A Pioneer in Quezaltenango

    “A Pioneer in Quezaltenango,” Ensign, June 1998, 70

    A Pioneer in Quezaltenango

    At the tender age of six, E. Israel Pérez C. heard his father declare that he had found the true church of Jesus Christ. When the Pérez family attended a meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the congregation sang “Asombro Me Da” [“I Stand All Amazed”] during sacrament meeting. The little boy was awestruck. “The words of that hymn penetrated my heart and mind, and I felt Jesus’ love for me,” he recalls. “I have been going to church ever since.”

    Born in Quezaltenango, Guatemala, Elder Pérez, an Area Authority Seventy who serves as Second Counselor in the Central America Area Presidency, has had many experiences that strengthened his testimony of the gospel and of the power of faith. For example, he says when he presented to the Lord his decision to marry Pilar Ulin Lopez, “I prayed but received no answer” at first. The assurance that he should marry her came not long afterward via a dream in which he saw Pilar holding a small girl by the hand, who in turn held another child by the hand, and so on. He and Sister Pérez have been married for 30 years now and have had 14 children, 8 of whom have lived. Elder Pérez says of those who have passed on, “We have the surety that we will be blessed to see them again and watch them grow and make choices.”

    In 1981, when Elder Pérez was serving as a stake president, the economically pressed members in the area were given the opportunity of contributing toward building the Guatemala City Temple. “I did not know how we would come up with the money, but we trusted in the Lord.”

    President Pérez was touched by their spirit of sacrifice. One sister donated the money she had been saving for a badly needed pair of shoes. One family went without meat for a month and gave the money to the temple fund. “We were able to collect not only the amount asked for but much more,” says Elder Pérez. “Now when we enter the temple, we feel we did our part.”

    Elder Pérez says knowing the gospel helps him and his family “put Christ at the center of our lives. We can hear living prophets and obey their counsel, something that has helped us have a greater knowledge of the Redeemer, love him more, and continually serve our fellowmen.”

    Elder and Sister Pérez