Elder Michael John Teh was born to Martin and Norma Teh on June 25, 1965, in Davao City, Davao Del Sur, Philippines. The family remained in the town of his birth until he was twelve when they moved to the capitol city, Manila. But perhaps the Lord wanted him back in Davao, for when he received his mission call, that is where he was sent... to the Philippines Davao Mission.
Elder Teh was only 3 years old when his parents were baptized in Davao, and he said he sometimes took the Church for granted as he was growing up. He leaned on the testimonies of his parents, friends and bishops until developing his own strong testimony as a full-time missionary back in Davao.
Elder Teh said his calling as a full-time missionary in 1986 made all the difference in his mortal journey because it strengthened his testimony of the gospel. "My mission was a turning point in my life. It has been a wonderful blessing," he said. "I came to know my Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. I came to know that I could call on my Father in Heaven anytime and talk to Him. That has been a great source of comfort for me." He said that during his service as a young missionary, his love for the Lord, and his faith that he could call on Him at any time, were greatly strengthened.
Following his mission Elder Teh earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at De La Salle University in Manila.
Employed shortly after his mission as a mail clerk in the Philippines Area office, he got to know the members of the area presidency as he delivered mail to them and, as they treated him as a brother, found that they exemplified the Savior's teachings: "... whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:27). That example has stayed with him ever since.
A year-and-a-half later, his employment changed to the Area's Member and Statistical Records Division of the Church where he rose to be manager, dealt closely with stake presidents and bishops, and learned much of Church government. Elder Teh is grateful for opportunities to associate with Church leaders. He has served as bishop, stake president’s counselor, high councilor, and mission president’s counselor. At the time of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, he was serving as an Area Seventy and as Second Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency. For the four years prior to his call to the First Quorum, he worked as recorder for the Manila Philippines Temple.
It was in that same Temple that he married and was sealed for Time and All Eternity to Grace May Weedon on 16 December 1989. To date, the marriage has been blessed with three children.
Sister Teh, on the other hand, did not have the blessings of the Gospel as a child. She was a teenager when her father invited the missionaries to come to their home. He didn't listen to them, but the rest of the family did. Sister Teh said that the first time they accepted the invitation to attend Church, they only had jeans to wear, so her mother took some of their clothes and sewed skirts for the girls. They had trouble finding the meetinghouse and when they finally arrived, Sister Teh said she told her mother that they should just keep walking. She said that her mother always listened to her and usually did what she wanted, and she was surprised when her mother went into the meetinghouse. Later, her mother said she never heard her daughter's suggestion that they keep walking.
"I am grateful for those little things Heavenly Father did just so He could lead us to the Church," Sister Teh said.
When a missionary interviewed her for baptism and asked Sister Teh how she felt about the Church, she recalls answering, "Well, I feel like an empty glass being filled each time I come to Church, each time I read the scriptures." She continued, "I guess that's how I've been feeling ever since."
When Sister Teh's father saw his family attending more and more Church activities, he balked at letting them go, she said, and didn't like other members coming around the house. But, she said, he didn't object to young Michael Teh, who had attended the family's baptism in his ward, and would let him come by to take them to activities. The young man was glad for that, because he had a crush on Grace Weedon, he said.
After her family moved to another ward in Manila, they rarely saw each other. Sister Teh's family eventually moved to Great Britain and she accompanied them. But she said that after a couple of months, she had a dream "where I envisioned Heavenly Father looking at all His creation and saying, 'What are you doing over there? You're not supposed to be there.' So I just came home by myself."
She lived with roommates in a boardinghouse.
Then on the day Elder Teh went to the temple to receive his endowment before his mission, he saw the future Sister Teh there and discovered she was going on a mission as well. Two missions covered the Metro Manila area at the time. She was called to serve in the Philippines Manila Mission, while he served in the Philippines Davao Mission.
When Elder Teh returned home from his mission, he called his future wife and asked her how she was doing. "And that was it," he said. "I never spoke with her again until six months later. That's the amount of time it took me to be brave enough to ask her out."
They were married several months later in the Manila Philippines Temple.
Elder Teh said those who face crossroads in their lives need a testimony, which will help them stay on the right path. “Our Father in Heaven will reveal the truth to you as you prayerfully seek to find your own testimony,” he said. “What a sweet feeling it is to know for yourself and to be able to confidently testify of the truth.”
While Elder Teh turned from his pre-mission interest in architecture to full-time employment with the Church, Sister Teh received an opportunity from her former mission president, E. William Jackson, to serve as executive director of the Mabuhay Deseret Foundation which he established to help underprivileged Filipinos receive medical care for conditions such as cleft lip or palate, club foot or eye problems.
After he was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy during April general conference, Elder Michael J. Teh reflected back on his life's course and the guidance he has received and said with a smile, "I'd like to believe I'm not an accident."