I am a second generation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My family and I were taught and were baptized as members of the church in the Philippines in 1970. We are 10 brothers and sisters, and I am the 4th. In this picture is my Mama Epifania and my brothers and sisters: Joy Jessica, who we fondly call Jetjet, Russell, Ruben, Wilma, myself, Roger and Harold (with the guitar). My 2 older sisters (Carolina and Jean Elsa and our younger sister Honee Yzabelle) are not in the picture, and of course my Papa Vicente who passed on the year before. This picture was taken December 1988.
I was the first in my family to be a full time missionary of our church. I went to serve in the Philippines Baguio Mission (June 1982 to December 1983). Baguio Mission comprises regions in the Northern Philippines. We are from Davao City which is like the foot of the Philippines. It was the best time of my life. During that time, I travelled to places I’ve never been, ate food I’ve never tasted before, met a lot of people and taught as missionaries, like I’ve never done. I did that for 18 months. In a few years when my youngest son will be 18 and old enough to serve a mission himself, I would say that if I will be given another chance to do it, I will do it in a heart beat, this time with my husband as a couple missionary.
After I served my mission in 1983, I came home and shared all my experiences to my younger siblings, and they were so inspired to serve, too. Excluding my older brother Roger and Mama in the picture, all of those faces served full-time in different areas in the Philippines. I would say that our family have really been blessed with the services we rendered to the Lord.
I am a Registered Nurse. In the Philippines, young girls, after high school, enter the nursing school with high hopes of going abroad, especially to the land of milk and honey: the United States of America. I exactly had the same intentions. As poor as we were, my parents, worked so hard to put me through nursing school. I remember some nights when we went to bed hungry, we just did not have money for dinner. Life was hard. Those nights, I felt the urge to do well in nursing school to lift my family out of poverty. BTW, I went to one of the most prestigious nursing schools of the country: San Pedro College, in Davao City. I did ok with college, passed the RN boards, took CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) test to get a working visa to come to America, and January 17, 1989, my dreams and hopes of coming to America came to pass. Like how the little mouse, Fievel, in the movie, “Fievel Goes West” felt, I was the same way. The promise of America was at my fingertips. The first 12 years of my RN in America experience was poured on sending my younger siblings to college. This is just culturally correct for the Filipino people, it even got extended to nephews and nieces. Thanks to my understanding American husband. To me, he is really heaven sent.