November 21, 2015
This is a story written by Keith. We love Elder Alejandro (first name)!
Elder Alejandro is going home this next week. He is a wonderful young man from Oaxaca, Mexico. He stands about 5’1”, very stout build, and radiates happiness.
About 8 months ago he asked for an interview with me, and walked into my office with tears in his eyes. He explained about his family. His Dad left them when Elder Alejandro was about 5 years old, leaving his mom to raise 3 little children, himself being the oldest.
He was raised pretty much in poverty. His Mom supported the family with a little “in home” business where she made corn tortillas and corn tortas, and sold them on the street. She and the kids worked together in pretty tough conditions to be able to survive.
They were members of the Church, and Elder Alejandro always wanted to serve a mission, so when he reached 18, he accepted a call from the Lord to serve in our mission.
He being gone became an extreme hardship on the family. His Mom heavily relied on his help to keep the family supported. With Elder Alejandro gone, the family slipped further and further into poverty and hopelessness.
That day, 8 months ago, Elder Alejandro told me that his mom had told him that she wrote to him, pleading for him to come home, and that she was deserting her family to move herself to Tijuana, Baja California to seek work. She was just going to leave town, leaving her young teenage children on their own, hoping that Elder Alejandro would leave his mission and come take care of his siblings. That meeting was on a Friday, and his Mom told him she was leaving on the following Tuesday.
Through his tears, he shared his deep desires to stay on a mission and fulfill his commitment to the Lord. “President”, he said with tears streaming down his face, “I love my family, they need me, but I want to be a missionary!!! I hugged him as he cried on my shoulder. What a struggle for a faithful young missionary, coming from hardship, working through the challenges of missionary life, and wanting to finish him mission where he was “called to serve.”
That day, we prayed together, I gave him a blessing, and we talked about the options. Going home was one of those options. He basically had the weekend to decide.
I contacted the Stake President who said he would contact his mom. He did, in fact. Sometimes the membership and ward support here in Mexico is quite not like it is in the USA. This Stake president and the Bishop decided to help family. His mom decided to stay.
Ward members began to help this poor, struggling family. Over time, the little family business was doing better, even flourishing.
Six weeks ago, we had a seminar for the Latino Elders on how to get jobs, choose colleges, do resumes, and to take advantage of the Church perpetual education program. Elder Alejandro was among them, and is very excited about his future.
End of story, Elder Alejandro is going home to study business, will expand his mom’s family business into a store, and plans to open some kind of a “chain”, at least opening a few more stores.
His “goodbye” interview as very touching and tearful, as he explained his appreciation of the Church, the Savior, and for the blessings of the gospel. He loved his mission, and I know he will not be returning to poverty!!!