‘Faith in the Philippines’ documents Church growth and choir visit, will premiere Sunday

Apr 2, 2024, 9:49 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — The beautiful landscape and rich culture of the Philippines. This country is made up of thousands of islands nestled in Southeast Asia. But in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the fight for survival, it is a humble and happy people with incredible stories of hope, courage, and coming together as one.

News specialist Dan Rascon traveled to the Philippines to capture these stories for a documentary for KSL TV.

“It made me realize that we are really brothers and sisters,” said Father Richard James Balboa of the Catholic church.

Balboa spoke to KSL TV during an event that brought leaders of the Catholic faith and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together to help bring water to a community in need.

Community members gather around church leaders during a visit.

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

The Philippines is also a country growing rapidly for Latter-day Saints. In 63 years, it has grown to more than 850,000 members, with 13 temples either announced, under construction, or operating.

The country also has a Missionary Training Center that can hold more than 300 missionaries. The mission Leaders are a couple from Lehi, Utah.

“My love for this country started back in 1975. I was a missionary here, and there were only two missions at that time. Now, there’s 23 missions and it will be 26 missions starting on July 1,” President David DeLaMare said.

“What we see here is dedicated, hardworking missionaries that love the gospel,” Kayla DeLaMare said.

David DeLaMare’s mission president was Ray Goodson, the first missionary called to the Philippines in 1961. He and his wife, Debbie Goodson, from Sandy, Utah, founded Rise and Rebuild, an organization that feeds hundreds of school kids free meals every day. The food is made from produce grown at several different farms that Rise and Rebuild run.

“We love them and admire them and are constantly amazed with what they do with so little,” Debbie Goodson said.

Another organization, Rice Up, a specialized education program, is helping thousands of farmers get zero-percent-interest loans, budget their finances, and double or even triple their yearly salary. It was founded by Elvin Laceda, who attended Brigham Young University’s campus in Laie, Hawaii.

“Just grateful that God enabled me to be of service to these people,” Laceda said.

This kind of church growth and loving people attracted the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square to the Philippines, where they performed four concerts. The concerts became a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people in the Philippines, and a tour choir members will never forget.

Members of Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square pay respects to fallen US soldiers in the Philippines

“The significance of having the choir here in the Philippines is almost like a new chapter for the church,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “One of the beauties of this country is that almost everyone has faith, and they’re not afraid to talk about it. That says to me, the Lord is preparing great things for this country.”

You can watch “Faith In The Philippines” this Sunday at noon on KSL TV and the KSL+ app.

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‘Faith in the Philippines’ documents Church growth and choir visit, will premiere Sunday