ELDER ZACH BAIRD: A Good Shepherd!
by Gil Camporazo
Elder Zach Baird, an American missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently completed his 2-year mission in the Philippines Bacolod Mission. La Carlota 1st Branch was his last area. Elder Baird has treasured moments to reckon with as a full-time missionary not only here, but also in some parts of the province of Negros Occidental where he was assigned..
As his missionary work comes to an end, Elder Baird begins to reminisce his life-changing experiences while in the vineyard of the Lord for a short period of time. He appreciated so much the examples, patience and love of the members who he came into contact with.
He’s in the field to fulfill as what King Benjamin taught in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah chapter 3, verse 20, that one day the knowledge of the Savior would come to every “nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” In so doing, he was so grateful for his Filipino brethren who had taught him a new language and culture. They had given him a new outlook on life and a new love for the Savior. “What a great blessing to have served here in the Philippines Bacolod Mission,” he proudly claimed.
Elder Baird enjoyed the camaraderie of his companions, who had taught him so much about the Lord who always gave him exactly what he needed. He was thankful with Elders Masoe (his big papa), Clark and Mcdonald in Toboso, Elders Leituala and Fuiava in Cauayan, Elders Garcia and Grimm (his baby boy) in Fabrica, Elder Ethington in Kabankalan, Elder Bacani (another baby boy) in Binalbagan, Elder Holt in Numancia, Aklan; and Elders Bishop and Estrella in La Carlota. He was perplexed how these men in ties survived their time with him! According to him, they were best companions, and they all played basketball with him. “They are all missionaries who serve as true Disciples of Christ,” he pointed out.
His point of coming on mission to the Philippines was to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was o lucky to have met those people. He wanted them to know how great it was that they laughed together, they cried together, and they learned together and cultivated memories that can never be forgotten. In tough times, he remembers those sweet moments when the Spirit of God has touched their hearts and carry them through and make them stronger.
He sealed his 2-year missionary work by his faith-promoting testimony. “God lives and He loves us! Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He is our redeemer, and through him we can return to our Father. He is our advocate with the Father, and because of him we can become clean. I know that God has again called a prophet in these days – Joseph Smith. He is the great prophet of this last dispensation. Today we have a living prophet President Gordon B. Hinckley. The gospel will continue to spread until Christ returns again. This is truly a marvelous and great cause,” he closed.
As a word of advice, Elder Baird has one last thought to share, that is, many trials and burdens seem to arrive into our lives everyday. If we just continue on the gospel plan, we will be blessed. In closing, he is reminded of a poem by Robert Frost, which says, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by... And that has made all the difference.”
Though my family and I had a short-lived acquaintance with you, but we do love you and be missing you. You’re a good shepherd indeed, Elder Baird! God bless you!