This afternoon in the temple, I met Juan Carlos Escobar and his wife Romy. In the course of a conversation with him, he mentioned David Knowlton. Elder Knowlton was my second companion, and what he taught me really changed the course of my mission, I believe.
My first companion was a hard worker, but we seldom agreed on the best way to accomplish the work. I was green, and didn’t have enough experience to know how to best influence our working relationship, and got discouraged with some of his ideas and methods of doing the work. When he left, I was discouraged, since I really did want to love these people, and find the ones who were honestly seeking the gospel, but hadn’t felt like I had accomplished much, yet.
Then Elder Knowlton came. He loved the Bolivian people without condition. And, they could feel it. I'd heard the saying, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care", and Elder Knowlton demonstrated the wisdom of that in his every action. He didn't try to prove anything to them, he just loved them, and they knew it. They invited us into their homes, and we had success. It was as if the direction, feel, etc. of my mission changed 180 degrees.
|Elder Salisbury (left) and Elder Knowlton in Santa Cruz, 1975.|
Later, especially when I served in Punata, I saw the effects in my life and in the lives of others exactly what it meant to love people unconditionally. And I've been blessed throughout my life because of that few months with Elder Knowlton.
So, the Escobars know Dave, and he visits them whenever he comes to Bolivia. They are like family to him. They live in La Paz. I'm still not sure how they came to know him - we'll figure that out over time, I suspect, but here, again, I have been given a sweet experience connecting me with important people from my past.
Thursday 12 November 2015
President Jensen challenged us to meditate and think about what it means to "Come unto Christ", and how the temple and the work done here contributes to that. Molly and I stayed after and visited in the Celestial Room for a few minutes and talked about it.
When I think of "coming" to something, I always think about how sweet it is to come home to my family. I also remember clearly, that the most memorable feeling I had when I received my endowments was one of coming home. Everything felt natural, and I felt like I had been there and heard those things before. Some of that could be attributed to good training in my home, but the overall feeling was so sweet and natural that I've never forgotten it.
So, coming to Christ and coming to the temple, which is His home, and coming home to family and loved ones all have common feelings for me. The ordinances and covenants of the temple are all necessary for us to fully benefit from the Atonement, through the salvation and exaltation that that provides us. Coming to Christ, then, involves learning of Him, sometimes requiring the changing of our hearts, and of our making sacred covenants to bring to pass His work. If we have truly done that, then “Coming to Him” will feel as sweet as any “coming home” has ever felt.
Sunday 15 November 2015
We went to the home of Hno. Reynaldo and Hna. Yolanda Salazar for lunch with three of the other missionary couples here. Both of them work at the temple - he is a sealer.
Hna. Salazar had prepared a very nice lunch of papas rellenas, rice with corn and gravy, chicken, and llajua - a Bolivian salsa that is very good. For drinks, she had prepared maracuya (passionfruit?), and mocochinchi - a drink with a dried peach in the bottom of your glass. It was really nice.
|Front Row: Alan and Sally Chalmers, Reynaldo and Yolanda Salazar, Sherry and Tim Parker.|
Back Row: Molly and Charles Lyon, Karen and Don Runquist.
After we ate, Hno. Salazar asked me to look for the missionaries that baptized their family - David Farnsworth, and Ernest Richter. It’s difficult, after 40 years, to locate many of these former missionaries, but the families they taught and whose lives they touched are eternally grateful. The Salazars have four children whose lives and families have also been influenced for the good by their membership in the church with missions and service in their wards.
Just for added flavor, here's a picture Brother Jim Calder took of some local Bolivians. This is the more native dress style we frequently see.: