Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles together with Elder L. Whitney Clayton and Elder Brent H. Nielson visited Bohol October 27-28 to offer love and support as well as to personally oversee the humanitarian services extended by the Church.
Jairus Perez, Manager of Humanitarian Services, noted that for the past days more than 10000 food kits, 8000 hygiene kits, 500 sets of shelter kits and other supplies like 5 units of water filtration equipment and 5 units of 5 KVA generators were sent to various barangays in Tubigon, San Isidro , Antequera, Maribojoc, Loon, Sagbayan, Clarin, Inabangga and Buena Vista.
The leaders flew in Sunday and met with District (diocese) President Jerome Galotera of Tagbilaran and President Ricardo Saballa of Calape. Both of these districts (dioceses) have 14 congregations. Both leaders reported that their communities were affected with the earthquake. However, there were more devastation from the 5 congregations in the Calape area.
The Tagbilaran Chapel was filled to overflowing as members from as far as Loon traveled all the way to Tagbilaran to hear the words of an apostle of the Lord. Sister Bellarmino, District (diocese) Relief Society President, recounted her experience when the earthquake occured. She responded by assessing the needs of families affected and in working with priesthood leaders to address their immediate needs.
Elder Clayton emphasized the importance of self-reliance and "in doing everything we can, and in letting God bless us after all we can do." Elder Nielson spoke on the importance of faith as opposed to fear, and the need to trust in God at all times. Elder Andersen shared thoughts and doctrine on why adversities happen in the lives of people and the importance of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. After the special afternoon meeting, members helped repack food and hygiene kits for distribution.
The delegation of Elder Andersen then proceeded to meet with Governor Edgardo Chatto. Each offered words of hope and comfort amidst the devastation that beset the island paradise of Bohol. Governor Chatto positively talked about helping Bohol rise from the ruins and the continuation of its tourism industry.
Elder Andersen reported on the humanitarian help extended by LDS Charities, the NGO arm of the Church. Benson Misalucha, Welfare Services Manager, also brought samples of the food and hygiene kits as well as donated 40 sets of Seychelles water bottles which can purify up to 100 gallons of water per bottle. Elder Andersen expressed appreciation for the leadership and hospitality of Governor Chatto.
The following day, October 27, Church leaders met with Bishop Leonardo Medroso at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary. Bishop Medroso graciously welcomed the group and shared notes on how they, as religious leaders, can minister to the temporal and spiritual needs of the people.
He also expressed appreciation for the partnership of the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in strengthening family values and in upholding the traditional family.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Area Seventy, who was assigned in Argentina the same time that then Cardinal Francis now His Holiness the Pope also served, spoke of the strong interfaith leadership of Pope Francis.
Elder Andersen and Bishop Medroso closed the meeting by offering prayers of comfort and peace for Bohol.
After the meeting, Elder Andersen together with Church leaders joined the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers as they held service projects in Loon, Maribojoc, Antequera and Sagbayan. (See related story Bohol Mormon Helping Hands)
A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In that same spirit, Church President Thomas S. Monson made a plea during general conference, a semiannual worldwide meeting, for more religious understanding: “I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere. The world in which we live is filled with diversity. We can and should demonstrate respect toward those whose beliefs differ from ours” (April 2008 General Conference address). Latter-day Saints accept all sincere believers as equals in the pursuit of faith and in the great work of serving humanity.