Missionary Moment: Shopping with Orphans

Contributed By Glenn Pinder, Church News contributor

  • 30 December 2016

Sister Georgia Pinder enjoys shopping with some of the girls from an orphanage in the Philippines in 2002.  Photo courtesy of Glenn Pinder.

Article Highlights

  • While visiting an orphanage in the Philippines, a couple from Utah adopted two boys.
  • Years later, one of the boys arranged to have Christmas presents for the children, aided by a missionary couple.

Saturday, November 30, 2002, is a day that will never be forgotten. This was the day that we took 125 children from an orphanage in the Philippines to shop at a local department store.

When we walked into the orphanage all the children were lined up down a long hallway, and they began to sing a beautiful Filipino song of thanksgiving. They had the most loving countenance on their faces and a look of anticipation, because this was the first time that they could shop and pick out things by themselves.

We took them in groups of 30, and they were so well behaved and disciplined in buying only clothing and shoes. The children were overwhelmed that they would have something new, because everything they had consisted of hand-me-downs. The love we felt and the hugs received that day will remain with us for eternity.

One of the neatest parts of this story is that it started in 1970, when David and Terri Badham from Utah lived in the Philippines while stationed there for Brother Badham’s assignment in the U. S. Air Force. While there, the couple—who had been trying to have children for a few years—visited an orphanage run by the Catholic Church. There they met a boy named John Chandler and a boy they called James. The couple was able to adopt the two boys.

Years later, after James was grown and his employment took him to the Philippines, he returned to the orphanage from which he was adopted. During his visit he could see the wonderful work being done by the nuns. As he drove away he had a strong feeling that he needed to give back for all they had done for him.

Glenn Pinder and some of the children from a Philippines orphanage attend a Christmas party in December of 2002. Photo courtesy of Glenn Pinder.

When he returned home, he told his wife about his feelings, and they decided to give what they could to help the orphanage and to provide a special Christmas for the children. Their local community heard about the special project, and they were able to raise more than $5,000. It was suggested to purchase items in Manila, rather than paying to have things shipped. This is where my wife, Georgia, and I got involved, resulting in one of the best experiences of our mission.

It is hard to put into words our feelings from this experience, but being with these beautiful spirits, being able to love them and then feel in return their sweetness and love is what we feel when we read in 3 Nephi 17 how much our Savior loves the children. This experience was a wonderful testimony builder for us, and if we had done nothing else on our mission it would have been enough.

Glen Pinder is a member of the Murray Little Cottonwood 12th Ward, Murray Utah Little Cottonwood Stake.

Children from an orphanage in the Philippines perform during a Christmas party planned for them in December 2002.