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The ‘Future Is Bright,’ Elder Gong Tells Young Single Adults in the Philippines

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Lindsay Gong, spoke to young single adults in the Philippines recently about ‘welding’ families, strengthening spiritual habits, being worthy of the spirit, and staying optimistic amidst struggles.

Joining them during the area-wide YSA devotional on February 20, 2022, were Elder Steven R. Bangerter of the Philippines Area Presidency and his wife, Sister Susan A. Bangerter, and Elder Julius F. Barrientos, Philippines Area Seventy, and his wife, Sister Malou J. Barrientos.

The event was held at the Philippines Missionary Training Center where a few young single adults were able to attend in person. Attendance was limited due to local health restrictions. Stakes (dioceses) and congregations gathered at meetinghouses to watch the event live-streamed on Zoom and YouTube.

The devotional marked the first time in two years that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has personally visited the Philippines. It is an exciting time for Latter-day Saint Filipinos who have been through so much, especially with the onslaught of the pandemic and Typhoon Odette (International Name: Rai).

Four young single adult leaders joined Elder Gong for a panel discussion during the devotional. They were Aries Maligon, young single adult representative of San Pablo Philippines Stake; Earl Queena Along, stake communication director of Camarin Philippines Stake; Patricia Catubay, member of the Laoag Institute of Religion student council; and Jairod Alday, member of the institute student council in Naga.

Prior to the devotional, young single adults all over the country were asked to submit questions to Elder Gong. The four young single adult panelists shared their thoughts and insights as Elder Gong facilitated the discussion of some of the questions.

The pressing concerns most young adults said they have are balancing studies, employment, callings, and even dating, Elder Gong said.

He encouraged young adults to establish “holy habits” and “righteous routines,” such as studying the scriptures. “When we study the scriptures, we hear the voice of God. When we want to talk with him, we pray,” he said.

Sister Gong said that rightfully using her phone helps her manage her time and priorities. “Think about your relationship with your phone,” she said. “Figure out a way for you to be in charge of it instead of it being in charge of you."

Elder Barrientos encouraged young adults to ask the Lord daily what He wants them to do.

When dealing with discouragement, one panelist suggested thinking about who we are in the eyes of God. “One of Satan’s greatest tactics is to distract us from who we are,” she said. “Remember that God loves you, and you have a mission on earth.”

Elder Gong said young adults can stay hopeful in the promise of eternal families despite having part-member families. “I am reminded of Doctrine and Covenants 128:18 and its reference to being a ‘welding link’ that connects families and generations,” he said. “That welding link begins with each of us."

“If we can draw the love of the Savior to show charity to our family, then no matter what, we will want to be with them,” Elder Gong said. “In turn, they will want to be with us, and we will all desire to be a family forever. Families allow opportunities to love and forgive. The Atonement of Jesus Christ promises that if we love Him and our families, we can be a welding link.”

To build a welding link, Elder Bangerter said, “Stay close to the Lord in the private times of your life. Be found in doing holy, clean and uplifting things. God will bless you with peace and joy.” 

In closing, Elder Gong said that despite the many challenges facing young adults, “remember that the future is bright.” He then shared four scriptures about staying positive and optimistic in doing the Lord’s work. “Willingness and obedience are necessary attributes to receive the good in the land,” he said.

“In the next 40 years, you’ll be outstanding in things you’ve never seen,” he said. “And because you’re diligent and faithful, loving, kind, inclusive, and hopeful, you will see miracles. You will witness things you'’ve never seen.”

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