Moment: Member Impacted Missionary Work in Philippines
Contributed By By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News staff writer
“Opportunities are all around us to stretch our lives and our interests in behalf of others.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley
In the Philippines today the Church has more than 675,000 members in 85 stakes and 84 districts, 21 missions, and two temples. But it wasn’t always that way. President Gordon B. Hinckley gave the following account at BYU on March 6, 1977:
“When the history of the work in the Philippines is properly written, it must include the story of Sister Maxine Grimm, whom some of you may know—a girl from Tooele, Utah, who served with the Red Cross in the Pacific campaigns of the Second World War. She married an American army officer, and after the war they established their home in Manila.
“She did all she could to teach the gospel to others; she pleaded that missionaries be sent. Her husband had legal work done and did many other things to make it possible for the missionaries to come. It would have been much easier for them to have simply gone along their way, making money and enjoying the fruits of it, but Sister Grimm was unceasing in her efforts and in her pleas.
“I had responsibility for the work in Asia at that time, and I carried her pleas to the First Presidency, who, in 1961, authorized the extension of formal missionary work to that land. In May of 1961 we held a meeting to begin the work. … Sister Grimm played the little portable organ she had carried through the campaigns of the Pacific war, and we sang the songs of Zion in a strange land. We bore testimony together and invoked the blessings of heaven on what we were to begin there. Present was one native Filipino member of the Church.
“That was the beginning of something marvelous, the commencement of a miracle. The rest is history, discouraging at times and glorious at others. I was there for the area conference held … with President Kimball and others. …
“I wept as I thought of the earlier years, and I remembered with appreciation the woman who largely forgot her own interests as she relentlessly pursued her dream of the day when the Church would be strong in the land in which she then lived, bringing happiness of a kind previously unknown to thousands of wonderful people. But, you say, if we were in an exotic place like the Philippines, we would do likewise. I would hope so. But let me say that opportunities are all around us to stretch our lives and our interests in behalf of others.”
Now 99, Sister Grimm lives in the Skyline Ward, Tooele Utah Stake.