When Clint Robertson was still a teenage boy, he traveled to serve the people of Davao, Philippines on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The boy he was then had no way of knowing what the impact of those years of service would have for the remainder of his life, or how years later he would be drawn back to the people of the Philippines and one Filipina woman.
When Jessica Sangalang Domingo was 14-years-old, her mother left her family one day never to return. Leaving her husband and Jessica to look after her three younger siblings.
Six years later, when Jessica was only 20, her father passed away, leaving the full time responsibility of raising her younger siblings to a young and inexperienced Jessica. Jessica worked for the Department of Health to provide for the necessities of the home.
It was during a time in Jessica’s life when she was searching for the answers to so many questions which seemed to follow her, that, through a friend, Jessica was led to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to the LDS missionaries, which was when Clint Robertson, known as Elder Robertson at the time, was introduced to Jessica Sangalang Domingo all those years ago.
Jessica recalls, “Elder Robertson was a great missionary with a big heart. I know him for his kindness, for being humble and friendly. He loves children, he loves the people around him, and they love him too.”
Clint would return home later to Springville, leaving the Philippines behind, but his love for the country and the people would never leave him.
Clint and my husband met serving in Davao, and he has been part of our family since it was first created. For 13 years we lived only a few houses apart, on the same block in Nephi. Our children have grown up together and have remained close friends.
We share memories often of the exciting things they have done with the Robertson family, from trips in the RV to building a playhouse in our backyard. My children talk of Clint’s many shenanigans, like letting a goose loose in our house or the many, many hummingbirds he would catch only to transplant into our kitchen.
But of the things they love most about Clint is his big heart and the unending acts of service he is always giving. So when my oldest son told me of Clint’s Kitchen Davao, I knew the world needed to know of the good which was being done even in a time of unrest and uncertainty of COVID-19.
Jessica would spend the next 27 years of her life after meeting Clint laboring to provide for her siblings and then eventually her own family. She continued to work hard, helping her brother-in-law in his catering business and then, when he retired, opening that small business in her home, selling meals and pastries to neighbors and friends out of her small unequipped kitchen which had none of the modern conveniences that we in America know, like a refrigerator or even an oven.
When Jessica’s son grew up and was called to serve a mission for the LDS church, Jessica searched for Clint on Facebook, finding him and sharing with him her gratitude for the example he set in her life. She told him of her efforts in service and sharing the love of God with those around her and of the blessings which had come to her life after she had been blessed by his good example all of those years ago.
Of course to those who know Clint Robertson and know of the service which he and his company CR Doors & Moldings in Springville strive to do in their community it will come as no surprise that after reconnecting with Jessica and hearing of her acts of services and listening to the gratitude and joy she expressed, Clint knew that he and his company CR Doors & Moldings needed to make a difference in Jessica’s life and in her community in Davao, Philippines.
More than a month ago CR Doors & Moldings was able to provide Jessica with everything a modern kitchen and a modern catering company would need, like a refrigeration unit and double ovens, to not only provide service but thrive in a time of COVID-19 and economic instability.
Jessica renamed her business to Clint’s Kitchen Davao and when asked by friends and family why she changed the name Jessica says, “I named it to the man who has a big heart and who sees the good in others.”
Jessica uses Clint’s Kitchen to provide for her family and to give back to those around her. In the last several weeks Jessica has provided free meals and necessities to five orphanages, two homes for the aged and front-liners working during COVID-19 in the Davao area of the Philippines. She says that after the charity which Clint and CR Doors & Molding did for her and has helped her to give to her community she named her business in honor of the man who has been an inspiration to her and the people around her.
When I thanked Clint for the opportunity of sharing his and Jessica’s story and for connecting me with Jessica, Clint’s reply was, “It’s a perfect example of when they say you can find joy in serving others.”
If you wish to give to Jessica’s charitable work in Davao you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/clintskitchendavao. (Gibson is a Serve Daily contributor.)