To our surprise, 15 families wanted to know more about LDS Charities and the church that sponsors it. We were contacted by Gemma Fonbuena, one of the parents to see if we would be willing to have them come to our office and learn more about who we are and what we do. We welcomed the idea and began to prepare.
The children and families started to arrive at 8:30am for the 9am start on the Saturday we scheduled. But in my planning, I missed one little detail. I should have wheelchairs ready for the children. How could I have forgotten. I grabbed some young elders that I had arraigned to help us and we were able to get enough wheelchairs to accommodate all of them. Averted the first challenge of the day.
Sister Fonbuena (Senior Missionary) and President George Taylor (the MTC President) would oversee the program. After a regular opening of Christmas music and prayer, President Taylor addresses them. He tells about the 50 year history of the church in the Philippines and the reason for the MTC being here. He tells of the dedication of the missionaries that they teach here to spread the gospel and the message that they are prepared to share. He really helps them to feel at ease. By the way, this is the first time we have been able to use the MTC for an event. The Spirit is strong and the families feel it.
This is the first opportunity we have had to see the gospel taught to non-members. Our calling is such that we can not proselyte. But we see the effect of the Spirit at work everyday. Our work is to soften the hearts of those that we work with. We take names and contact information for those that want to know more and forward it to other missionaries that can teach them.
As we were sitting in the meeting, Sister Hadlock said 'Maybe that little girl could use a walker'. She was watching her attempt to walk with her grandmother helping. I quickly ran to our office and got a small walker. Sister Taylor really got into the act as she helped her across the room. I think Sister Taylor really enjoyed herself as she helped this priceless daughter of our Father in Heaven.
Elder Fonbuena (Executive Secretary to the Area Presidency) and the four young Elders joined me in helping with the accommodations for the day. I love the energy and excitement in working with the young elders. They took care of getting all of the children into wheelchairs and helping them transfer back to their vehicles when they had to leave. They also answered a lot of questions that our visitors had.
During our program a group of young missionaries in the MTC from Thailand sang to everyone the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints". They sang the last verse in Thai. No matter the language, we feel the Spirit and the love of the missionaries.
It had been 3 hours since they arrived and the children were hungry. We concluded the day with a lunch prepared by the parents in our lunch room at the Area Office. As soon as the children got fed, they perked up again. Or fall asleep, depending on their need.
This is Gemma Fonbuena, the contact we have with the parents. She is a niece to the Fonbuenas in our office but is not a member of the church. She is a wonderful lady with a 15 year old boy with CP that I fitted to a wheelchair about 2 months ago. He couldn't quit smiling.
Of the 15 families that showed interest to come, 5 families filled out referral cards to learn more. It is truly the Christmas season and the time to show care and concern for our fellow man. It was really a great blessing to have been there that day.