“Area Authority in Costa Rica,” Ensign, June 1999, 68
Elder Enrique R. Falabella, Area Authority Seventy in the Central America Area, remembers growing up in Guatemala happy but poor in terms of material things. He recalls saying to his father, “Papa, I can’t go to school in these shoes; they are worn out and show my toes.” His father took Enrique’s shoes and made them shine with some black polish, then put them back on young Enrique’s feet. “Taken care of,” said his father. Enrique looked down at his feet. “It doesn’t seem like it,” he said, “because my toes still show outside the shoe.” His father put some polish on Enrique’s toes, which ended up as black and shiny as the shoes. Enrique went off to school smiling and happy.
Now Elder Falabella, who joined the Church at the age of 12, feels richly blessed in terms of spiritual things. Husband to Blanca Sanchez Falabella and father to five children, he remembers being sealed to Blanca for all eternity as one of the greatest moments of his life. “Jesus Christ has been the center of our home,” says Elder Falabella. “Holding our family prayers, family home evenings, and scripture reading has given our home an atmosphere in which we all long to be.”
Elder Falabella was serving as a stake president at the time President Spencer W. Kimball announced the construction of the Guatemala City Temple. He remembers the stake receiving the challenge to contribute $12,000 (U.S.) for the building of the temple. “This may seem like a small amount,” he says, “but it wasn’t for a stake whose membership barely earned enough to survive. I remember I could count on my hands the number of members who had a vehicle.” He says that in presidency meeting they discussed the fact that amounts were not important, and they decided to challenge the members to give what would be a sacrifice in their lives. “The members responded the way the Israelites did when Moses wanted to build the tabernacle,” says Elder Falabella. “The sum of $27,000 was gathered, more than double what had been asked of us. Today, about 15 years later, when I return to those areas of the stake, I see that each ward has become a stake, the members have their own businesses or are well employed, they have their own homes, and on Sundays the parking lots of the chapels are full.”