A small branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines reported a tremendous increase in attendance and baptism despite the strict quarantine restrictions in the country.

The branch is located in Curuan Barangay which is on the southern island of the Philippines. It is largely known to be a farming community but had gone through several modernizations in recent years with new modern facilities, banks, and schools on the rise.

Aside from its progressing economy, the Church is also flourishing in their community. According to the Church, they experienced a 100% increase in attendance and baptism last February which was mainly because of the ‘wonderful collaboration between members and missionaries’ in the Curuan Branch.

“The conversion of the saints in Curuan was a result of the collaborative efforts of the leaders and members of all the auxiliaries in the branch and the stake,” said President Pahulaya of Zamboanga Philippines Stake. “Stake leaders were in full force in supporting the Curuan saints by initiating Family Home Evening, ministering activities, and by fostering the spirit of fellowshipping among members and investigators as well.”

In an article published by the church, they reported that the missionaries were pulled out in the area before because ‘the work was slow and there was no baptism’. It was just recently when the Church brought back the missionaries to the farming village.

According to church reports, during the first three quarters of 2019, the average attendance for the Curuan Branch was 36 but when the missionaries came back attendance grew to 79. Baptism also spiked by December bringing 16 souls to baptism which also brought several referrals that led to 13 additional souls on February and 12 in June.

The branch also reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several recent converts including the three members of the Bejerano Family and eight members of the Araneta Family, which was baptized on June 28, were taught using the missionaries’ analog mobile phone.

It is worthy to mention as well that Church leaders and members also helped the missionaries in this great cause by securing travel permits from the local government. President Pahulaya also did his part by making the 31 miles trip to assist with the baptismal interviews.

The missionaries acknowledged the strong bond between members and the missionaries and expressed their gratitude to them.”We appreciate the efforts of the leaders and their dedication to the Lord’s work,” Elder Rambuyan said. “Whenever we had a baptism, we coordinated with the local leaders and they attended to the families who will be baptized. The new converts feel their importance and the warm fellowship in the Church. With members like the Curuan saints, it is easy for missionaries like us to be happy to match the joyful message that we bring,” he concluded.

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Josh Flores is a writer for Moroni Channel. He studies commercial law at De La Salle University and served his mission in Japan.
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