Missionaries From Mexico And Philippines Come To Serve In Ooltewah

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - by Phil Smartt
Elder Anderson, on left, and Elder Labastida
Elder Anderson, on left, and Elder Labastida

Elder Anderson and Elder Labastida of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are serving in the Ooltewah area.  Most missionaries for the restored Church are young people who put their lives on hold for a period of time to serve The Lord full-time.  Young men, from ages 18-25, serve 24 months and young women, from ages 19-26, serve 18 months.  Missionaries are not paid.  Service is voluntary.  

Elder Anderson is 19-years-old, from Orem, Utah.  He has been serving for 14 months.  He was originally assigned to the Mexico Tijuana area and lived there for eight months.  He learned the language and when he first arrived, he said, “It was over 100 degrees during the day.  We rode bikes up and down the streets, dressed in slacks, white shirts, a tie and a name tag.  At the end of the day, we would come home to a shower that was always hot because the pipes had been burning in the sun.  Members of the Church would graciously feed us one meal every day, and we were so appreciative of their support and prayers on our behalf as we did our best to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone.

“In another area,” he said, “there were no paved roads, except the main road.  When it flooded, dirt and rocks were everywhere, making it muddy and difficult to get around.  We were literally separated from other missionaries by a five-hour bus ride.  Our apartment was small – 160 square feet – with no fridge, a frying pan and an electric stove with one working burner.  We lived there for three and a half months.  It was home to us and we loved the people we served.  But when COVID came, we were reassigned to our respective countries.  After quarantining, I was reassigned to the Tennessee Knoxville mission, and now to Ooltewah.  Through it all, I have learned that because of Christ, anyone, anywhere can go from being broken to whole.  It doesn’t matter what our hard times are.  Whatever our challenges, Christ lives and helps us.  He is the greatest missionary there is.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  His Word is wonderful.  So next time you see missionaries, I hope you will talk to them because what they have to share about Jesus Christ can change your life.”

Elder Labastida is from Hayward, Ca.  He was originally called to serve in the Philippines Quezon City North Mission.  He is a convert to the Church.  “I would like to share my testimony that happiness comes from Jesus Christ.  He is the Savior of all mankind.  Only through Him and by Him can we be saved.  I am so grateful that my family found the restored Church of Jesus Christ.  We are happier than we ever were before.”

Elder Labastida has two sisters.  He was born in Texas and moved to California at around 6-years-old.  His hobbies include Wing Chun and languages.  He speaks English and Tagalog and is learning Mandarin, Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean.  Elder Anderson has a younger brother and an older sister.  His hobbies include piano, football, soccer and movies. 

Elder Anderson and Elder Labastida invite everyone to come unto Christ and find joy. 


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