Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Elder Cook & Other Leaders Visit the Philippines

Our leaders visited the Philippines.  It is great to be able to document these events.  




20 Years after Serving in the Country, Elder Cook Returns to the Philippines

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
  • 2 DECEMBER 2016
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets young single adults at the Bacolod Philippines North Stake Center.

RELATED LINKSARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • During a two-week trip, Elder Cook reviewed the Church’s Philippines Area.
  • He was returning two decades after he served in the Area Presidency.
  • Filipinos “inherently love the Savior,” said Elder Cook.
Two decades ago as a newly called General Authority, Elder Quentin L. Cook served in the Philippines. Twenty years later, Elder Cook—now of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—returned to the country, where he observed meaningful Church growth, youth engagement in family history work, and an increasing number of temple marriages among young adults.
“We loved our first assignment there 20 years ago and are so pleased much of what we loved and appreciated is still evident—the love and the warmth of the members, the love Latter-day Saints have for the Savior, and their commitment to kindness and modesty and other Christlike virtues,” said Elder Cook after visiting the country with his wife, Sister Mary G. Cook, November 8 through November 21.
“Much has also changed,” he added. “The Church has almost doubled in size. Where there were branches there are now stakes. Children we knew then are now returned missionaries. Returned missionaries are now stake presidents. It is incredible to see the growth of the Church.”
During the two-week trip to Bacolod, Iloilo, Quezon City, Manila, Urdaneta, and Cebu, Philippines, Elder Cook conducted a review of the Church’s Philippines Area; held priesthood leadership and stake conferences, youth devotionals, and several missionary meetings; and addressed missionaries at the Philippines Missionary Training Center. “The Area Presidency are providing exceptional service,” remarked Elder Cook.
He was accompanied by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Jan E. Robbins; Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and his wife, Sister Carol S. Waddell; and members of the Philippines Area Presidency—Elder Shayne M. Bowen, Elder Allen D. Haynie, and Elder Evan A. Schmutz, all of the Seventy, and their wives, Sister Lynette M. Bowen, Sister Deborah H. Haynie, and Sister Cindy S. Schmutz.
Elder Quentin L. Cook greets a priesthood leader during a priesthood leadership conference in Bacolod, Philippines, during a November 2016 visit to the country.
Local leaders gather for a conference in Bacolod, Philippines, with Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in November 2016.
Members attend a special stake meeting in Bacolod, Philippines, where Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other leaders spoke during a November 2016 visit to the country.
For Elder Cook, the return to the Philippines two decades after beginning service in the Area Presidency in August 1996 marked dramatic growth; Church membership in the country has nearly doubled in the past 20 years and sacrament meeting attendance has significantly increased, especially in recent years as the Church has emphasized Sabbath observance.
Filipinos “inherently love the Savior,” said Elder Cook. “The emphasis on sacrament meeting and being brought to the table of the Lord to feast on His word has resonated with them.”
“Members have also responded to President Thomas S. Monson’s invitation to rescue,” commented Bishop Waddell. (Read President Monson's talk “To the Rescue” here.)
Elder Robbins said the Philippines is a country that is open about their love for Jesus Christ. “They show their Christianity everywhere—on buses and billboards,” he said.
Elder Robbins said when looking at Church growth over several decades in the Philippines, “you clearly see the hand of the Lord upon the work.”
Elder Cook said many members pioneered the work of the Church in the country. Today their posterity spans four generations of Latter-day Saints.
“It is also wonderful to see what has happened to the cities in the country—where there is now a modern airport and an economy that is growing faster than any in Asia. But it is the people that are the country’s greatest resource,” he said.
That can be seen in the faces of the missionary force—where young men and women enter service well prepared. Elder Cook said everywhere he went he saw young women wearing their Young Womanhood Recognition medallion.
“The Philippines is the land of beautiful smiles,” said Elder Robbins.
“They are a happy people,” added Bishop Waddell.
“They are also resilient,” said Elder Cook.
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)—one of the world’s strongest and deadliest typhoons—struck the country in 2013. But Typhoon Pablo (2012), Typhoon Pepeng (2009), Typhoon Pedring (2011), Typhoon Frank (2008), and Typhoon Juan (2010) have also greatly impacted the country in recent years—taking lives and destroying property and crops.
“They are remarkably resilient,” said Elder Cook. “They have learned to overcome traumatic circumstances. They come out of them with a smile and a commitment to serving the Lord.”

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and his wife, Sister Carol S. Waddell; Elder Shayne M. Bowen, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Philippines Area, and his wife, Sister Lynette M. Bowen; Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Sister Mary G. Cook; and Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Jan E. Robbins, during a visit to the Philippines November 8 through November 21, 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Lynn G. Robbins, and other Church leaders greet members of the Bacolod and Iloilo coordinating councils in the Philippines.

Elder Quentin L. Cook greets members of the Bacolod and Iloilo coordinating councils in the Philippines.

Members attend a priesthood leadership conference in Bacolod, Philippines.

Elder Quentin L. Cook greets local leaders during a training meeting in Bacolod, Philippines, in November 2016.

Scouts in Bacolod, Philippines.

Members wait to hear Elder Quentin L. Cook during a special stake meeting in Bacolod, Philippines, during Elder Cook’s visit to the country in November 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook greets members during a visit to Bacolod, Philippines, in November 2016.

Members wait to hear Elder Quentin L. Cook during a special stake meeting in Bacolod, Philippines, during Elder Cook's visit to the country in November 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook greets members during a visit to Bacolod, Philippines, in November 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook greets young single adults following a devotional in Iloilo, Philippines.

Elder Quentin L. Cook greets young single adults following a devotional in Iloilo, Philippines.

Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder Lynn G. Robbins and their wives greet young single adults following a devotional in Cebu, Philippines, in November 2016.

Young single adults in Iloilo, Philippines, laugh during a meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook in November 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook speaks to young single adults in Iloilo, Philippines, during a November 2016 visit to the country.

Young single adults in Iloilo attend a devotional with Elder Quentin L. Cook during his visit to the Philippines in November 2016.

Young single adults in Iloilo, Philippines, listen to visiting Church leaders during Elder Quentin L. Cook’s visit to the country in November 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook poses with missionaries and workers in the Philippines MTC dental clinic during a visit to the country in November 2016.

Filipino children attend a Talisay Stake special meeting where Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke during a visit to Cebu, Philippines, in November 2016.

Members from the Talisay Stake attend a special meeting where Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke during a visit to Cebu, Philippines, in November 2016.

Members from the Talisay Stake arrive to attend a special meeting where Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke during a visit to Cebu, Philippines, in November 2016.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins greets members from the Talisay Stake during a visit to Cebu, Philippines, with Elder Quentin L. Cook in November 2016.

Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder Lynn G. Robbins and their wives greet missionaries during a meeting in Urdaneta, Philippines, in November 2016.

Sister Mary G. Cook, the wife of Elder Quentin L. Cook, leads missionaries in a song during a November 2016 meeting in Urdaneta, Philippines.

Missionaries in Urdaneta, Philippines, attend a meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook and other visiting Church leaders in November 2016.

Missionaries in Urdaneta, Philippines, sing during a meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook and other visiting Church leaders in November 2016.

Missionaries in Urdaneta, Philippines, attend a meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook and other visiting Church leaders in November 2016.

Missionaries in Urdaneta, Philippines, sing during a meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook and other visiting Church leaders in November 2016.

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