[September 6, 2015] Sunday
Today, due to the "Día de Peatones y Bicicletas en Defensa de la Madre Tierra" (see our other blog post for this week), we just stayed here at the hospedaje and had our Fast and Testimony meeting and Sunday School with the other missionaries and President and Sister Jensen.
One of the Hermanas who bore her testimony was so humble and sincere. Her feelings, expressed in her testimony, reminded me so powerfully of one of the reasons I so deeply love these people.
The Paredes are a couple from La Paz who are here serving in the Temple until the end of this year. We have had dinner with them, and Family Home Evenings, and I work alongside Hno. Paredes in the Temple every day, but I really hadn't had an opportunity to get to know Hna. Paredes until earlier this week. She is very quiet and humble, and says very little, but one day I was working at the Recommend Desk when things were pretty slow. She was serving at what is called "Silla Uno", or Chair One. There is always an Hermana serving there to guide patrons as they enter, to help them make sure they know how to get to their area of service in the Temple.
Since things were slow, we started talking. She told me about her family and their conversion to the Church. It happened in La Paz in 1986. She remembered the missionaries names, and asked me if I could help locate them. She was so grateful, and wanted to communicate with them again.
She was baptized first, along with her children, except for the oldest. He left for Brazil shortly afterward, and still lives there. Her younger son was baptized, and now lives in Brazil with his wife, who he met there and married in the temple there. He visits his older brother from time to time, but the older brother has never joined the church. Her younger two daughters were baptized as well, and live in La Paz with their families.
Her husband joined the church some three months later.
Both of her sons in Brazil have two children - the older one has fraternal twins, and she has been able to visit them there. You could just see the joy and love in her eyes as she described them. She told me that her older son is such a good man, and is married to a good woman.
She also told me about her younger son, and her daughters and grandchildren. It was so enjoyable to listen to her, just as with any proud and loving grandmother.
On Sunday, she got up to bear her testimony, and further touched my heart with her humility and sincerity. As she talked, she told us how, after her family was baptized and the temple was built, she had such a great desire to serve in the temple. She expressed that she felt that she would be so blessed to just be able to serve here if she could help plant the flowers, or work in the cafeteria, or in the laundry. With tears in her eyes, she expressed how much the temple meant to her.
Then, when she was called to work here, and found that she would be asked to serve helping the members who came here, and that it would require that she memorize and be able to help the patrons personally, she was afraid she wouldn't be able to learn and remember everything. But, she has, and does, and is so loved by everyone that works with her.
To see her humble desire to help in the simplest ways was so touching to me. I had to reflect carefully about my own desires and humility. And my commitment to serve in whatever way, place, or time God calls me. To see her completely without pride or guile so deeply touched my heart.
As it was touched so many times forty years ago.
I look forward to more of these tender, sweet, powerful times where testimony is borne and I get to know these sweet, dear people heart to heart and spirit to spirit.