Elder Quentin L. Cook visited the Philippines to conduct a priesthood leadership conference and preside over athe mission presidents seminar on Nov. Nov. 12-16. He was accompanied by his wife, Sister Mary Cook; Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Zulma Gonzalez; and Bishop Keith B. McMullin of the Presiding Bishopric and his wife, Sister Carolyn McMullin.
A special devotional for young single adults in the Cebu City area held on Nov. 13 preceded kicked off Elder Cook's activities for the following days. The devotional, attended by young single adults from five stakes, centered on the challenges encountered by young people as they pursue their education, prepare to serve a mission and choose their future companion and career paths. Elder Cook provided the opportunity for local leaders, as well as Elder Gonzalez and Bishop McMullin, to share thoughts and insights before he spoke. He expressed the love he developed for the Filipino people since he was called as a General Authority in 1996 with the Philippines Area as his first assignment. He counseled listeners to continue in their faithfulness in the gospel and to develop leadership capabilities as they seek to serve others.
The half-day priesthood leadership conference on Nov. 14 involved 12 stake presidencies, 71 bishops and 14 branch presidents from the Cebu and Bacolod missions. He also presided over the seminar for the 15 mission presidents currently serving in the Philippines Area.
Elder Cook addressed members of the Members of the Cebu City Philippines Stake were given the rare privilege of hearing a message from Elder Cook during a special conference on Sunday, Nov. 15. The choir's rendition of "I Stand All Amazed" created a sweet spirit for those in attendance.
Speaking at the meeting, Elder Cook gave three important points of counsel to the congregation:
First, he counseled members to always have a sense of gratitude in their hearts. He emphasized the responsibility of parents to teach their children to be grateful.
Second, he spoke of the the need for appreciation for the new Cebu Philippines Temple, which is under construction. He shared the story of a father in Tonga who had to sell his family's land to travel to New Zealand so that they could be sealed in the temple as a family. After 40 years, his son was able to buy back the same land. He reminded the Filipino members of how the forthcoming opening of the Cebu Philippines Temple will bless the lives of the people. He said the temple should be a cause of rejoicing for the people on the island.
Third, he counseled the members about the need to set the world aside. Elder Cook stressed the need to focus on the things that would make them acceptable before the Lord, saying that distancing themselves from the world will allow them to receive the blessings of the temple. He pointed out that Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of the Church, and everyone should follow Him.
Elder Cook testified of Jesus Christ and his Atonement and how He is leading the Church.
The members of the Church went home with a renewed determination to better prepare themselves to partake of the blessings of the temple.