ASUNCION, Paraguay Guillermo Riveros was working at his law office in downtown Asuncion in 1975 when his father arrived, unannounced.
The visit caught the young attorney by surprise. It had been some time since Guillermo had seen his mother or father. Months earlier Guillermo had joined the Church, prompting his parents to cut off all contact with their son. He was forbidden to visit the home he grew up in.
"My parents were angry and opposed to my baptism," he said. "I was 27 at the time, but it still hurt."
When Brother Riveros saw his father standing humbly in his office it was clear their hearts had softened.
"My dad told me, 'My son, you need to return to your home,' " recalled Brother Riveros, who has since spent nearly three decades helping to build the Church in his South American country.
Overjoyed by the reconciliation, Brother Riveros rushed to his boyhood home where his mother embraced him at the door.
The temporary separation from his parents reflects the many sacrifices Brother Riveros and many of his fellow Paraguayan members endured when the Church was still young in Asuncion. The capital city's law community was not always supportive of an LDS colleague, yet Brother Riveros pressed forward.
His devotion was forged in 1975 when a pair of sister missionaries began teaching him the gospel. The Book of Mormon both fascinated and touched him and he accepted an invitation to join the Church. Brother Riveros soon gained an appreciation for Sunday worship, a day he'd long spent resting from his professional duties.
"It was not easy for me to get up early in the mornings on Sunday to go to Church, especially when we had to go twice a day," he said. "We had to walk three kilometers to Church and back, [two round-trips] a day."
He was called to be a teacher and leadership assignments followed.
His testimony was strengthened in 1979 when he and four fellow bishops traveled to Provo, Utah, to receive their temple endowments. A short time later he was called to preside over Paraguay's second stake.
Although the young leader presided over a stake that spread across many miles, he and his fellow presidency members worked hard to establish seminary programs close to the homes of the stake's youth.
"Now we can see the results because more young people are serving missions," he said.
The work continues for Brother Riveros. When not teaching at Paraguay's Uninorte University, he fulfills assignments in the newly dedicated Asuncion Paraguay Temple.
E-mail: [email protected]