Alma 56:47-48 …yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be who I am today if not for the love and faith of my dear mother. But I cannot begin to expound on the man without shedding light on the woman who raised him. In a nutshell, my mother, who was born in Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas, was converted and baptized into the church as a teenager and soon after decided to serve a mission. She was assigned to Mexico and served faithfully for one and a half years. Thereafter, she met and married my father who was stationed at Fort Bliss and the rest is history.
For as long as I can remember, my mother diligently made sure we were all ready for church every Sunday, prepared family home evening lessons every Monday, gathered us all every night for a family prayer before bed, and so on. She truly was the glue that kept us actively engaged in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will never forget the stories that she taught us from the Old Testament and also her experiences serving her mission. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to serve a mission, too. There was never a time that my mother did not inspire me. She seldom had free time, but I do remember that whatever free time she had, she spent reading the scriptures.
I also have memories of my family driving over the Rio Grande to Ciudad Juarez to see the sites, shop and just get away for a day. It is a very short drive out of my old neighborhood, down the border highway and across a bridge. It was a much different world back then. It boggles my mind that this Mexican City was dubbed the “Murder Capital of the World.” Interestingly enough, the crime and drug wars all began about the time I left El Paso to serve a mission in Germany for two years and thereafter make a home in Utah. I was sickened over the years to watch on the news of just how bad it really became there. And yet, despite all of this, a temple was built, dedicated and is in full use to this day. Many, if not most members in El Paso do not attend the temple there. Instead, they occasionally schedule bus trips to the next closest temple in Albuquerque, New Mexico for fear of their lives. Not my mom.
Despite the abhorrent crimes committed by drug lords and criminals, my mother has faithfully attended one ore two sessions per month since the temple opened. She told me that another member was driving home not too long ago from the temple and could hear bullets whizzing past his car. But why does my mother continue to go despite the mortal danger? She was promised that if she went straight to the temple and straight back home without deviating to tour, shop, etc, she would be unharmed. And so for the last decade she has carpooled with another sister who is a temple worker there. She tells me these stories and her trips like it’s not a big deal. This is the moral fiber of my mother. This is the woman who was my rock during my childhood. This is the unwavering faith of a daughter of God.
Pictured below: Teotihuacan, Christmas 1970, fifteen months old