We drove along the coastal road for about 21 kilometers to Aloguinsan for church. The Young Women’s president was concerned that the young women in the branch were losing their faith. After some brainstorming, she and the other leaders decided to ask President and Sister Schmutz to come and give a presentation as examples and mentors to the young people. The young people had been looking forward with excitement to the visit for several weeks. We greeted many people, shook their hands and gained another group of new friends. Much of the meeting was in Bisaya (Cebuano), but the songs were English and the same ones that we sing at home.
I went to Primary and watched a young sister give a sharing time presentation to about twenty children ages three to eleven. She was on the same Sharing Time schedule, with the same theme, Come unto Christ, as the Primary in Logan, Utah.
On the drive home, we stopped and took some pictures of this beautiful land. For lunch we ate barbequed chicken and took a long nap until the Zone Leaders came and invited us to go with them to visit an investigator family.
We parked the car along the street and stepped carefully across the gutter filled with water from the afternoon rain. We followed the young missionaries through the dirt pathway between several houses. They stopped at the screen door of the house at the end and called “Aayo! Aayo!” A woman with a smooth unlined face and dark hair invited us in.
Her name was Marlene. A young girl with mischievous brown eyes offered her hand. She was Marlene’s nine year old daughter, Mary Ann. A smaller girl, about five years old, who was Marlene’s granddaughter, shyly shook our hands and then laughed with the young missionaries. Marlene’s husband is away from home working in Cebu.
Zabel, who is about sixteen, stepped gracefully around the curtain which divided off the kitchen area, and brought out food to set on the table. Zabel is a ”working student”: someone from a family too poor to pay school expenses, so another family will let her live with them and will pay her expenses in return for her help in cooking, cleaning, helping with children and washing clothes.
“Come to the table,” Marlene invited. We sat with the four missionaries in front of the four plates set at the table. After a blessing, the two young missionaries helped themselves liberally to bihon, a noodle dish, small sausages, and of course, rice. For dessert, Zabel served a coconut drink with pieces of green Jello mixed in. Everything was delicious.
Marlene and the girls did not eat with us. It is considered polite for the family to eat earlier and then serve the guests, who eat alone.
One of the missionaries offered a prayer, and began the lesson. They talked about the questions:
Where did we come from?
Why are we here?
Where are we going?
The missionaries taught that God is the Father of our Spirits; that we are literally His children, and that He loves us. They taught that we lived as spirit children of our Father in Heaven before we were born on this earth.
Most of the lesson and conversation was in Bisayan (Cebuano), mixed with some English. However, when the missionaries asked nine year old Mary Ann to read the following scriptures, she read them fluently and with perfect English pronunciation:
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither can be. D&C 93:29)
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jer. 1:5)
The Philippine people are very humble and loving. Both Marlene and her daughter easily believe in a Father in Heaven who loves them.
The missionaries taught that Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan. Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ fulfilled His Father’s purpose and made it possible for us to enjoy immortality and eternal life.
We are physically separated from God during life on earth, but He wants every one of His children to find peace in this life and a fullness of joy in His presence after this life.
During the lesson, Marlene’s daughter-in-law drove homer on a motor bike and sat listening on the couch. She is the mother of the younger girl. She had been to the evening Catholic services. Her husband works abroad, and she says she wants to wait to be taught until he can be here.
Although we could not understand many of the words that were spoken, we felt the unmistakable testimony of truth through the Holy Ghost. We felt very happy and comfortable in Marlene’s small home.