Thursday, August 25, 2016


Happy Days!

There are so many memories, so many fun times we have had the past year serving our mission in the Philippines.  I have selected a few of my favorite pictures to commemorate Cathy's birthday.

August 26, 2015.  Rosales English Class.  There were an unusual number attending class this night.  I did not notice it at the time but they were acting a little strange and some left a few times randomly throughout the class.  Finally Sister Anderson was lured into another room for the surprise party with food and cake.  It was so much fun!

Everyone loves my wife so much and she is such an awesome teacher.  It doesn't matter if she is teaching Self-Reliance or any associated subject such as English, she teaches to understanding.  Sometimes I just look at her as she teaches and say to my self, "you are so beautiful, you are so talented, I am the most blessed man in the world".

We recently found this Livelihood project in Rosales.  They have Sewing, Cooking, Baking and Jewelry Making.  Vilma is a recently convert that has been looking for work and found the sewing and was hired on the spot.  We visited to see where she was working.  Cathy noticed a procedure they were doing that was seriously cutting into their pay by the piece profit.  She taught them a better procedure to use and made sure they could do it.  It only took her a few minutes to share this skill with them and is an example of how she is always looking for ways to serve and help improve lives.

She is so friendly and will strike up a conversation with everyone she meets.  She always makes people feel good about themselves and shares her testimony as she describes what we do with self-reliance here in the Philippines.

At home in Utah she would probably decline this walk through the country that included this and other bridges made of bamboo and only 4 inches wide.  Not here, anything goes!  Such a strong trooper.

Sister Anderson is a really good Grandma.  Not only to our 15 grand children at home in America but to all the missionaries here in the Philippines.  They always laugh and smile when they are with her.

More bridges to cross and never a complaint!

At home in Utah Cathy loves to have family and friends over for dinner and always makes any meal a special occasion.  This was our Christmas Dinner December 2015.  It was a little late because I did not listen to the promptings I received about propane so about 1 hour into the cooking of the turkey we ran out.  Christmas eve is not a good time for such problems.  Dinner was a little later than planned but came off perfectly after we borrowed the propane tank from the Sister Missionaries in the apartment below us.

Young Single Adults from Rosales showed up and sang carols to us.  Such a special time, so much fun.  We are so blessed.

I am not sure what my wife is doing with her arms around this guy in the red suit but everyone had fun at the ward Christmas Party.

My sweetheart thought this was such a cheesy picture to take in front of the mall but I love it!

What can I say, Everyone smiles when they are with my wife!

Forever the teacher!

I hope you enjoy these memories and especially that you know how much I love you!  I love being with you all day, every day.  I love doing everything with you.  I love how you teach, how you commit, how you serve.  I love how you focus on the "one" and how you make everyone around you feel so good.   Happy Birthday!  Love, Theron 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The making of Miracles

MIRACLES HAPPEN in ways that you never imagined. Let me lay the ground work for this miracle. We will start 65 years ago. Elder Anderson was born into a family with deaf parents. He was not taught nor did he take interest into sign language. Our daughter Jessica Anderson Young, at the age of 4 took great interest in the signing of words to communicate with her grandmother. She developed her interest and skills over the years and took many classes. Because of this she built up a small collection of sign language books. When we arrived to serve our mission in the Philippines we met the bishop's son Gerico Somoray who is deaf. Sign language materials are not easily accessible here. We requested that Jessica would send her collection of books so that Gerico might have access to more learning. The books arrived in the spring and Gerico and his family are able to learn the communication skills together. 
Last Friday(Aug 19) Elder Kloepfer contacted us wondering if we knew how to get any help for sign language skills or materials to help with a new investigator. Yes, they use ASL here because there is no Philippine sign language. We were able to borrow materials that had been given to Gerico and also started looking for other resources as well. On ASL.LDS.ORG. there are multiple videos for use by the American members who use sign language. This will allow all the missionaries here access to the teaching materials for their deaf investigators.

This is where Sister Christiansen enters the making of miracles. Quoted from the letter sent this morning to her mother.
Spiritual thought: The language of the spirit truly is the universal language. We came across a 15 year old girl who was deaf and her younger sister, both of whom are members. Even though there were three different languages going on, we were still able to communicate a beautiful message about he savior and his love for his children. We played a mormon message music video about pressing forward to the tree of life on a small portable dvd player, and then used a mix of sign language, charades, and tagalog translation through the sister to discuss what we had seen. However, the true interpreter was the spirit who conveyed the love of God to each of us so strongly. At the end of the lesson, the deaf sister prayed in sign language in what was a really cool spiritual experience.
Matthew 7: 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Welcome to the Philippines Sister Taylor Christiansen.
Doing His work, His way, by His power.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Seek Ye Learning

Talk to SR Conference in Dagupan August 6, 2016

If you have ever attended a Self-Reliance Fireside taught by Sister Anderson and I, then you have heard us declare that we believe in two keys to Self-Reliance

Work and Tithing.

For you more seasoned members of the church,  for you who understand Self-Reliance and are working diligently to teach these principles to the members of your Stake or District I will give you two additional keys to consider

Work and Learning

D&C 109:7  …seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;

D&C 58:27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

Joseph Smith loved learning even though he had few opportunities for formal education.  In his journals, he spoke happily of days spent in study and often expressed his love of learning

Joseph taught the Saints that knowledge was a necessary part of our mortal journey, for “a man is saved no faster than he [gains] knowledge,” and that “whatever principle of intelligence we attain … in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” D&C 130:18-19   

During challenging times, it is even more important to learn. The Prophet Joseph taught, “Knowledge does away with darkness, [anxiety], and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is.”

From the beginning, Church leaders have counseled us to get all of the education we can as a preparation for and improvement of our careers.

I begin with the Old Testament story of Naaman

2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

An Israelite slave girl who served Naaman’s wife spoke of prophets in Israel who had the power to heal.

The king of Syria sent a message to the king of Israel saying, “I have … sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.” The king of Israel suspected a plot and complained, “He seeketh a quarrel against me. … Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?”

Elisha, the prophet, heard of the king’s distress. And “he sent to the king, saying, … let him come now to me.”  Elisha would heal Naaman, and he told why: that “he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

When Naaman was near, Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, … and thou shalt be clean.” Naaman was angry. There were rivers in Syria, as good, he thought, as the Jordan. He had expected Elisha to perform some impressive ceremony like clapping his hands upon him. And he “turned … away in a rage.”

But one of his servants courageously chastised the general and said, “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?”

Humbled by his servant, Naaman “went … down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: … and he was clean.” (2 Kgs. 5:1–14)

Human nature hasn’t changed over the years. Even today some of us expect to be bidden to do some “great things” in order to receive the blessings of the Lord. When we receive ordinary counsel on ordinary things, there is disappointment, and, like Naaman, we turn away.

The counsel I give to you may seem simple, even trivial to some of you. But it is consistent with the doctrines and principles announced by the First Presidency when the welfare program was first introduced almost 80 years ago:

“Our primary purpose [is] to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.)

The emphasis here is on Self-Reliance.  Work was the key in 1936 and is still the key today.  Education is critical.  Opportunity for that education and training are everywhere in the Philippines.  We have good schools for our youth.  We have good Universities and trade schools for our young adults.  We have TESDA available for everyone.

As leaders, are we properly counseling our members on the opportunities available to them?  Are we counseling and giving them vision of who they are and what privileges God is wanting them to partake of?

That is the responsible role of all leaders in the self-reliance program.  We must help people to help themselves. 

There are many, many opportunities available for training.  Even if we have a good job, or a good business we should continually be looking for more knowledge and training.

D&C 58:27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

Many of the opportunities require time to seek and find them.  May i suggest just a few places that we need to visit?  I am suggesting that every Stake and District might organize a committee to seek and find the opportunities within their borders.  You might consider using unemployed or under employed members to work on such a committee.  Sister Anderson and I have visited many of these offices and discovered opportunities.  This is not a time to be shy.  Missionaries are taught OYM (open your mouth).  That is what is required here.  There are NOT opportunities ongoing every month of the year but there is something happening each and every year.  Regular visits are required, making friends with those who work there is important.  OYM  Many of our members work in these offices and are a wealth of information.  A few examples:  

Municipal office

Barangay Halls

Agriculture office





A young mother in Rosales recently went to a town next to where she lives and took training in Goat Raising, Vermiculture, Vaccinations and other skills.  When asked if she was going to start raising goats she said no, she did not have land, she just wanted to learn more.  

We have a duty to learn as much as we can, to encourage our families, quorum members, relief society sisters to learn and become better educated.  We have the duty to mentor each other to find all the opportunities possible.

D&C 75:28 And again, verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church.

 29 Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways.

This commandment, to provide for our family is possible.  It is possible here in the Philippines.

D&C 104: 17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

We do not need to go abroad.  We do not need to create single parent families by sending Mother or Father away.  We can do it here, in this great land by following the principles of Work, Education and paying our tithing.

Let’s mentor and teach and remind each other who we are.  We are part of the greatest generation that God has sent to the earth.  We have the highest integrity, Dependability, the best habits and teachings in the world.  May God bless us that we will build into our lives these principles of Self-Reliance that have been part of the gospel from the very beginning.  Self-Reliance is not a new doctrine, it is not a program that we do once and then sit back and say, I did that.  Self-Reliance is something we do everyday of our lives.  Self-Reliant is what we become.  To you leaders I quote Luke 22:32 “…and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mabuhay Deseret Foundation

Melody Ledesma, Director, William Jackson, MD Founder, Sister Anderson, Elder Anderson, Sister DeSesto, Josh Jackson
Last month we were working in Bani, a branch in Alaminos District.  The Elders Quorum President took us to his home to meet his wife.  She told us that she had to quit teaching Primary and Sunday School because she cannot see the books and manuals to read them.  She has Cataracts and told us that she was too old to have them removed.  She is only 72 and we explained to her how simple the surgery is and the wonderful results.  She was nervous but after explaining it to her, (I had cataracts removed more than 15 years ago) she seemed to relax and gain some confidence.  

We told them about Mabuhay Deseret Foundation and Charity Vision.  She can have the surgery without any cost.

When I called the director in Manila to learn what they needed to do she invited us to meet her and the founder who was going to be in a town near us.  These pictures are taken at their eye clinic that they are preparing to open in San Fabian, Pangasinan.

During the years 1986-1989, Dr. William Jackson and his wife Audrey, presided over a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Philippines. It did not take long for them to learn to love the beautiful Filipino people, but they were surprised at the number of children suffering from terrible disfiguring disabilities. Hare lips and cleft palates were common and many children were suffering from crossed eyes and club feet.

Many miracles occurred, Doctors and Hospitals volunteered and donated their services and one by one children were blessed.

With the help of other church leaders and the local community, the Mabuhay Deseret Foundation was formed. Children were brought in from all over the country to a hospice house in Manila and the first surgical program was organized at St. Luke’s Hospital. Since then the foundation has expanded to include hundreds of volunteers operating out of 12 medical facilities located in the regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindinao.

Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Jackson met others who had similar experiences in third world countries. The feeling was unanimous that the program in the Philippines could be duplicated in other countries. American doctors indicated a willingness to donate their time to train local doctors in the skills that they would need for the specialized care of indigent patients around the world. Since the philosophy of the foundation is to utilize all donations for the “direct care” of those in need, these volunteer physicians have since traveled the world at their own expense to help make this dream a reality.

Since these humble beginnings in 1988, millions of dollars worth of medical supplies and equipment has been donated to Mabuhay Deseret Foundation by major pharmaceutical companies and charitable institutions around the world. For every dollar that we have received nearly $100 worth of professional services and medical supplies has been delivered to those in need right here in the Philippines and around the world.
Today, Mabuhay Deseret Foundation has expanded into more than 20 countries and has adopted the name Deseret International Foundation / Charity Vision. Through the efforts of thousands of volunteers, doctors and our generous supporters, we are now providing over 15,000 life-changing surgeries every year, to indigent people around the globe.
For more information visit and

Wheelchair's Continued

John's Mother brought this happy boy to the wheelchair assessment in July.

John is 7 years old and was born with Polio and hydrocephalus.  In spite of these problems he is a very happy child.

Elder McClure enjoyed pushing him around the cultural hall while he was waiting for his turn.

The wheelchairs available do not have the support for upper body and especially the head which is needed by a child like John.  Unfortunately they did not have a solution for him

Someone suggested that a larger stroller might be the solution and someone agreed to donate the necessary funds for the purchase.  The Stake President said he would see that the appropriate purchase was made.

A larger stroller was found but was not long enough so the dealer made the necessary adjustments and customized it for John.  He is no happy in his new stroller and his Mother's load has been lightened by the charity and consecration of time, talents and funds.