Dedicating the Land for Missionary Work
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On August 21, 1955, Joseph Fielding Smith, under the direction of the First Presidency, dedicated the Philippines for preaching the gospel. The Philippines became part of the Southern Far East Mission.
Although the land had been dedicated for missionary work, missionaries who would all come from foreign countries failed to acquire the necessary visas; hence, they could not come to the country to preach the gospel for many years.
In 1961, a Filipino government official became friends with some members of the Church; thus, paving the way for the Church to be recognized by the government and visas to be issued to the foreign missionaries.
Consequently, in the early morning of April 28, 1961, around 100 Latter-day Saints, who mostly came from Clark Air Base, gathered together on the grounds of the American War Memorial Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio as Elder Gordon B. Hinckley (then an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) rededicated the land for missionary work.
President Hinckley described the place as the most beautiful and also one of the most tragic places he had seen in the country, and expressed sympathy for the men who sacrificed their lives during World War II. He acknowledged the members of the Church who were then present, numbering about 100, especially those who had traveled from Clark Field, Pampanga. He was grateful for the presence Sister Maxine Grimm, who played the music during the dedicatory service, and David Lagman, the first Filipino ordained elder in the country.
Amidst the rising sun and rows of grave markers, President Hinckley invoked the blessings upon “the people this land, that they shall be friendly and hospitable, and kind, and gracious to those who shall come here, and that many yea Lord, we pray that there shall be many thousands who shall receive this message and be blessed thereby….We pray that there shall be many men, faithful, good, virtuous, true men who shall join the church.”[1]
The land had been prepared and the hearts of the people were ready. The miracles and blessings in the lives of the Filipino people following the advent of missionary work in the land was now ready to commence.
Source: “Faithful, Good, Virtuous, True: Pioneers in the Philippines”
By R. Lanier Britsch, Ensign, August 1997, 56-63