“Miriam Giron: Still a Missionary in Guatemala,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, 59–60
Missionary work meant so much to Miriam Giron that she couldn’t give it up, even when tragedy struck while she was in the mission field. Nor could she give it up when her mission was over and she went home to Guatemala City.
That is why, during spare time away from her teaching job and Church callings, she can often be found working with the lady missionaries in her area.
Her love for missionary work is not surprising. After all, it was through the influence of missionary-minded members that she found the gospel. And the example of the lady missionaries with whom she worked before and after baptism helped her decide that she wanted to serve a full-time mission of her own.
“I feel very grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to have known his Church,” she says.
Miriam Judith Giron was introduced to the gospel when a coworker of her sister invited the two of them to a missionary open house. Miriam filled out a referral card there, saying she wanted to learn more about the Church.
It wasn’t long until two lady missionaries called at her home. Miriam was impressed with their discussion of Joseph Smith and the need for a modern prophet. And when she read the Book of Mormon and prayed sincerely about it, she felt an assurance that it was true.
She was baptized in October of 1979, followed shortly afterward by her mother and two sisters.
When Sister Giron’s bishop first raised the subject of a mission, she was uncertain whether she wanted to go. But in 1982 she accepted a call to the San Jose Costa Rica Mission. Friends in her ward Young Adult Sunday School class sadly told her things would not be the same without her while she was gone; vivacious Miriam lent extra sparkle to Young Adult activities. But she replied that “the Lord needs me somewhere else for now.”
She served twelve months in Panama, and then was transferred to Costa Rica.
One day, as she was leaving her apartment for a meeting, her shoe caught on the stairs and she fell. It was obvious when she could not stand that her injury was more than minor. It turned out to be a broken ankle, and she was told she must curtail her activities for several weeks. That was discouraging; Sister Giron could feel her remaining time as a missionary slipping away.
Late the following day, when other missionaries told her the mission president was coming to see her, she feared he was going to talk to her about going home early. But the news he bore struck much more deeply. As gently as possible, he told Sister Giron that her mother had died suddenly from an illness.
Though her grief surfaced in tears, “in the room where we were, I felt a very special spirit of love,” particularly as her mission president reviewed gospel truths about eternal life.
Her thoughts turned to her family and what they would be doing in those moments. “For that short time, I was not in the mission, but at home.”
At this time, Sister Giron could have chosen to cut short her service and return to Guatemala, but she realized that if she were at home, there would be little she could contribute compared to the good she could do by finishing her mission. “Better to stay and serve the Lord until the last day,” she decided.
The knowledge that she would sometime be able to see her mother again sustained her in her choice. Sister Giron waited impatiently for the cast to come off her ankle and worked to make up for lost time until her mission ended in November of 1983.
She returned to her activities in the Villa Nueva Ward, Guatemala City Mariscal Stake, where she has enjoyed callings to work with other single young women, including service as her stake’s Young Women president. She works as a sixth-grade teacher while trying to save enough money to complete her university studies.
But when there is an opportunity she still goes with the missionaries to meet and teach investigators throughout the Guatemala City suburb where she lives.
“I have always liked to go out with the missionaries,” Sister Giron says. “It brings me a great deal of joy to be able to share the gospel again.”