They spent a lot of time training area and local leadership. They mostly went out as husband and wife companionships to teach as many groups as possible country wide. I marvel at the ability they have to arrive in a country half-way around the world and land on the ground running. I was a total mess for 10 days as I tried to adjust to the new time zone. I know for a fact that thy are sustained by the Lord in his work.
We were hopeful that we could attend more than just one of their firesides or trainings. However, we were only scheduled for a devotional on Thurday morning Aug 30th at the PAO. It was short, but very personal.
We met in the largest room in the building, the cafeteria. You can see Sister Hadlock in red.
I was in the choir on the left side of the room. We had prepared two numbers for the devotional. We had practiced for several weeks, but the songs only came together the day before. Even so, they were done beautifully. We sang 'Ere You Left Your Room This Morning' and 'Oh What Songs of the Heart'. All the work payed off.
Closest to me sat Elder and Sister Callister and Elder and Sister Davies. Due to the shortness of the meeting, we didn't get a chance to hear from them.
Elder and Sister Cook and Elder and Sister Bednar sat on the other side of the room. In the center of the photo is Todd Tapp (Director of Temporal Affairs for the Philippine Area) and the shorter one is Elder Michael Teh (Philippine Area President).
As they walked into the room, Sister Bednar spotted Sister Hadlock and beelined over to give her a hug. Sister Hadlock had been Sister Bednar's visiting teacher for 5 years while in Rexburg. It was a wonderful reunion.
Sister Cook spoke first and related the time they spent in the Philippines as Elder Cook's first assignment as a General Authority. They love the people and recognize that the Lord is mindful of all of his children. Of their pioneering spirit she said, "You don't have to push a handcart to be a pioneer".
Elder Cook spoke of the Filipinos love of the Savior. In his first meeting with the press in Manila, the reporters cried as he shared with them his testimony of Christ.
He taught of following the Prophet and the work of rescuing those in need. And the truth that the Atonement covers all unfairness in the world.Sister Bednar spoke of Joseph Smith's first prayer and the fact that we are all here because of it. She even related the first prayer she had offered as a young girl and remembering how it was answered. She testified that Elder Cook and her husband had been called of prophecy as Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sister Bednar is a marvelous example of the how the gospel works in our lives. But we don't have to be next to an Apostle to know this.
Elder Bednar spoke of the love that the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve have for the members of the church. Even though many of the Brethren are getting older, they still run fast and accomplish much.
He spoke to us about not taking casual what we have. We have the fullness of the Gospel and everything that that entails. Hold sacred your temple recommend and always be worthy of it.
He told us that our testimony is a gift from God. Conversion is what we offer to God in gratitude.
The church is coming out of obscurity and we need to come out of the shadows with our beliefs. We need to be prepared to talk and answer questions.
He then bore witness of the Father and the Son. That they live and that they love us.
He concluded with an Apostolic Blessing to those in attendance promising that if they are consistently faithful they would be given strength and fortitude to never go amiss.
I felt the Spirit as it confirmed to me the truthfulness of the words that were spoken. How can we know for a fact that the Gospel is true without the Spirit? We can't.