I live in Peru, a very marvelous country. Being a member of the Church is a blessing in my life and that of my family. I am the eldest of five siblings. As with Nephi, I say that I come from goodly parents.
My father was a merchant with great aspirations to get ahead, but he did not imagine that the economic changes would bring him to ruin and, with that, our dreams of getting ahead now looked much further off. Life became very difficult, but our gladness and love for life vibrated in our souls and hearts. The years passed by and I finished my secondary studies at a state school.
My father worked very hard, but it was not enough to be able to carry out studies in higher education. I had always thought of studying, to be able to give support to my family so they could be prosperous. My grades at school were very good and I always participated in the inter-school competitions — I was not lacking in capacity or desires — but the elevated costs of the institutes closed off possibilities for me.
I knew that the only way to help my family was by studying, so I worked hard and I applied to the Perpetual Education Fund and other scholarships. I qualified. I was able to study with peace of mind about the financial aspect. My class times were in the afternoon, from 3 to 9 p.m. I would leave my house at 6 a.m. to go to work; I would return home at 11 p.m.
On Saturdays, I provided in-home private English classes to the children of my father's friends, as well as teaching mathematics and language. I said yes to everything to cover part of my travel and study costs. I strove to magnify the callings I had in the Church. My mother gave me the courage I had lacked. Her trust and assurance about me were the essence to lift me up when tiredness looked like it was going to overcome me. I finished my program.
In work, I started at a project company where I worked hard and continued to progress and after they evaluated my performance, they invited me to work with them. I was able to negotiate my salary and my days off, which I had learned at the self-reliance workshop. ... Now I work with a mining group. I have Saturdays and Sundays off. I have right to full benefits.
I am thankful to the Perpetual Education Fund — it was a great miracle in my life.
I believe I am blessing the lives of other Church members with whom I have been able to share my testimony wherever I go. I share my testimony and I encourage the members to continue on with higher education; as President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Education is the key to opportunity." — Mariela Quispe, Lima, Peru