Arrival of Missionaries
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The Lord has listened to the petition of His servant, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, during his dedicatory prayer to “invoke the blessing of the Lord upon this work.”
The first missionaries assigned to preach the gospel in the Philippines were Elders Kent Lowe, Harry Murray, Raymond Goodson, and a half-Filipino named Elder Nestor Ledesma from Salt Lake City, Utah. They arrived in the Philippines on June 5, 1961 from Hong Kong where the mission home was located. Before proselyting, they held a sunrise service at the American War Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio, along with other members of the Church, including Maxine Grimm, who provided the music with her pump organ in the usual manner. For many years, Filipino members commemorated June 5th with a sunrise service to honor the day that the missionaries first arrived in the land.
Letters of these first missionaries show that the gospel was being accepted by the Filipino people in a remarkable way. They were surprised that persecution did not exist as they had expected. They described the Filipino people as warm, hospitable, and friendly. They enjoyed their company and took pleasure in the avalanche of fresh fruits available throughout the land. Above all, they were impressed by the great desire of the people to learn about the gospel.
Not long after, the appeal in Elder Hinckley’s dedicatory prayer was granted and prophesies were fulfilled. Baptisms were performed in the swimming pool of Pete and Maxine Grimm’s house every Saturday and sometimes even on Sundays. The first Filipino to be baptized into the Church after the land was dedicated for missionary work was Sister Lomantas Bachelor.
Now, almost 50 years after the first missionaries stepped on this land, Filipinos have accepted the gospel in vast throngs and have sent their own missionaries to preach the gospel throughout the world.