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2014-2018 Reflections

Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy reflects on the four years he and his, Sister Lynette, have lived and served in the Philippines.

As I reflect on the four years we have lived in the Philippines, my heart is filled with appreciation for the blessing of serving in this place at this time. I have had the blessing of being here for the visit of eight of the twelve apostles. They include Elder Oaks 2014, Elder Andersen 2015, Elder Renlund 2015, Elder Nelson 2016, Elder Cook 2016, Elder Bednar 2017, Elder Andersen again in 2017, Elder Rasband in 2018 and Elder Christofferson in 2018. We will see one more apostle, Elder Stevenson in 2018. Each of them has contributed something a little different to our area, but a common denominator in all of their visits has been their recognition of the special part the Philippines is playing in the growth and strength of the Church in Asia and in the world.


I think of the steady leadership we receive from Elder Andersen who supervises our area, of the humility of the newly called apostle Elder Renlund, and of the love of Elder Cook who served in the Philippines Area Presidency twenty years ago. Following the example of the Savior, Elder Bednar taught us how to minister to the one. Elder Nelson, who is now our beloved prophet, shared his wisdom and love. It is almost unbelievable; the love that God has showered upon this sacred land.


It has been a wonderful four years in the Philippines. My heart is full. Sister Bowen and I love you. The people here are kind and good and love God and His Son Jesus Christ. I thank my Father in Heaven every day and night for the privilege of being called here for a season.


I reflect on the statements of three different apostles who have visited the Philippines and one of who served here as the President of the Area. Elder Oaks said, “The Philippines is the only Christian nation on the doorstep of Asia.” Elder Andersen asked, “Why would Jehovah place his feet so firmly in the Philippines?” And Elder Rasband said that the fact that the Philippines has religious freedom and the fact that the Spanish left Christianity is “by divine design.” This truly is a place where the hand of the Lord is brooding over His people.


In my four years here, I have presided over 65 stake conferences. In 2017, I had the privilege of attending one presided over by Elder Neil L. Andersen as the 100th stake was formed in the Philippines. The Philippines is the fifth country in the world and in the Church to reach that milestone, following the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Peru. The Church News memorialized this terrific event. 


Leading up to the 100th stake creation on Sunday, we celebrated with an outstanding youth extravaganza that wowed everyone. There were over 600 youth that participated in this amazing show. Our youth are exceptional.


Also announced in 2017 was the Alabang temple, and in April Conference of 2018, an additional temple was announced in Cagayan de Oro. This will bring to five the number of temples in the Philippines. We will see many more temples here as the stakes of Zion continue to put on their beautiful garments as has been prophesied in the scriptures.

2014-2018 Reflections

It has been a wonderful four years in the Philippines. My heart is full. Sister Bowen and I love you. The people here are kind and good and love God and His Son Jesus Christ. I thank my Father in Heaven every day and night for the privilege of being called here for a season.


I want you to know that I have a testimony of our Heavenly Father. I know that He lives and that He loves us. I know that He knows each of us personally. He understands our feelings and our concerns and is anxious to help us. I know that He hears our prayers. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth on a mission to save each of us and that He allowed him to be sacrificed because He loves us.


I witness that Jesus is the Christ and Redeemer of the world. I know He suffered for all the sins and pains that have happened and will happen on this earth. Because of His atonement we can be forgiven of all our sins. Because of His resurrection we will be resurrected also. His atonement is infinite.


I witness that Jesus Christ is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. I know that His priesthood power was restored to Joseph Smith at the hands of Peter, James and John. I know that Christ reveals His will to our living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson.


I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and that he organized this church under their direction. He translated the Book of Mormon from the golden plates given to him by the prophet Moroni, who buried them hundreds of years earlier.

I love this gospel with all my heart. It brings me peace and joy. It gives me guidance for a happy life. And I know that through the sacred covenants that I have made and through my obedience, I can have happiness through all eternity with my family.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen.