The Pamphlet in the Rain
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“The Pamphlet in the Rain,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 62–64

The Pamphlet in the Rain

Years ago, I was a 19-year-old young man studying in Quezaltenango, Guatemala, to become a schoolteacher. While walking home one afternoon, I noticed a little stream of rainwater running down the street toward my apartment. It was carrying a piece of paper. To entertain myself, I decided to keep pace with it. When I got to my apartment, I picked it up.

It was a pamphlet. I will never forget its title: The Church As Organized by Jesus Christ. At one time I had been very interested in finding the church that Jesus Christ had set up. I had investigated many churches, but I had joined none and had given up my search. But now as I read the title on the pamphlet, somehow I knew I had found the right church. On the back of the pamphlet was a name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I determined to find it.

However, the school term ended in October, and I went to my hometown, Rio Blanco, for a three-month break. In January, I returned to Quezaltenango. Although I had lived in that city for three years, I had never seen a Latter-day Saint chapel there. One Sunday I decided that if one existed, I was going to find it. I got up early and began asking everyone I met if they knew the location of the chapel. At first, no one did. Others sent me in the wrong direction. But after three hours, I finally located the meetinghouse and literally ran toward it.

The building was beautiful. Because I am a shy person, I quietly took a seat in the back of the chapel. I knew no one there, and nobody spoke to me, but I loved the meeting. There was a feeling in my heart that I had never felt in any other place on earth.

The next Sunday I returned, thinking that if the preacher asked people to come up front and accept Christ, I would be the first to go. But nobody called us to go up. Three members shared short messages about the gospel. How different this church is! I thought. But I liked it. Unfortunately, the members still did not notice me, and I decided I would go back only one more week. I couldn’t keep attending if I had no one to talk to. At least I would have a beautiful memory to cherish.

The meetings were equally pleasing on the third Sunday. When they were over, everyone began leaving, talking happily. I sat on a bench in the entryway, sad at the idea of not coming back. Then a well-dressed young man with blond hair sat down next to me. In broken Spanish, he asked how long I had been a member of the Church.

“I’m not a member,” I said, “only visiting.” He instantly took out a little book and asked for my address.

“Why do you need my address?”

“We would like to get to know you and teach you more about the Church,” he explained.

With great pleasure I accepted his invitation, and the missionaries began teaching me the gospel. People at school ridiculed me when they learned what I was doing, and family members who belonged to other churches kept trying to argue with me. But I kept learning, and in time I was baptized.

Soon after, the bishop called me into his office and asked me to prepare to go on a mission. Since I was so shy, the idea overwhelmed me. I stalled.

Another school year ended, and I returned again to Rio Blanco. But I was the only member there, and I felt lonely.

If the Church really is true, I reasoned, maybe I should tell others about it. I began to visit my friends and relatives in their homes each day after work to teach them the gospel. Several of them wanted to join the Church. I called the mission president and told him that there were eight persons in Rio Blanco ready for baptism. He was delighted to come and make the arrangements.

Like my bishop, the mission president asked me to serve a mission. As a delaying tactic, I explained there were no priesthood leaders in Rio Blanco. I told him I would go on a mission after he sent missionaries to help in Rio Blanco. He transferred two missionaries there the very next week, so I filled out my mission papers and soon left to serve a mission.

I have had many beautiful and rewarding experiences since I found that pamphlet floating on the water. While many in the world are struggling for power and riches, I have found peace, security, and happiness.

  • Gamaliel Alcides Vásquez is a member of the Rio Blanco Branch, Rio Blanco Guatemala Mission.