News Release

I’ve Learned for Myself

A branch president from Yap shares his conversion story and his love for the gospel. He learned for himself that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.

Gubung from Yap 2024
Gubung from Yap 2024
Colonia Branch president, Ignatius Gubung 2024© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ignatius Gubung was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2003 after the missionaries came to his home and taught him the gospel.  They had met his sister and came to the house to teach her. It was there they met Ignatius.  At this time, he chewed Betel nut. (This is a nut/fruit which comes from the Areca Catechu palm tree.  It is a common stimulant and highly addictive, especially when mixed with tobacco.)  When the missionaries asked if they could teach him, he'd make up excuses not to see them.  When they would invite him to church, he had two thoughts: “1) If I join this Church, I cannot chew.  2) If I don’t join this Church, I can chew!” So, the first few times that they invited him, he’d make up excuses not to listen or go to church such as: “I have to feed the pigs!”  He had grown up in the Catholic church and had been taught that they were the only church that had the truth. The other churches were false.  He finally gave in and let the missionaries teach him. They taught him that he can pray to know the truth.  As they taught him, he could feel the spirit wanting him to listen and go to church.  He had never felt the spirit in other churches like he did when he came to this Church.

His wife, Teresa, and her sister listened to the missionaries as well at this time.  They embraced the gospel and were baptized.  It was harder for Ignatius to join the Church because of his addiction in chewing Betel Nut.  The first time he went to church, he said that he didn’t get anything out of it. He was too busy watching the clock waiting for the meeting to be over so he could go and chew! The missionaries worked with him and encouraged him to stop chewing it little by little. They taught him about the Word of Wisdom.  He remembers how they taught about addictions starting out like a thin thread that wraps around us.  In the beginning, the thread is easy to break.  The more you become addicted, the thicker the threads become and the harder they are to break. He found this to be true.  Breaking the addiction of betel nut was very difficult. Eventually, with the help of the Lord, he was able to stop.  Ignatius said: “It wasn’t easy, but I put my trust in the Lord.  I read in the Book of Mormon in Ether 12:27 where it talks about how the Lord can make weak things become strong. I know that I could not stop chewing betel nuts on my own. I tried to be humble and have faith.  It was a miracle.  I know that I cannot overcome any of my weaknesses, except through Jesus Christ and His grace.”  He has a testimony now of the Word of Wisdom. He says: “I know that it is true.

Brother Gubung finds great joy in studying the words of the prophets and apostles.  He tries hard to memorize some of their quotes.  He also likes to study in the Preach My Gospel book.  It touched him when he read about how to recognize the difference between the Holy Ghost and other feelings.  He learned and has come to know that you feel more than you hear. Through his studies, he feels like he has learned so much. It has helped him stay in the Church at times when it would be easier to leave. Ignatius knows that knowledge is important.  He likes what Joseph Smith said in D&C 130:18-19 “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.  And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” Brother Gubung has a testimony that this is true.  He said: “I know that we learn things in this life and there is still more that our Heavenly Father wants to teach us.  He is wise and knows everything.  I know that the plan of salvation is true.  I know that what the living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, says is true.”   Brother Gubung enjoys listening to General Conference.  After conference, he reads and studies the talks to understand them better.  He finds quotes or stories that he really likes and tries to memorize them.  This helps him to stay on the covenant path. His commitment to the gospel is a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly commitment.  He said: “Keeping our commitments, helps us to keep our covenants.  If we don’t keep our commitments, how can we keep our covenants?” He continued by talking about agency saying: “I know that our Heavenly Father gives us agency.  He does not force us to get baptized.  We do that by faith in Him.  He gives us the freedom to choose.  In Helaman 14:30-31 it talks about agency.  I know that this agency is a gift to us. I know that the Book of Mormon is good because if we take what it teaches us and apply it in our life, we can be strong and help others.  I have learned that there is power in agency and the power in choice. It really is all up to us. I know we need to be humble.  Sometimes this is hard in Yap because of the native customs. In John 14:15, it says ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.  In John 15:10 it talks about abiding in His love. I try to put God first.  If I love the Word, I need to feast upon it.  Because of my faith, I like to keep my covenants.  I like to keep my promises.”

Ignatius loves the temple even though he does not have the opportunity to go often due to distance and cost.  “I know from my experience that the holy temples are a house of instruction, a house of humility, a house of learning, a house of faith, and especially, a house of the Lord. We all need to stay on the covenant path. I feel like it is so important for the youth to learn about the covenants they make at baptism, sacrament, and the temple. I like what our prophet said about working with the end in mind…to think celestial!”  Brother Gubung said that he knows that it’s hard to be strong especially in part-member families.  But he adds: “I also know that we need to stay strong and stay on the covenant path. I know that if we do, we will be blessed.”

Brother Gubung finds joy in sharing his testimony.  He said: “I’m not saying that I am clever or a genius, but I really have learned for myself that the Church is true.  I know that it is His Church and that we have apostles and prophets today.  I know that the Lord sees me.  It’s not always easy to live the gospel.  If we have faith and trust along with spiritual integrity, we can become strong.  If we continue to pray always, go to church, read the scriptures, then we can become strong.  We just need to keep coming and keep trying.”

Ignatius Gubung was called to be the branch president of the Colonia Branch in Yap in August 2023 when the Thol Branch was dissolved to combine the two branches.  President Gubung and his family used to walk eight miles one way every Sunday to attend church when they were in the Thol Branch.  He is a man of deep faith and conviction in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.