RELIGION

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bring water to Filipino community

Feb 23, 2024, 6:59 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2024, 2:02 pm

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A small community outside of Manila in the Philippines came out in a big way to celebrate the arrival of Elder Neil L. Andersen of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who is visiting the country on a nine-day tour.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was part of a project that brought hundreds of families water again.

Residents of what’s called a “Cardinal Sin Village” had a band waiting, made signs, and gave Elder Andersen and others in his van a parade around the apartment complex. Hundreds of children also ran alongside the caravan.

At one point, Elder Andersen exited the van and hugged many of the children.

Community members gather around church leaders during a visit.

Community members gather around church leaders during a visit. (Dan Rascon, KSL TV)

The residents were all celebrating something we take for granted – water. They finally have it again.

“Oh, it’s good. We now have water every day. In the morning, at night,” said Emma Cabahug to KSL TV. “It’s very hard without water. Water is life.”

For months now, the Church has been working alongside the Catholic community to build three new water tanks on top of the apartments. The previous tanks were rusted, old, and couldn’t hold water.

“We are on the eighth floor of the building. This is the water tank that they asked to be replaced,” said Bernabe Magsino, whose company built the tanks.

One of the new water tanks atop an apartment building.

One of the new water tanks atop an apartment building. (Dan Rascon, KSL TV)

“Oh, it is fantastic,” said Magsino about fixing the water tanks. “You could only fill the tank about (one-third) up. And the rest of the tank, there were so many holes up to the top.”

Elder Andersen, along with Catholic leaders, cut a ribbon and joined hands to ceremonially turn on a faucet to let the water flow again. The seven-building complex houses 1,200 families in 980 units.

“Instead of having to load up water and carry it up to the third or fourth level, water will come out of their faucets. No wonder they are so happy,” Andersen said. “You can’t be with children and not feel the love of God. The innocence, the goodness, the desire to embrace us.”

“I’m very overwhelmed and grateful. I have been here for ten years, and I know how difficult it is for them,” said Father Richard James Baboa of the Catholic Church.

“Being able to work together makes us realize we are really brothers and sisters, and the encounter is really helping us to be open and not judge people,” Baboa said.

Virgina Catipon couldn’t be more excited. She will now no longer have to carry water up all those flights of stairs to her seventh-floor apartment.

“It’s very good we have plenty of water,” Catipon said. “This is my faucet, my water, look!”

But this wasn’t Elder Andersen’s only humanitarian celebration event in the Philippines on Thursday.

He also visited with Filipino youth and other beneficiaries of the giving machines that people donated during the Christmas season in the Philippines. The total contribution from the machines and church for six different charity partners was about $67,000.

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Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bring water to Filipino community