Elder Russell M. Nelson dedicates the Philippine Missionary Training Center
“Come listen to a prophet’s voice…” Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and local Philippine dignitaries gathered at the new Missionary Training Center in Quezon City on the evening of Sunday 20 May to witness Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offer the dedicatory prayer. Elder Nelson was accompanied by the Philippine Area Presidency, President Michael John U. Teh, Elder Brent Nielson and Elder Ian Ardern and their wives. President George Taylor, MTC president, and his wife were also on the stand. Other Church leaders from the three main geographical regions of the Philippines were also in attendance.
In the congregation, dignitaries included: Atty Jemy and Karen Gatdula, a law professor and host of a TV program on natural law, and an opinion writer for Business World Online; Edwin and Alice Lopez, international marketing director for EWTN, the global Catholic television network; and Jo Aurea and Manuel Imbong, founder of the St. Thomas More Society and the recipient of the Church’s Family Values Award in 2011 in Manila.
The new Missionary Training Center was completed earlier this year and an open house for the public was held March 5-10 with over 5,000 attending. The buildings can house 144 missionaries from Asian and South Pacific countries (Philippines, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam). Training is provided in their own countries’ languages through the help of translators. The young elders and sisters spend 19 days training for their mission experience. Sunday night two choirs, the missionaries and their teachers, provided beautiful music.
After the opening hymn and prayer, President Taylor spoke using quotes from Isaiah about the Gospel spreading throughout the world in the latter days. President Ian Ardern then gave an overview of the purposes of the MTC for the benefit of our friends of other faiths in attendance. He related his own conversion story and MTC experience. President Brent Nielson began by mentioning his mission call to Finland and how he wondered what he had to offer the people of that country. President Michael John U. Teh, a missionary at the earlier MTC talked of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Gospel.
After the hymn by the MTC teachers, all of whom had served missions themselves, Elder Nelson expressed his appreciation for the young choirs and thanked all those who were in attendance. He spoke briefly, saying that he wanted to have time to shake hands with everyone following the meeting. Then he said, “I have given a short talk but will give a long prayer!” He then invited everyone in the congregation to bow their headsc with him in prayer. Elder Nelson then blessed the buildings, those who came and will come as missionaries and those who worked there in any capacity. As a gentle, warm rain fell outside, Elder Nelson also blessed all the people in attendance, and those lands sending missionaries to this Philippine Missionary Training Center.
Following the dedication and Elder Nelson’s departure, tours of the MTC buildings were held for the media, government officials and religious dignitaries. It was pointed out that the various rooms were named for Book of Mormon prophets. The inspirational artwork on the walls displayed paintings of the Savior in biblical and Book of Mormon settings. A light Filipino buffet was served the guests in a peaceful outdoor setting between the two main buildings. The rain had cooled off the area and cleaned the earth and sky.