“Conference in the Philippines,” Ensign, Oct. 1975, 90–91
Some Saints in the Philippines traveled for almost a week to attend the area conference in Manila. The branch from San Fernando LaUnion was typical—a group of 250, with almost half of them nonmembers, financed their trip by doing extra work and selling vegetables. But with approximately 20,000 members in that country, more than 18,000 people attended the conference. It was an unheard of 90-percent attendance.
President Augusto A. Lim, president of the Manila Stake, said there were so many volunteers for preparation and participation in the conference that the problem was in limiting the numbers. He also noticed an increase in Church activity prior to the conference. “This is a fulfillment of a dream for our stake,” he said.
The sacrifice and preparation of the Saints was rewarded when they heard the prophet speak of temples, of the temple to be built in Japan, and the part they will have in it.
“The temple in Japan will be a great spiritual incentive for all Asian people,” said Bishop Carlos Roso of Pasay Ward, near Manila. His excitement was echoed by scores of others. President Baltazar Frederico, of the San Fernando LaUnion Branch, explained that he has been saving for a trip to Hawaii or New Zealand to attend the temple. “But now I will work for the temple in Japan and take my family there,” he said.
“I have a strong testimony of this Church,” said Francisco Sanchez, first counselor in the Philippines North District, “and to know that we now will have a temple available to us makes me very humble. This announcement by our Prophet is very exciting.”
President Lim’s second counselor, President Ruben M. Lacanienta, noted the tremendous growth of the Church in the Philippines. “I see more phenomenal growth in the next five years, with more stakes, more trained leadership, and perhaps a temple here.”
Threats of rain are almost expected at general conferences of the Church, and in this respect the Manila conference followed tradition. The weather moderated, however, and a threatened typhoon never arrived.
As at the other conferences, a cultural evening was presented with traditional dancing and singing. When it was nearly over, some of the smallest children stood near the podium and sang “I Am a Child of God” for the General Authorities and their wives seated on the stand. President Lim noted that the young people had been most eager to dance and sing for the prophet.
While in the Philippines, President Kimball also visited with the head of state, President Ferdinand Marcos, in the presidential palace in Manila. President Marcos briefed President Kimball on developments in the Philippines since last September, when martial law was declared.
On the day the General Authorities were to leave, a group visited the cemetery at Fort Bonifacio and Elder Gordon B. Hinckley offered a prayer at the same spot where the islands had been rededicated by him years previously. He reminisced about the difficulties encountered in starting missionary work there and compared those conditions with the much more favorable ones of today.