Augusto Lim: The Man of Many Firsts

"Daddy,” his little daughter asked, “why don’t we ever go to Church?”

He didn’t really have an answer for her. Brother Augusto Lim was a protestant and his wife was a member of the Catholic Church back then. Neither of them was active in church after they were married. Not much was said about the question but it remained in Brother Lim’s mind. This prepared him for the day when two young men knocked on his door to introduce the restored Gospel.

It was the day that changed his life.

Today, many members of the Church know Brother Lim as one of the pioneer saints in the Philippines. He and his wife, Sister Myrna Lim, made a great impact as they served and assisted the Lord in building up His kingdom. Even in the early stage of their lives, they have been prepared well by the hand of God to help in this part of His vineyard.

Brother Lim, truly, is a man of many “firsts.” This began even at his birth. He was born on May 4, 1934 in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, where he spent his early years.

As a young child, he has always felt Heavenly Father’s guidance and love for his family. He recalled an incident during the Japanese occupation when his father and younger brother were hunted by Japanese soldiers to do forced labor. His father hid in a forest of mangrove trees, barefoot. His little brother, on the other hand, hid himself in a small mound of coral on the beach.

  “It had to be the hand of the Lord which kept the soldiers from seeing them,” Brother Lim said.

Though difficult, he considered the war years as a great adventure. As a source of income, his mother set up a school where students gave her vegetables as payment. His father worked for the underground guerilla movement in the area. Through hard work, he finished his schooling and became a practicing lawyer in Manila where he met his wife.

 Sister Myrna Lim was born on February 19, 1936 and was raised by a very active Catholic family. She even prayed the rosary everyday. Her father was a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy and was forced to hide during the war years. Despite this, the family lived a comfortable life in Malabon.

She graduated with a degree in commerce and married Brother Lim on August 27, 2960 at Malate Catholic Church. They were a happy couple.

It was on 1964 when two young missionaries knocked on their door and introduced them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brother Lim was impressed by the missionaries so he kept inviting them back. Sister Lim would let them in as she did not want to appear rude, but would excuse herself afterwards.

“I learned about the Church when I was still a young man. I read about Mormon settlements in western novels which made me curious. Later on, I also read articles about George Romney in Newsweek and Time Magazine. Much was mentioned about his being a member of the Church,” Brother Lim recalled.

Brother Lim listened to more than one set of elders. He had so many questions and he kept investigating. After nine months, he thought that the missionaries were about to give up. He agreed to attend Sunday services and began to read the Book of Mormon.

“I began to read the Book of Mormon seriously in the same Spirit that Moroni advised us (to have). When I did that with the desire to know if it’s true—after a few lines—I was gaining a testimony,” he said.

 Sister Lim still would not listen until a new elder came and made a great impact on her. “His eyes were intense but very kind. I looked into his eyes and felt as though I was looking into the eyes of the Savior,” Sister Lim said.

In October 1964, Brother Lim was baptized. A month after that Sister Lim followed. Both have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel. Later on, they received their endowments and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.

As a new member, Brother Lim served as Financial Clerk in their Branch and in the District. He was later on called in various assignments and callings in the Church. He became a District Clerk and councilor in the District Presidency. He served as Branch President four times in four different branches. He was also the first Filipino to serve in a Mission Presidency when the first mission in the country, Manila Philippines Mission, was organized. He was  the first Stake President of the first Stake to be organized in the country, the Manila Philippines Stake. He was among the first Filipino Regional representatives and became the first Filipino Temple President. He was the first General Authority of the Church from the Philippines

Brother Lim helped in the construction of Buendia Chapel, the first Church standard chapel in the Philippines. During those years, he would be in his work clothes, hauling pails of mortar and cement. Sister Lim, as part of the Relief Society, helped in providing food for the workers. Brother Lim’s memories of the construction of Manila Philippines Temple were also very special.

During his service in the Church, he was ordained by prophets in various callings. This includes Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson. There were instances when he needed to sacrifice his career but this did not stop him from serving the Lord. “I am willing to serve Him full time and give up my profession,” he said.

Today, President and Sister Lim reside in Marinduque. They have eight children and all their sons served full-time missions. “We are happy and enjoying a peaceful life in our retirement. We have nothing more to ask for. We have been greatly blessed.” Brother Lim said.

Now that the Church in the Philippines is to celebrate its 50th year in 2011, Brother Lim expressed his joy and love for the Work. “We never expected the Church to grow this fast so soon. There were times when I thought we’re growing too fast,” he said.

As they look back on their lifetime of service, they could not help but feel an inexpressible joy. Currently, Brother Lim is serving as the Sta Cruz Marinduque District President of while Sis. Lim is a counselor in the Relief Society. They are members of Sta. Cruz Branch, Sta. Cruz District in Marinduque.

“If we are to live our lives again,” Brother Lim expressed, “we will follow the same path and I would be making the same decision in my life.”

 

By Gelene Tobias

 

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"The things we hope for lead us to faith, while the things we hope in lead us to charity."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf 
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Nov. 2008 Ensign
Topics: Hope