As Church grew, he grew in gospel

When Augusto A. Lim was baptized a member of the Church in October 1964, he didn't expect the Church to grow much more than it had at that point.

There were two branches in metro Manila, and a new district had been organized.But through the years, Elder Lim, called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June, has witnessed firsthand the growth of the Church in the Philippines, a country where missionaries have baptized Filipinos at the rate of a stake a month during peak periods in recent years.

"A few months after I joined the Church, we were constructing the first meetinghouse in the Philippines," he recounted. "I remember working with the full-time missionaries on their preparation day. One elder mentioned there would come a time when there would be many chapels all over metro Manila. I said, `You must be dreaming. I don't think I will see the time when we will have that many chapels.' But now we have many all over the city and throughout the Philippines.

"Even having a stake was really the farthest from our mind in the early days," he added. There are now 291,000 members in 47 stakes, with 13 missions in the country and a temple, the Manila Philippines Temple, which was dedicated in 1984.

Elder Lim, 58, is the first Filipino to be called as a General Authority, and is serving as second counselor in the Philippines/Micronesia Area. Throughout his years in the Church, he has served in numerous leadership positions, from branch president to stake president in three newly formed stakes to regional representative.

He was serving as mission president of the Philippines Naga Mission at the time of his call, and had earlier served as counselor to the first two mission presidents in the Philippines from 1967 to 1973.

"I'm really grateful for the opportunity I have had to take part in the growth of the Church in the Philippines," Elder Lim said modestly.

Standing 5-foot, 8-inches with salt-and-pepper colored hair, Elder Lim comes across as unassuming, yet confident.

He was born into a Protestant home, grew up in a Protestant church and attended Protestant schools. As the oldest of seven children, he developed a great love for his parents and brothers and sisters that has stayed with him throughout his life.

"I had a good childhood that I am really happy to look back on," Elder Lim reflected. "I had goodly parents. My parents are not members of the Church, but they really brought us up in an LDS home.

"We really had love at home. We have carried that through in our own home, even more so with the emphasis of the Church on a strong family life."

Elder Lim and his wife, Myrna, had been married four years and had three daughters when the missionaries first knocked on their door in January 1964.

They left a card, which sparked Elder Lim's interest when he saw the word, "Mormons."

"I had been curious of the Mormon people for some time. During my teens I loved to read Western novels and remembered reading about Mormon settlements. I also remembered reading about George Romney, a prominent businessman and governor who was a Mormon.

"When the missionaries returned I thought I would make it difficult for them because I had Bible lessons in the Protestant church, in high school and college. But what they started to tell me seemed to be what I believed in.

"Earlier I began having doubts in my own religion and believed that God the Father and His son were separate beings. When the missionaries talked about it, it was something I agreed with.

"When they talked about living prophets, I had already been wondering why we didn't have prophets anymore. But it was very hard for me to believe in Joseph Smith as a prophet."

The missionaries continued to teach the Lims for nine months.

"I really did not have a testimony of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. The reason, as I look back, was I hadn't bothered to read the book seriously. I didn't have the proper spirit. When I felt like the missionaries were getting tired of teaching me, I decided to seriously start reading the Book of Mormon, following the admonition of Moroni 10.

"I started to love the book. I know now the Spirit was leading me. The Book of Mormon became something very interesting to me. As I read more, I gained a testimony. I began to have a sure feeling that it contained the word of God and it was then easy to accept Joseph Smith."

Sister Lim was baptized a month after Elder Lim in November 1964.

Reflecting back on those early years, Sister Lim said: "When he was not yet a member, he was a good man, but he is a better one now. We are happy and have a lot of love, unity and respect in our family."

Elder Lim commented: "When I was baptized and came out of the water, I had a feeling of peace and of the Spirit. I was really converted then and because of that I have followed the counsel of Church leaders.

He recounted his first calling as a home teacher as "frightful." "I was not used to having responsibility in my own church. It was a frightening thing. Even to be called to offer a word of prayer was frightneing.

"I realize now that all my callings have been part of the Lord's plan to give me training that would come in handy for this calling."

Elder Lim recalled a time when he was serving as branch president and as first counselor to a mission president. In his profession he was a practicing attorney and teaching taxation at the local university.

"I was very busy but my wife and family supported me 100 percent. They have always done that," he remarked. "To be together, at a time when I had meetings or interviews as a branch president, Sister Lim brought the children to the chapel so that between interviews and meetings I could play with them for a while. And we would go home together as a family. That kind of support has been extended to me all these years."

The Lims are the parents of eight children - five girls and three boys. Two sons are returned misionaries, as are the Lims' sons-in-law.

"It's a lot of fun being with my family," Elder Lim commented. "We are happy that our daughters have married returned missionaries. Despite their having been courted by well-to-do young men and professionals, to them the most important consideration has been their being worthy priesthood bearers."

Throughout his years of Church service, Elder Lim has seen many blessings come from living the gospel. In an area of the world where economic conditions are difficult, Filipino members who are obedient to the gospel have gained temporally as well as spiritually, he said.

His devotion to the Church has also spread to family members. One brother and two sisters also joined the Church. His brother serves as first counselor in the Philippines Cebu Mission presidency.

"The gospel and missionary work are very important in our life," Elder Lim related. "Not only because it is a commandment of the Lord and the prophet, but because there is great joy in missionary work and in seeing people change for good. The gospel brings joy beyond description."


Elder Augusto A. Lim

Family: Born in Santa Cruz, Marinduque, Philippines, on May 4, 1934, to Leon B. and Beatriz R. Alandy Lime, the oldest of seven children. Married Myrna Garcia Morillo Aug. 27, 1960, in Manila; sealed in Salt Lake Temple, April 6, 1974. Parents of eight children: Mylene Collado, 31; Mitzi Aniel, 30; Michelene Hernandez, 29; Averell, 26; Alwyn, 24; Millie, 21, a student at BYU; Miriam, 18; and Aaron, 17. They have one grandson.

Education: Associate of arts degree, 1952; bachelor of law degree, 1956; both from Silliman University at Dumaguete City, Philippines.

Employment, founder, managing partner of law firm and legal counsel for Church in Philippines; former law office partner, chief counsel of mining group, teacher at University of the East in Manila, legal assistant for San Miguel Corp., trial attorney for Bureau of Internal Revenue in Philippines, assistant in law firm.

Church service: President of Philippines Naga Mission, regional representative, stake president, stake Sunday School president, temple sealer, mission president's counselor, district counselor, branch president and counselor.

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