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Pressing Forward To Complete My Mission

Missionaries
Elder Bagtas with flag

My original field of labour was in the Philippines San Pablo Mission. After about 18 months serving there, my mission president called to inform me that a Canadian Visa had just been issued in my name. My mother was working in Alberta, Canada and had applied for visas that would allow her children to join her. So, this news was kind of an expected surprise. My mission president then told me that my visa was urgent. He proposed, “an early release, which is still a return with honor.” I was shocked, sad, and confused. I replied, “I’ll think about it first.”

It took me a lot of prayers to decide what I should do. I knew that it was important that I move to Canada to be with my mother and family. It seemed too easy to be released and simply call it quits. I felt that it’s not over yet. A few days later, my mission president called again. He told me that it was possible for me to be re-assigned and serve the last six months of my mission somewhere in Canada. I was so happy when I heard that I could continue to teach and baptize!

Baptism in Philippines

I was temporarily released, and a few weeks later I flew to Alberta. Living in a new country was hard for me, though, and it took me about three months to adjust. A part of me didn’t want to go back again after learning that my new field of labour was to be in the Canada Toronto Mission. There was a lot of doubt in my mind. A few days before I was to leave, I went to the temple with my mom. There we had the chance to pray and ask for help from above. Instantly, I felt God’s loving hand reaching out to me. I was immediately motivated to go back to labour in the mission field.

Missionary

The following day I was set apart as a missionary again, and the day after that I flew to Toronto. I was assigned to the Don Mills Ward, and it was winter when I got there. Sometimes while walking to our appointments, I questioned, “It’s so cold. Why am I here? I could be warm staying inside my home in Alberta?” In spite of these doubts, I knew that my call to Don Mills was inspired because almost half of the ward included Filipinos. Also, many of the people living in that area were Filipinos. I was hoping to see a baptism again, and I did.

The first was the Baluyot family: who had just moved to our ward from the Philippines. The mother was a member and a returned missionary, but at the time of their move, she was less active. Her five-year-old daughter inspired the family to start attending church. Determined to have a joyful, happy, and eternal family, her husband, Terence, and her eleven-year-old son, Kyle, were very desirous to learn the principles and ordinances of the gospel. I was privileged to teach them in their native language, Tagalog. Just four and a half weeks later, they were baptized on May 27, 2017.

Baluyot family

The Hernandez family was another Filipino family who had recently moved into the Don Mills Ward. All four of the children were members except for their mother—Loveth Hernandez. I was very excited to begin teaching Sister Hernandez, and again I was able to teach her all of the missionary lessons in Tagalog. She was so sweet. Conversion also came easily with the help of the members. On July 15, 2017—four days before I completed my mission—she was baptized.

Baptism

I testify that God loves His children! He prepared a way for each individual to accept the gospel and return to Him. I will never know what would have happened if I had not come back for the last six months of my mission. It was an inspired decision. I am so happy learning about the reasons why I completed my mission here in Canada in order to do all the things that the Lord wanted me to do! (1 Nephi 3: 7)