BETA

Missionary moments: `Beautiful message'

One morning a few years ago, a letter arrived at the Mexico Veracruz Mission office: "Could you have the missionaries visit us in the ranches . . . of Xoxocotla. I was baptized in Mexico City and when I arrived at my village I began to teach the Gospel of the Lord to my family. They were surprised because they had never listened to such a beautiful message, and they asked me to find someone to teach them more."

The letter, signed by Alejandro Perez de los Santos, included a P.S.: "Number of persons who want to know of the Gospel 30, of whom 10 want to be baptized as soon as possible."As the then-mission president, I read this letter in the next zone conference and asked who wanted to go to Xoxocotla. Every hand went up. But we could not find Xoxocotla on the map. The postal authorities didn't know. I answered the letter and told Brother Perez to tell us where Xoxocotla was and urged him to find the nearest Church unit to his village.

A month later in her weekly report, Sister Paula Corona wrote how exciting the week had been. Some people from Xoxocotla had visited her branch in Ciudad Mendoza. They had to ride the bus down from their mountain village 31/2 hours to arrive. After the meetings, she and her companion, Sister Guadencia Soriano, taught them the first two discussions. Sister Corona wanted permission to go to Xoxocotla, but it was too remote. The people would need to come to Ciudad Mendoza to attend Church anyway, so we decided to teach them there. Within a few weeks, five were baptized. Then four more. The group grew until there were 16 members, half of them adult men - potential Melchizedek Priesthood bearers. Pres. Ricardo Noriega of the Orizaba Mexico Stake took stake missionaries up to the village to help prepare the new members to organize a branch.

About a year later, I met Brother Perez for the first time at the Orizaba stake conference. After the conference, three more people from Xoxocotla were baptized. Brother Perez and four other men from the village were ordained elders. The foundation for a new unit of the Church had been formed.