News Story

Wellington Engineer Puts Career on Hold to Lead Missionaries in the Philippines

For the next three years, Michael and Raelinda Fermanis will lead, teach and love 200 Mormon missionaries in Manila, Philippines.


Mr. Fermanis has previously served in the Church as a bishop (leader of a congregation), a stake president (leader of several congregations), institute teacher (scripture class for young adults), and young missionary in Melbourne, Australia.

In his professional career he was regristrar of the Institute of Professional Engineers, New Zealand.

When asked about the reaction of his work associates when he announced his mission call, he said, “Some of them think I’m nuts!"

He added, "My boss, when I told him that I would be leaving, was very disappointed. And he said, ‘Why would you throw your career away like this?' 

"I replied, 'If it wasn’t true, it would be easy (to turn the call down), but it’s true, and so I have to do what’s right..' He understood.”

As parents of seven children, six boys and one girl, the couple feel very strongly about their family. They will be taking two of their seven children with them.

“We have a very close family," Mr. Fermanis says. “We meet every Sunday, all the children come together with the grandchildren and so the boys are pretty sad about leaving their brothers."

He continued, "Between the oldest and the youngest there are 16 years. But ... they just love each other to death. They enjoy playing sport together. And so they are really going to miss each other. None of them have had any concerns about leaving their friends. It’s about leaving their brothers, and their sister.”


When asked what his duties will be as a mission president, he said, “I’ve been told that I'm first a husband, then a father, then a mission president. 

"Since being called, I’ve had bits of revelation that have come and areas of focus.  There are 200 young men and women that I need to ensure that in 20, 30, 40 year’s time that they are still great members of the Church.”

With his life experiences he will be a lasting influence to those who will have the privilege to serve under his leadership.

Watch the video below to hear of examples of senior missionary service.


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