Member News

The Power of Example


Rodolfo E. Gacayan Jr. is a construction worker on the island of Romanum on Chuuk.  He’s a husband, father of eight children, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a district president and speaks five languages.  He was born in the Philippines and met his wife, Dorina, when he came to Chuuk for employment. He was baptized in 2015.  His oldest daughter was the first one in their family to be baptized.  She was attending high school in Weno with the Walters family when the missionaries taught her the gospel.  He was not happy when his daughter said that she wanted to get baptized.  After some time, he and his wife consented to allow her to be baptized.  They did not attend her baptism, which they came to regret later.  Their daughter wanted her parents to hear the gospel, so she fasted and prayed for them for several months.  She asked if the missionaries could visit her family on Romanum and they did.  Rodolfo was not ready to listen to the missionaries.  He drank and smoked.  He allowed his wife and sons to listen to them, but he would go outside when they came over.  These missionaries were patient with him and continued to come to their house for several months teaching his family.  As his family attended church, he wondered more and more what this Church was all about.  Elder Smith, one of the missionaries that were teaching his family, asked him to read Moroni 10:3-5 from the Book of Mormon and find out for himself if this Church was true.  He had never read the Book of Mormon.  He decided to read these verses.  That night as he was standing outside smoking, he pondered on the verses.  He prayed and asked Heavenly Father if it was true.  He told the Lord in his prayer that if it was true, then this would be his last smoke.  The missionaries hadn’t been teaching him, but he watched his family change.  His wife and sons wanted to be baptized on a Friday.  He asked them to wait until Saturday as he was off island for work and wouldn’t be back until Saturday.  He wanted to be there.  So, they did.  When he saw his family, all dressed in white before they were baptized, he felt a warm feeling in his heart.  He told the missionaries that he wanted to be baptized that day with them and if he couldn’t then his family was not getting baptized either!  The missionaries were shocked and were not sure what to do.  They interviewed him and baptized him with his family.  He said: “I don’t know if they followed the rules in this, but I knew that I needed to be baptized with my family that day!”  At the time of his baptism, he was selling cigarettes with a friend as an extra income to provide for his family.  It was a profitable business for him.  After learning more about the Church, he didn’t feel good about selling them.  He gave the cigarettes to his sister in-law to sell and agreed that they would split the profit between them.  His wife counseled him and said: “You know, it’s still the same.  You are the boss and are still getting money for selling cigarettes.  It’s not right.” He thought about it and finally agreed that she was right.  He stopped selling the cigarettes and gave all his inventory to his business partner.  He didn’t know how he was going to be able to provide for his family.  He and his wife prayed for help.  They began to pay their tithing despite their circumstances.  His oldest daughter encouraged them and continued to share her testimony with them.  Dorina, his wife, was strong and had enough faith to move forward.  He was so grateful for both of their examples. 

While his oldest daughter was serving a mission in the Philippines, they were able to go as a family to the Manilla Philippines temple. She met them at the temple where he and his wife received their own endowments and were sealed together.  They had six children at that time and were also able to be sealed as a family.  Returning to Chuuk was hard.  The money stopped coming in and they struggled for eight months.  They had nothing.  Their extended family and friends hated them for joining the Church and turned their backs on them for a while. Dorina kept telling him to be strong and be patient.  It was a hard time.  He believed that the Church was true but wondered if God was mad at him.  He prayed with faith hoping the Lord would hear his prayers.  Although this was a hard time for them, the Lord did provide for their needs.  He felt like perhaps God was testing him to see if he would return to his old ways.  He didn’t.  Soon after getting baptized, he was called to be a nursery leader.  Laughing, he said: “My wife told me that being in the nursery would teach me patience!”  Later, the mission president at the time, President Hicks, called him to be the district president.  He told him no because he didn’t think he was a good man and didn’t feel worthy to have such a calling.  Being from the Philippines, he didn’t know how if he’d be accepted as a district president. He told President Hicks: “I don’t know anything.  I don’t know how I would lead these people.  I have plenty of weaknesses.  I’m not the right guy to become district president.”  President Hicks told him that he would pray for him, and that God would be a guide to him in this calling.  President Hicks returned to Guam. The next time he visited Chuuk, he told Rodolfo that the Lord had called him to be a district president.  This time, reluctantly, he accepted the call.  After being the district president for over a year, he said: “Now I know that the call came from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and not from man.  Now I understand.  I am learning and my family has become strong in the Church.  I was a not a good man.  I did everything.  But now I am so happy.  I’m blessed because I have a good wife, and good sons and daughters. We understand the word of wisdom now.  My family is the most important thing to me.  One big thing I’ve learned in my calling is that the parents need to be good role models for the kids.  Our kids follow our examples.  The kids can be good role models for their parents.  My wife and I try to teach our kids about the gospel and to be good.”  He struggled for 3 years to get to the point where he didn’t want to smoke. He teaches his kids to never start smoking.  He worked hard to stop and prayed for help.  Eventually, he was able to quit.  He has a testimony that if you want to stop a habit, you must work hard at it yourself and then the Lord will help you do the rest.  He shares this with others who have a desire to quit but seem to be unable to do so.  It is hard not to smoke or drink on the island because it is a custom.  When you are offered a drink or a cigarette, you are expected in their culture to take it.  He has learned that even though it can be hard, it is possible to refuse it in a respectful way.  When people know the reason that you don’t smoke or drink, they usually are very kind and respectful of your beliefs. 

Rodolfo’s father has passed away and he was able to do his temple work in the Yigo Guam temple.  He said: “This is the true Church.  I am so thankful that Heavenly Father helped our daughter share the gospel with us.”  His daughter is living in the States now and is married to a man who is not a member of the Church.  They live in a place where there is not a church close by, so they meet as a small branch in a house.  Dorina told her daughter to be a good example and minister to her husband.  Whenever they talk with them, they try to encourage them both with the principles of the gospel. President Gacayan counsels his daughter not to force her husband.  He said: “Little by little, he will come to understand.”  This is how he says he’s learning and continues to learn.  As a district president, he is over 10 branches throughout the islands of Chuuk.  The branches are really lacking in priesthood leadership.  He hopes that through good examples, love, patience, and prayer they can one day become a stake.  The power of one good example truly can make a difference in one life, one family, one branch and beyond.                            


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