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Filipino students, inspired by Elder Teh’s devotional, say they will strive to be better instruments of God by serving fellow students and their home country

Elder Teh standing at the BYUH pulpit wearing a black suit and black and red tie with a purple and white lei. His mouth is open because he is speaking and his right hand is raised slightly with his fingers spread apart.
Elder Michael John U. Teh speaking at a BYUH devotional on Feb. 15, 2022.

Elder Michael John U. Teh, born in Davao, Philippines, and a General Authority Seventy of the Church, said students must trust in the Lord, obey God’s commandments and follow the prophet to obtain God's assistance.

He shared there is a loving Father in Heaven who does not intend for his children to walk by themselves. “Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ work with each one of us, ‘one-by-one.’ Therefore, even though the plan of salvation is for all of God's children collectively, it is also individualized. He has a unique and individual plan for [all people].”

Heeding God’s word

Teh shared obedience determines the trajectory of a person’s life. “Adam and Eve obeyed God's commandments to offer sacrifices, even if they did not completely understand the reason why. When asked, Adam simply said: ‘I know not, save the Lord commanded me.’” He said this is evidence Adam and Eve “understood what it means to obey.”

He emphasized, “For heaven's help, obey God's commandments.”

In addition to trusting and obeying God, Teh emphasized the importance of following the prophet. He said God knew some of his children would struggle with following the prophet.

“The adversary knows if the voice of the prophet is left unheeded, he will have power over the people. He will have much success in persuading people to either ‘run in place’ on the covenant path or actually get off of it,” he explained.

Teh said the adversary has found a “more effective way of ensnaring people” in modern times. He continued, “He [Satan] confuses people by allowing them to believe in a living prophet, but at the same time, convinces them the prophet doesn't always get things right. So, the people feel justified because they believe in a living prophet but can pick and choose which of his counsels they will follow.

“This is totally consistent with Satan’s pattern of deception by spreading lies and half-truths and candy-coated sins.”

Trusting the potter’s hand

Teh quoted a passage from Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

He said he imagined himself as malleable clay “in the hands of a master potter.” He explained as people allow God to direct their lives, he will mold them “into the kind of men and women [people] can and ought to become.”

He added if people “insist on [their] way instead of doing things the Lord’s way, [they] are telling him [their] way is better than his.” He said trusting God by doing things his way is a precursor to faith.

Jerameel Recodig, a junior from Quezon City, Philippines, and president of the Filipino Club, said Teh’s message about allowing God to mold his children as clay reminded him of the teachings from King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.

Recodig, an English and hospitality and tourism management major, quoted Mosiah 3:19, which says to become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him [God’s children], even as a child doth submit to his father.”

He added this message speaks to him about how he can be a better instrument in the Lord’s hands and reach his divine potential. “I have to trust the potter’s hand in molding my desires, goals, purposes, thoughts and actions.”

Four girls and five boys performing a musical number in the Cannon Activities Center as part of Elder Teh's devotional. They are all dressed in formal attire and holding black binders with sheet music inside.
Filipino students performed as part Teh's devotional.

Becoming an instrument in God’s hands

Teh’s devotional messaged also helped Recodig to recognize how he can utilize his role as Filipino Club president, he shared.

“Among many things, the Spirit taught or at least reminded me God puts [people] in a place where [they] can be an influence of good to many. Because of the devotional, I had an increased desire to discover ways to become a blessing to the people around me.”

He explained he can be an instrument in God’s hands by highlighting and celebrating parts of the culture of the Philippines that align with the gospel of Jesus Christ in his club’s events. “By doing this, I get to help many [people] rediscover the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and bask in its life-giving force,” he explained.

Mia Malit-Cruz, a junior from Quezon City, Philippines, said she was reminded to be an instrument of God by serving her country.

“As a junior, I’ve been starting to think about my future career options. Through this devotional, I was reminded I am to be instrumental in building God’s kingdom on earth in my home country and that the best career option would be the ones that align my career objectives with God’s objectives.”

Cruz said she has different ideas for her future career, such as becoming an opera singer, music educator, choral conductor and ethnomusicologist.

Full of opportunities

Teh said, “The world is full of opportunities even though many times it may not appear to be that way.” He explained these can be not only economic opportunities but also intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual opportunities.

There are always opportunities for spiritual growth, whether “in times of peace or war, economic boom or depression, enlightenment or confusion and even in the midst of a pandemic,” Teh shared.

In pursuing individual spiritual growth, students always have access to God's assistance through the atonement of Christ and can find these truths in the scriptures and words of the prophets, he added.

Receiving heaven’s help does not mean people will not experience suffering, nor does it eliminate the need for effort, but people “can be assured [they] will be sustained, buoyed up, … find peace and receive strength,” he explained.