Friday, January 2, 2009

Visiting a Man I Baptized 43 Years Ago

Words can't describe the joy I felt today as Beverly and I visited Blas Alvarez, a man I baptized 43 years ago. We took a taxi to San Martín de Porras (a suburb of Lima). I was one of the first missionaries in that area. This picture taken in 1965, shows me with Blas (on the left) and his family.


Through miracles that I won't describe here, this family accepted the gospel, and I had the great blessing of baptizing them. Sister Felícita Alvarez (in the middle of the picture), was one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the church (I do not exaggerate; please read Alma 26:1, 4, 11-12, 22). She was instrumental in directly bringing more than 1,000 people into the Church and indirectly in bringing in untold others.

Sister Alvarez died of cancer in 1981, but Blas, age 82, still lives in the very house where my companion and I taught him the gospel, and he is still active in the church today. Amazingly he remembered my name and that of my companion (Elder Vance Dunn). Here's how he and I look today, January 2, 2008.


To my astonishment, when Brother Alvarez showed us his photo album, we found this page---containing a picture of Beverly and me (ages 24) and our year-old son Stephen, and a picture of me when I was 8 years old that I had sent to Brother and Sister Alvarez! Also in the album there was a picture of me as a missionary, along with dozens of other missionaries with whom Brother and Sister Alvarez worked between 1965 and 1981.


After a long and wonderful afternoon of conversation, Brother Alvarez bid us farewell. We are going back on Sunday to meet his son Blas, Jr.

8 comments:

Andrea said...

Wow! This is amazing. I am sure you have not written all the amazing details on this public blog, but someday, when you are home, I'd like to hear more about this wonderful story.

bird on the lawn said...

I just burst into tears....That is true joy!

Lisa S said...

What an awesome legacy. I have kept in touch with my last convert. She was baptized 25 years ago. Her husband has been Bishop and is now the Stake president where they live. Last August I attended her oldest daughter's wedding in the Orlando temple. This May the younger daughter gets married there too. Their son goes on his mission late spring this year. Fulltime missionary work is awesome!!! Keep up the geat work!

McFrosty said...

That is incredible. I'm with Andrea, I'd love to hear all the details on their conversion, what they did in the meantime, and what you talked about when you met him again.

Sharon and Lin said...

Tears of joy for sure! What a blessing to make contact after all these years. Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures.

Just amazing!

The Len Harris Family said...

I think we just never know the effect we have on the lives of people we meet. What a wonderful story, and a unique and special experience. I wish every missionary could have such an experience.

Tiffany Nuga said...

Absolutely remarkable! Thank you for sharing these beautiful experiences!

Missy said...

Wow! That is an incredible story. I am so happy that Andrea keeps us posted on you both. What neat people you are. Keep up the good work!