Through international moves, a tough decision to serve a mission as a young man and being called as a mission president while he was in the middle of a successful career, Elder Carlos G. Revillo Jr. has seen a pattern emerge in his family’s lives.
“It’s the story of our lives. We thought it was a sacrifice, when we realize later it wasn’t really a sacrifice,” said Elder Revillo, who was sustained as a General Authority Seventy in the April 2021 general conference. “In fact, we get more blessings than we thought we were giving up.”
Joining the Church
Elder Revillo’s parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was 6 years old.
His father first met the missionaries and was baptized, and his mother was baptized two months later. “He never looked back,” Elder Revillo said of his father, who died a few weeks before the April general conference. “He had a very different life before meeting the missionaries.”
Prior to meeting the missionaries, his father was a smoker. When his father learned of the Word of Wisdom, “He told me he crushed whatever cigarettes he had and never touched the cigarettes again,” Elder Revillo said. “His legacy was bringing us to the Church. Now we have four generations.”
His parents, Carlos C. Revillo Sr. and Amparo G. Revillo, served as president and matron of the Manila Philippines Temple.
“I grew up in a home where the gospel was lived,” said Elder Revillo, the oldest of six children. He grew up in Mindanao, one of the southern islands in the Philippines. “I always knew that this Church is true. I always had a testimony.”
Decision to serve a mission
He had a desire since childhood to serve a full-time mission for the Church, but that was tested when he went to college. He decided to postpone his mission by a year to finish the five-year chemical engineering degree and pass his board certification exams.
He landed in the top five in the board exams and had several good job offers from multinational companies. Because of this, he wavered on his plan to serve.
The Church was still fairly new in the Philippines, and it wasn’t as common at the time for young men and women to serve missions, recalled his wife, Sister Marites Enriquez Fernando Revillo, herself a returned missionary.
Elder Revillo knew he had to evaluate his testimony and what he believed.
“I had to ask myself: ‘Do I really want to serve a mission?’” Elder Revillo said. “I had to pray and really look at what I believe. … Do I really know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true?”
He also learned later on that his mother was praying and fasting for him.
Elder Revillo said the Spirit touched his heart, and he decided to serve a mission.
“My testimony was fully galvanized when I served a full-time mission,” he said. “All of the blessings that I have now, I attribute to that critical decision.”
One of those blessings was meeting his future wife, a sister missionary.
Sister Revillo and her younger brother were preparing their mission papers at the same time and had their interviews with the mission president prior to submitting them. A few weeks later, her brother received his mission call and assignment, but hers didn’t arrive. Later, she went back to the church building where she’d had her interview, and her application was still sitting on the desk.
“I contacted the zone leader and asked ‘What happened to my application?’” said Sister Revillo, who grew up in Bulacan, north of Manila. She started having second thoughts about going on a mission. After praying about it again, she decided to move forward with her application.
When her mission call arrived, her date to report to the Missionary Training Center in Manila, Philippines, was after her brother’s arrival date.
But it was the same date as Elder Revillo. And because of the small number of missionaries entering at the same time in a batch all of the missionaries could meet.
After he was released, he went to visit her and they started dating. Three months after he finished his mission, they got married in the Manila Philippines Temple.
Sister Revillo said it was by divine design that her mission application was delayed so she could meet Elder Revillo.
After completing his mission, he began applying for jobs in the metro Manila area. He was hired by Procter & Gamble at its manufacturing facility and was able to use his chemical engineering degree.
After being married less than a year, he was called to be the bishop at 24 years old. And the following year, at 25 years old, he was called to be a stake president. He said he‘s seen how the Lord had helped guide his life.
“We accepted whatever the Lord wants us to do, even though we don’t feel that we’re probably prepared for that,” he said. “I think that’s how we learn. That’s how I learned when I was a young bishop and a young stake president.”
A job transfer took his family to Japan for five years and also to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the United States, for three and a half years.
“One thing that I’ve learned is that the Church is the same wherever you are,” he said. “And that’s amazing.”
The Revillos also lived and worked in Singapore for five years before accepting an assignment as mission president and companion in the Philippines Quezon City Mission.
“So even though we come from different backgrounds and cultures, the gospel culture is the same wherever you are. And you feel like a family,” he said. “The Church has been our support wherever we go.”
A call to serve in the Philippines
When they were called to be a mission president and companion, Elder Revillo was 47, and they still had three of their four children living at home, and many in the company didn’t understand why he would leave his career.
“It was really a leap of faith for us,” said Sister Revillo. “And we were blessed when we accepted that calling. … It’s the happiness of serving the Lord.”
And it’s been evidence of the pattern of serving the Lord established on their full-time missions as young missionaries.
“With the rest of my callings and our life has been patterned after that if you seek and put the Lord first, you’ll be blessed,” Elder Revillo said. “The Lord is directing us, we just have to let Him.”
After their mission service in Quezon City, they stayed in the Philippines, where he has been the Church’s welfare and self-reliance manager.
“We’re one of those disaster-prone countries,” he said, pointing to typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have happened in the last few years.
“Filipinos are very resilient,” Elder Revillo said. “Whenever there is a typhoon, we want to get up on our feet and laugh at it and smile at it. Even though the roofs are probably gone or our houses are totally gone, you will still see a Filipino smile. They will pick up the pieces and build a new home.”
Sister Revillo added that they “don’t count the problems but count the blessings.”
With many who struggle with finances and income, Elder Revillo has seen how the self-reliance programs have helped them become more independent.
“We’re making progress towards helping members become self-reliant. It’s exciting,” he said.
“The Church humanitarian programs and other assistance in times of disasters and emergencies have been very well-recognized,” he said. “We have good relationships with several (nongovernmental organizations) and government officers as well. It’s a blessing, really, to be able to help.”
They are excited for the 60th anniversary of the Church in the Philippines and have seen the Church’s growth in their home country during their lifetime.
“I think the Lord gives us all of these experiences, but somehow we still don’t feel adequate. But as with the story of our lives, we go and do whatever the Lord wants us to,” Elder Revillo said.
Elder Revillo is one of two General Authority Seventies from the Philippines. Elder Michael John U. Teh was sustained in 2007.
Family: Born in General Santos City, Philippines, on Nov. 8, 1965, to Carlos C. Revillo Sr. and Amparo Garcia Revillo. He married Marites Enriquez Fernando Revillo in the Manila Philippines Temple on Sept. 12, 1989. They have four children.
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Santo Tomas in 1986.
Employment: Worked for 22 years in various management positions for Procter & Gamble in the Philippines, the Asia-Pacific region and at the company’s global headquarters in the United States. He was the head of quality, food safety and regulatory affairs in Asia for the Kellogg Co. from 2011 to 2013. At the time of his call, he had been the Church’s welfare and self-reliance manager in the Philippines.
Church service: An Area Seventy in the Philippines Area at the time of his call, he has served as president of the Philippines Quezon City Mission (2013-2016), bishop, stake president, seminary teacher, high councilor and full-time missionary in the Philippines Bacolod Mission.