confirmation.”

Zsanine Meliang, a Relief Society sister from Lumbia Branch, arrived three hours early at the stake center with her husband so they could be “physically and spiritually prepared to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”

“I became more inspired to share the gospel and be part of the work of the restoration,” shared Darren Aban, a young single adult from Kauswagan Ward, who is departing for his mission in June 2024. Charisse Marcaida of Carmen Ward also felt truly edified by the Apostle’s message. “Knowing that God loves His children gives me strength to continue and move forward with faith,” she said.


Elder Stevenson expressed his love for the missionaries gathered at the Philippines Missionary Training Center on May 30, 2024, and assured them that their missions would “shape” their lives.

“My mission shaped my life,” he said. “My life would not have been the same had I not served. Your mission will shape your life. Had you not chosen to serve as you are, the trajectory of your life would be very different,” Elder Stevenson said.

Elder Stevenson served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission as a young missionary.

During the MTC devotional, Elder Stevenson invited a brother named Doug to reflect on his mission experience in Davao and share his testimony. Doug recalled meeting some of the people he had the opportunity to baptize and teach during his mission and the joy he felt knowing they were progressing along the covenant path.

“Now, this happens to every missionary who serves. You might find yourself alone and discouraged. Think of this: ‘Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission has come’ (Doctrine and Covenants 31:3),” the Apostle said.

“Think of the great blessings and the opportunity to share the restored Church of Jesus Christ with Heavenly Father’s children. His love for His children is manifested through you,” Elder Stevenson added.

After counseling the missionaries to teach from their hearts “as guided by the Spirit” and to “create a personal relationship” with their “Preach My Gospel” manual and the scriptures, Elder Stevenson left his apostolic blessing to all missionaries in the Philippines MTC who will be reporting to their areas in 45 countries across the globe.

“I bear my testimony that you are called of God. Your call comes from heaven. I testify of that to you. Each of you is going where the Lord wants you to be,” the Apostle emphasized.

After the devotional, the missionaries in attendance shared their reactions to the talks they had heard and felt. Many of them renewed their commitment to teach and serve the people they would meet in their respective areas of service as representatives of Jesus Christ.

“As a missionary who transferred from teaching to service, I was profoundly moved by Sister Stevenson’s message. She conveyed that wherever I am, it is where Heavenly Father wants me to be and that the shoes I’m wearing help me represent the Savior in His vineyard. This message assures me that my missionary life is in the hands of my Savior, and He knows that I am doing His work,” Sister Celindro, a service missionary serving at the Area Office said.

“When Elder Stevenson addressed us, the Spirit testified to me that he is indeed an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. It told me that what I am hearing from him are words from Him,” said Sister Baylon, who is preparing to serve in the Philippines Baguio Mission.

“The devotional made me realize that I do have a purpose and why I am called to serve in the Jamaica Kingston Mission,” said Elder Villaver, who is from Cebu and had the privilege of attending the devotional a day after entering the Philippines MTC. “Whatever challenge I experience here and in the field, I know I can endure and overcome it because I have a purpose — and that is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

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