Expanded Philippines MTC: ‘great and marvelous’

Credit: David Guerrero
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver, Deseret News
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver
Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver

QUEZON CITY, Philippines

The testimonies of two missionaries receiving training at the Philippines Missionary Training Center kicked off dedication services for the newly expanded MTC campus in Manila on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Elder Vasanth Nulu, from India, spoke of his desire to follow Jesus Christ.

Sister Jila May Fortun, from the Philippines, also shared a simple testimony. “I want to share this beautiful gospel with everyone,” she said.

When they were done, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles talked about the value of every single missionary to leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If the expanded facilities at the Philippines Missionary Training Center only served those two missionaries — or any other single missionary — all the work would have been worth it, he said.

“The Lord’s hand is upon the work we are dedicating today, and we will see great and marvelous things from these beginnings,” he said. “The Philippines and this MTC serve much of Asia. Languages will be taught here. People will be coming here in larger numbers.”

Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the expanded MTC six days after creating the 100th stake in the Philippines — the only Asian nation and the first nation outside of the Western Hemisphere to reach this milestone.

Also participating in the program were Sister Kathy Andersen; Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Shayne M. Bowen, a General Authority Seventy and Philippines Area president; and Philippines MTC President Rodolfo Carlos and his wife, Sister Brenda Carlos.

The expanded facility includes two new buildings on a five-building campus, located adjacent to the Church’s Philippines Area offices and across the street from the Manila Philippines Temple. The buildings house missionary apartments and instruction rooms, a cafeteria, medical facilities and an activities center. The expansion doubles the capacity of the MTC from 140 to 280 missionaries.

During the event, attended by local members and the missionaries receiving instruction at the MTC, Elder Andersen dedicated the Asian training center as a place that will assist in the spreading of the gospel in “this important part of the world.”

The Philippines Missionary Training Center opened in 1983 in a rented house in the San Juan area of Metro Manila. In 1985, the Church expanded the center to include a second rented house nearby. In 1992, the center moved to its current location, where mostly Filipino missionaries serving in their own country received instruction. A new residence hall and training center were added in May 2012 and dedicated by President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. During dedication services Elder Andersen asked Elder Bowen to read President Nelson’s 2012 dedicatory prayer. Elder Andersen said he was adding his dedicatory prayer to the prophetic words of President Nelson.

He dedicated the facility as a place that “those in the Asian world might find a launching pad toward the sharing of the gospel.”

This is the future of this center — “a place of gathering of many nations under the beautiful, beautiful foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Elder Andersen.

In all, the MTC has served missionaries from or going to 60 nations, said Sister Carlos.

Approximately two-thirds of the missionaries served at the MTC are Filipinos and about 10 percent are from the Untied States, said Sister Carlos.

Every U.S. missionary serving in the Philippines spends at least 5 days at the MTC; many are assigned to the center for their entire language training — Tagalog — and spend six weeks at the center.

The other missionaries serve by the MTC represent countries in Asia and the Pacific islands, as well as other nations across the globe.

Sister Tanya Riabova is the first missionary to receive training at the MTC from the Ukraine, although another Ukrainian missionary is expected to arrive next month.

Being at the MTC “is a good opportunity to see new cultures, to see Heavenly Father’s children in this part of the world,” said Sister Riabova.

Sister Wisuchalak Khanakham of Bangkok, Thailand, accompanied four missionaries from Thailand to the MTC as their interpreter. They will receive training, with the help of Sister Khanakham, and then return to Thailand where they will serve.

Sister Khanakham has been making the trip with different groups of missionaries several times a year since 2009. When she started coming, the MTC was just two buildings serving mostly Filipino missionaries.

“This is such a blessing to see Heavenly Father’s love and mercy, to see the work expand and see how others have the opportunity to teach the gospel,” she said.

Sister Leslie Duabe, a missionary instructor who lives in Manila, said the facility is a “very international MTC now.”

Elder Jim Lee, the executive secretary at the MTC, served in the Southern Far East Mission from 1962 to 1965. “This MTC serves what was my whole mission, plus Mongolia,” he said.

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