News Release

From a skateboarder to a Bishop

Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach an 18 year old about the gospel never realizing that years later he would become a bishop


 As an 18-year-old, Mabini Padaong Calairo was a skateboarder on the island of Guam. He saw two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints walking down the street.  Jokingly he told his friend, “One day I’m going to be like them”.  He was curious to know what they were doing and why they were in Guam. He and his friends skated over to visit with them. They had a conversation about prophets and apostles.  Mabini wanted to learn more.  The missionaries invited all of them to church.  He was the only one who accepted their invitation.  His mother was active in the Catholic church. Although he was raised Catholic, his family rarely went to church.  The missionaries told him what time church started and to meet them at that same spot the following Sunday.  He showed up at the given time and they took him to church.  Little did he know then that this would be the beginning of his gospel journey.   He did not join the Church right away.  He kept visiting with the missionaries and going to church occasionally.  He found out that there was a church dance. He asked the missionaries if he could go to it. The Branch President approved of him going, so he went. He was impressed with the youth and the way they acted. They didn’t swear and do things that most of the teenagers were doing at that time. He liked the difference he saw. He kept attending church and learning more about it.  He heard about a conference for the youth.  He was interested and wanted to attend but didn’t know if he was allowed.  He inquired about it and was given permission to attend the event. During the last part of the conference, he saw youth walk up to the stand. Some of them cried as they shared tender testimonies of the Savior Jesus Christ and his restored gospel. He thought it was strange but nice. One Sunday, he was invited to come to a family’s home for Family Home Evening.  He didn’t know what that was, but he agreed to come.  While he was there, he witnessed kindness in the home and the family eating dinner together around the table.  He had never seen this before.  His immediate family never had dinner together unless it was with other extended family members on certain occasions such as birthdays. He observed that this family shared their day with everyone and what was going on in their lives.  They seemed heavily involved and interested in each other.  This too was something he’d never seen before except in the movies!  He liked it.  In one of the discussions with the missionaries, they mentioned temples and families being sealed together forever.  He was surprised and interested about this concept.  Inquiring he asked, “Really?  Your church can really do that?”  He loved the thought that families really could be together forever. He decided that he wanted to learn more about the Church on his own without any pressure.  He was able to get a copy of the Gospel Principles book and read it cover to cover within a week.  He became a sponge for knowledge about the Church and the gospel.  He got back with the missionaries and began the discussions in earnest. Because of the knowledge he’d gleaned through his study, he felt like he understood more of what they were teaching. Mabini was taught about the Priesthood and authority as well as the other principles, commandments, ordinances, etc. He eventually was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Speaking with his mom on the phone, he mentioned to her that he was thinking about joining the church. She was not pleased and told him to wait and not make any decisions until she returned from the Philippines. However, Mabini had already been a member for two days. Eventually, his mom and family saw the positive changes that were taking place, and decided it was okay. His parents loved the standards of the Church, the family concept and the service given, but they were not interested in joining the Church.  

He left for Nevada after high school to earn money for a mission.  It was a hard place to live for him.  He was surrounded by people that were not the best influence in and out of the Church.  He attended mission prep classes, but in the end decided not to go on a mission.  Feeling guilty about this decision and other poor choices he had made, he soon found himself falling away and eventually quit attending church for a few years.  Even though he quit attending, the Church was constantly on his mind.  One day, he felt a desire that he needed to go back to Church.  He knew that he was not in a good place to do that on his own.  He prayed and asked for help to be able to go back.  The help he prayed for came in the form of losing his job after a company lay-off. He ended up in a position where he felt stuck with nowhere to go. As a last resort, he called his older sister who was living in New Jersey and told her his situation. She invited him to come live with her and suggested that he might want to investigate joining the military. She and her husband were both in the military.  He listened to her counsel, moved to New Jersey, and joined the Navy.  At this time, he still hadn’t gone back to Church.  He fought against the temptations that affected his life earlier and found himself having more positive results that outweighed the negative. With continued prayer and a change in habits, he began to form new routines on the gospel path.  

After bootcamp, he attended military school in Mississippi to learn logistics.  He found out that if he scored high in his military class, he could choose where his first duty station would be and also advance in rank.  He worked hard to achieve this goal.  He accomplished his goal and became one of the few students that ranked at the top of the class.  Eagerly he took the opportunity to turn in his top three choices for his first duty station.  He was hoping for Hawaii, Japan, or Guam.  Unfortunately, he thought at the time, he was sent to Oklahoma.  He didn’t understand why he didn’t get any of his choices and became angry.  He asked Heavenly Father why he was sent there.  In time, he received his answer.  He decided to look up the Church.  He made some friends and eventually became active in the Church again.  This led to him getting his Patriarchal blessing and going to the temple to receive his own endowment.  It was in Oklahoma where he met Astrid, a recently returned missionary.  After dating a while, they were married in the Oklahoma Temple.  His prayers were answered even though it wasn’t in the way he thought they would be.  Oklahoma was truly a blessing after all.

Mabini’s mother died in 2006.  After Mabini met and married Astrid in 2012, they were able to go to the Manilla Philippines temple and do her work.  His wife was able to be a proxy for his mother.  Astrid had never met his mom.  He said, “I felt like my wife and my mother met for the first time at the temple.”  He feels like his mother accepted the gospel as her temple work was done. He said, “It was wonderful!” 

After several more duty transfers and serving in some leadership roles within the Church, they ended up in Guam where he was called to be a bishop in the Dededo Ward. It was only a branch when he was baptized there several years previous.  The stake president that extended the call to him, President Fredivic Nicerio, was his Young Men’s President when he joined the Church.  His time in Oklahoma also blessed the life of a young sister missionary, Rachel Jenkins from Ione California.  The Calairo’s became her family while she served the Lord far away from home.  They became dear friends.  Many years later, Rachel’s parents, David and Ilene Jenkins were called to serve a mission in Guam.  Their first bishop in their newly assigned ward was Mabini Calairo!  It truly is a small world. 

Bishop Calairo 2023
Bishop Calairo 2023
L-R Elder David Jenkins, Bishop Mabini & Astrid Calairo with their childeren, Sister Ilene Jenkins© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Yigo Guam Temple had an open house in May of 2022.  Mabini really wanted his father to experience the temple. He said that his father loves the church’s standards but has decided not to get baptized. His father is currently partially blind and is now living with Astrid and Mabini. He felt impressed that his father, who is from the Philippines, needed to have a tour done in the Philippine language of Tagalog. There were not any missionaries giving a tour who spoke that language.  He talked with President Marlo Lopez, the new temple president who spoke Tagalog and he gave Mabini’s father a private tour of the temple.  It was an answer to prayer.  He had a great experience in the temple and was able to understand more about the temple.  His dad was allowed to touch some of the items inside the temple since he was not able to see it.  As he and his family were driving home from the open house with his dad, it was very quiet.  Suddenly his dad asked, “So, after I die, I can be sealed to my wife?” He was touched by this thought.  His dad’s favorite room to tour was the sealing room which probably is why he asked that question. His father continues to attend church.  He mentioned to Mabini that he does want his temple work done after he dies.

Mabini is a Logistics specialist in the Navy.  He is being transferred with his family to San Diego, California and looks forward to serving there.  He said he would like to be in a struggling branch or ward who needs help instead of a well-established one.  He loves to serve.

In his service as a bishop, he has learned to truly love and care for people.  He learned that the mantle of a bishop is real.  Many times, he felt guided to someone in his ward who needed help, given the words to say for a talk, and has been shown ways to help the youth in his ward.  He really enjoys working with the youth and all members of his ward.  He has learned that the Savior loves us no matter what we have done.  When asked what he would want his ward to remember, he said: “I would desire that the members in my ward will know how much our Father in Heaven and our Savior loves them.  I hope they stay strong, endure to the end, and know that it will all work out.  We just need to hold on through the hard times and not give up.”  He and his wife both love the gospel and The Lord.  With their two small children, they will be a great addition to their new ward or branch in San Diego.         

Dededo Ward 2023
Dededo Ward 2023
Bishop Mabini and Astrid Calairo with their children© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


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