Fireside Kicks Off Jubilee
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Quezon City 03 January 2009  In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Philippines for missionary work, stakes from Metro Manila and neighboring areas gathered on January 3, 2009, at the AFP Theater in Quezon City for a Jubilee Kick-off Fireside.


The Area Presidency, led by Elder Keith R. Edwards, Area President, presided over the gathering. The meeting opened with the introduction of the official Jubilee theme song and the unveiling of the official Jubilee logo. Plaques of appreciation were presented to Dino Antenorcruz of the Makati stake, winner of the logo contest, and to Danel Beriong of the San Jose district, who wrote the winning theme song.


In connection with the theme of the Jubilee celebration, “One Heart and One Mind,” Elder Miguel R. Valdez, Area Seventy, gave an overview of upcoming activities from 2009 to 2011 that would focus on service, unity among members, and building up Zion. Nine key activities were presented in connection with these objectives.


Elder Valdez presented an outline of the three-year goal for real growth of the Church in the Philippines, with key indicators and statistics showing “where we are now and where we will be in 2011.” The key indicators include sacrament meeting attendance; total number of full tithe payers, temple recommend holders, and full time missionaries; Aaronic Priesthood ordinations; active Melchizedek Priesthood holders; and convert baptisms; all of which are expected to increase considerably by 2011.


One of the countrywide projects for the Jubilee is the rendering of two million service hours from 2009 to 2011 by members of the Church. Members are encouraged to do various acts of service in their communities, record their service hours, and report these to the Area Jubilee Committee or to the Public Affairs Department.


Elder Valdez also discussed the participation of local units in the preparations for the Jubilee cultural show in April 2011. The culmination of the Jubilee celebration will be an Area Conference in May 2011, which will be broadcast nationwide via satellite to all the stake and district centers across the Philippines.


Two Filipino pioneer members of the Church, Nenita Gapiz and Isidoro Pilobello, shared inspiring stories about their conversions. Both members were baptized members of the Church in the 1960s.


Between speakers, choirs from the Novaliches, Manila, Marikina, and Parañaque Philippines Stakes performed their renditions of the Jubilee theme song entitled “United.”


Members of the Area Presidency also gave inspiring messages that set the spirit for the three-year celebration. Elder Won Yong Ko, First Counselor, outlined the scriptural basis for the 50th year Jubilee celebration, found in Leviticus 25:11, while Elder Michael John U. Teh, Second Counselor, emphasized the importance of rising above mediocrity. Elder Keith Edwards concluded the meeting, stressing that the Jubilee celebration will be a success if members will serve with their hearts and unite for the cause of Zion.