- How do you compare your feelings upon receiving a call as a missionary to being called to be the president of the same mission in which you served as a missionary?
I must confess that the emotions and feelings of gratitude about being considered worthy to represent the Lord in such an honorable and sacred calling are of equal intensity, I feel the same emotions as I felt at the time I received my firs call to serve the Lord, to feel the love of a prophet of the Lord who signed that holy and sacred calling, it's something indescribable, in reality I felt it as something so personal and even now I keep that letter as something significant and special in my life, that letter made me remember day after day the commitment I had made to the Lord upon accepting the calling of being his disciple, his faithful servant, and to not cheat him.
However, the maturity and the miracles that my mission brought to pass in my life in the time that has passed so quickly since then make me see things in another dimension and perspective, of course not one day passes that I don't think and comment on how sacred and important was that marvelous period of my life, the influence, the example and love that I recieved from my mission president RichardAllred, who exemplified such a commitment; it will be a high honor for me and for my beloved wife to be able to imitate them, and continue striving to obey his loving advice.
I feel that being in his place now, and being an instrument in the hands of the Lord to edify, strengthen, and help his work and his missionaries grow, today represent for me the miracle and the opportunity to repay, overcome, and take advantage of the experiences of the past to improve, to take on the responsibility that will be required to lift and strengthen spiritually each missionary and in the manner that I learned to do so from my mission president, in reality he and his wife have been for me a living example and will always be in my heart, I will be eternally grateful for the things that with so much love and energy they taught us in order to achieve miracles in our missions.
Along with my adored wife, we feel very committed to offering our whole lives in the service of this holy calling, to being loyal and faithful to our general authorities, to follow their advice in order to reach the success that the Lord expects of us.
It is in reality incredible that the Lord in his designs has anticipated for us a dream that we always desired to fulfill, my adored wife and I, we promised each other and commited ourselves to, upon satisfying our responsibilities towards each of our children, we would apply as a couple to serve a misison in that beautiful place, I always would comment how much necessity existed to help those beautiful people and the great necessity to contribute to edifying the Church in those lovely communities, those same sentiments constantly made me feel a genuine interest and commitment to return there, and thinking and knowing that we would be able to do it together, my adored and beloved wife as my companion, goes beyond the limits of my emotions and my joy, what a beautiful privilege it is to see those desired dreams come to pass.
I have always had the privilege of having her at my side with every assignment and calling that I have received from the Lord, I have always been able to feel her love and support in all things, she is truly a marvelous woman, with extraordinary talents and abilities, mother of four beautiful children, we feel such joy knowing that now we will share together as a couple that beautiful desire to serve as missionaries.
In reality it was very exciting and we were incredibly surprised when we received our calling, knowing that the Lord was assigning us to return again to the same place where I had had the privilege of serving, and even more so, under such special circumstances, it was in reality an indescribable emotion, we never imagined it would be this way, what a blessing, what a privilege the Lord is giving us now to be able to serve him and be again at his service to be able to support his work in that lovely place.
We feel so much love and esteem for each of the missionaries without knowing them personally, we want them to know that we will do our utmost best to help them in their strengthening and sanctification, we will put forth our best effort to help them to strengthen their character and we promise them that the blessings and promises of the Lord will be theirs, to the extent that they are worthy and faithful, and that they put for the effort to obey the Lord in all that He commands them, we know that all they can obtain and the promised success they can reach will depend on that, the future of their lives will depend on the genuine interest they show in keeping themselves worthy and working hard, we testify with all the love and power we possess that the more they work during this important and crucial period in their lives, to serve our God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to be willing to offer their whole lives in this praiseworthy service, the same each of their efforts will be compensated in their future lives.
- The majority of missionaries who visit our web site are from the era that follows the time of your missionary service. Please describe for them what it was like to serve as a missionary between 1980 and 1982.
It really was a very difficult time for President Allred and his missionaries to be able to reach and accomplish the goals that the Lord expected from our mission, it was truly a serious commitment, politically our country was passing through a difficult time with the subversives, and geographically the limits of our mission made us be in the areas of greatest conflict, we were constantly affected by it with respect to our schedules, even the mission president found himself obligated to temporarily close some areas because of the villages where the subversives tended to emerge to fight, however, it was incredible to see the faith and strength that our mission president gave to us, every moment we received, by his example, the support and courage needed to overcome each of these adversities, I remember that I was a zone leader in the area of Solola and Quiche, and we had to confront that difficult situation more than once.
The majority of the areas where I was assigned to teach didn't have electricity, we used kerosene lamps, there wasn't running water in the communities and we had to make arrangements to bathe, we made our food, washed and ironed our clothing with carbon irons (?), in reality we learned much about valuing and appreciating life, with everything with which the Lord blesses us day by day, however today, and thanks to the plans of the Lord, the peace agreements in our country have permitted us to break up the rebel armed forces, we have much more peaceful and developed communities, in the sense that there are more roads, electricity, running water, and other small accomplisments that have made it possible to teach more freely and have a more comfortable, easy life, although there is still very, very much to do and with which to help.
- What is the primary goal that you would like to achieve during your time as president of our mission?
That each missionary will be able to feel and sense personally the pure love of Christ in their hearts, that they can experience the peace, the joy, and the effects and transformation that make possible that miracle that comes from serving and representing the Lord as his disciples to make possible the edification of his kingdom upon the earth, that they will feel that they will be participants in the bringing to pass the fulfillment of the promises made by the Lord to the Lamanties, that they would blossom as the rose (?), and how this will make possible the strengthening of their faith and their testimony, not only in their lives, but also in the lives of those whom they may teach.
The growth and strengthening of their testimonies with respect to the truth of the Book of Mormon and the fulness of the Gospel while contemplating before their very eyes how the Lord keeps his promises, it will be something so gratifying and moving that they will never in their lives be able to forget it.
We will work intensely to help them to comprehend that through their worthiness and their purification they will be able to recognize the divinity of these beautiful truths, that it will be the only way that they will be able to develop and absolute and genuine love for God, his Gospel, and the people whom they are called to serve, teach, and baptize, this very thing will make it possible for them to perceive the emotion that will run through their veins, upon seeing the miracles and the changes in the lives of the people as they accept the sacred covenants of the Lord, offer their broken hearts and contrite spirits willing to repent and enter the waters of baptism.
They will recognize that through living a worthy life, and fully living the commandments of God, they will develop in their lives a genuine desire to do whatsoever thing the Lord commands, they will not put their own comfort before that of the people they are called to serve, love, and care for.
We will help them to value the love that our beloved Heavenly Father has for them and how much the Lord has blessed them through what they have and possess, for their dear parents that love them and support them, their brothers and sisters and each of the people that surround them, that they will be able to appreciate and value the comforts that the Lord has allowed them to enjoy in this life, and the necessity and constant efforts they must have for their personal preparation and improvement.
That they will comprehend that as much as they serve the Lord with all the energy of their hearts, forgetting themselves in order to serve and love their fellow men, no matter their condition, there will not be one righteous desire that the Lord won't grant them, they will make possible the promises and blessings that have been promised them if they are faithful, loyal, and worthy to receive them.
- What was the funniest moment you remember from your mission?
It was my first day in the mission field, I remember that I had recently arrived at my first area, after a long bus trip over rough terrain and in the middle of the night, when we finally arrived at a village called San Bartolo Aguas Calientes, we got home and everything was dark, there were other missionaries waiting for us in order to have our district meeting, everyone was talking in the Quiche language and English, I felt confused and I noticed how they enjoyed seeing my frightened expression and my confused looks from understanding absolutely nothing, they lit the Coleman kerosene lamp and had the meeting, they made a pot of pasta with nothing more than salt and butter, it was really one of the nastiest things I had ever eaten, we all ate, without knowing that later it would become our favorite dish and part of our daily diet, ,fortunately one of the elders was a good cook and I learned much from him, especially how to cook pasta in many different ways, later we went to some hot springs that came down from the mountains in order to bathe, they commented that we were only able to do so once or twice a week.
I remember that I arrived very sweaty and dusty, they got ready and comfortably got right in the hot springs that were more or less two feet deep, I remember that they submerged themselves and went completely under the water, I could see that they were enjoying that experience, however I could also see on their faces that they were anxious for me to experience that sensation too, everyone was looking at me and were noisily telling me to do it too, they laughed to see that there was no where for me to get changed and leave my things, they were really very practical, something that was difficult for me to take in, finally I decided to follow their example and get in the pool, just as they had done, I remember that as I stuck my foot in the water, I had to take it out immediately, the water was boiling hot, my companions began to laugh themselves sick, and I, with my burned and totally red foot, just had to deal with it, I remember that that day I had to borrow a container to take the water out of the springs to cool it down until I could stand it and bathe myself outside the pool, really that day seemed to last forever, until little by little I got used to it and managed to overcome the temperature of the waters of the hot springs without any trouble.
- What was the most spiritual moment that you remember from your mission?
It is difficult for me to respond in so few lines the many experiences I had throughout my mission, however I must confess that every time we had a baptism it was for me most sacred and emotional, the experiences of our zone meetings and the visits we received eventually from Elder Richard G. Scott were really indescribable and edifying.
I remember vividly the privilege that I had of teaching and baptizing, along with my companion, my first family in an area called Choqui, a neighborhood that is part of San Bartolo Aguas Calientes, in Momostenango-Totonicapan, with my second companion we baptized two other married couples, the children of the first members along with their spouses-in order to attend church they had to go to a prefabricated chapel that was in Nimsituj, two big hills away from that community, they had to climb up and down to reach their church meetings, in reality it took them hours on foot to arrive at the chapel, it was beautiful to see the faith and devotion of those people to seeking the Lord, their willingness to attend meetings and participate in the Sacrament, it was really moving and utterly spiritual, however, thanks to the faith and devotion of these first members, now they have a chapel of their own in the mountains and I have been able to see how it keeps growing.
I also had the privilege with my companions of baptizing the first members of the Nahuala Branch, that belongs in the Momostenango Zone, because of being of the Quiche dialect, today the majority of those members have stayed faithful and have a formal chapel in which to meet, there are two units there and there is nothing more joyous for a returned missionary than to see how the Lord has blessed the lives of those people, to observe the growth of those units of the church through good leaders, missionaries, and members thta have arrived to strengthen them.
Another incredibly spiritual experience was the day before I finished my mission, on the shore of Lake Atitlan we baptized a family of 7 people, strong, honorable, and recognized in the community of Santiago Atitlan, 4 of the 5 children went on missions and all five have been sealed in the temple of the Lord, just like their parents.
In reality it is very difficult to leave unmentioned so many other beautiful spiritual experiences that happened in my life during that time, but it is sufficient to say that it has been the most sacred and important period of my life, I testify to you with all the energy of my heart that there exists no way for me to express and explain what that time will mean for a missionary, thatks to that praiseworthy service I consider myself today a fortunate husband and father, I am immensely happy and I am so grateful that the Lord considered me worthy to serve him and to be counted to testify and teach his beautiful truths.
- In light of the progress the Church has made in Quetzaltenango and the surrounding area, what roles do you think the missionaries will have there today in comparison to the time in which you served there?
Missionary work in the Church is exponential, I believe that each day we have more responsibility and commitment to help the church grow and take larger steps in the work of the Lord, there are many things to do and the time gets shorter with each day, I can perceive and sense that with every day that passes God manifests his desire to accelerate the pace and accomplish the fulfillment of his promises, the missionaries must feel how much responsibility the Lord has placed upon them and upon us to make possible the miracle of growth and the promises of the Lord in those communities.
- What would you tell the returned missionaries from our mission? What would you say to those who are serving now?
To the past missionaries, it is my greatest desire that the blessings of the Lord have compensated them for that extraordinary work that they accomplished while they served as disciples and missionaries of Christ, worthily representing his Church, and that during this time they are enjoying the blessings and promises of the Lord, certainly I know that the progress each of them has experienced has been the fruit and result of the good work during those marvelous years, of their perseverance and faithfulness.
I would exhort them to continue firm and dedicated in complying with each of their responsibilities, to attend to and care for their family and Church obligations, to continue enjoying the beautiful blessings that each of them can receive freely as their faithfulness in applying the principles and teachings of the Gospel are a daily commitment in their lives.
To the missionaries that are currently serving, I testify to them that there will be no time more beautiful and irreplaceable than during this lovely time in their lives, that according to the manner in which they serve and are dedicated and willing to be consumed righteously in this praiseworthy service of preaching repentance, and to bring to the waters of baptism the people of the communities where they serve, a life full of honor and blessing will await them, they can't imagine the joy and happiness that these events brought and have caused in my life, I feel profoundly grateful to the Lord for permitting me day by day to enjoy the results of the promises the Lord made to me, I have been highly favored with immense blessings, especially with the beautiful, faithful, and dedicated wife he gave me and the marvelous children that he has entrusted to us, we are a very happy family and we enjoy each day of our lives.