“My Mentor,” Ensign, July 2001, 56–57
I was 24 years old when I first met Julio Martínez. At the time, I had great interest in meeting someone who could explain the purpose of life to me and help me understand why I felt such a void in my soul. Julio, age 87, was just such a person. He enjoyed extraordinary physical and mental health. He loved nature and was always in a wonderfully good humor. We spent many summer afternoons talking, and I came to admire him and his ideas. A philosopher who practiced what he taught, he became my mentor.
One day, two and a half years after we met, Julio told me he had been baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was dismayed. How could a man as wise and experienced as he was make such a decision? I respected him, however, so I respected his choice. We continued to visit frequently, but I would turn the conversation to other matters whenever he began to talk about the Church.
In time I began to notice some changes in Julio. His eyes had a new glow, and he became kinder, less critical, and more humble. I didn’t understand what was prompting the changes, and I was afraid of losing the good friendship we already had. But still I remained unresponsive to his invitations to learn more about his church.
And so I ignored the Lord as He called to me. I believe He calls to each of us, often through other people, but we hear only if we have ears to hear—and only if we open our hearts. The Lord called to me several times, but my heart was closed.
Then on 20 August 1998, at Julio’s urging, I met with some of the Lord’s missionaries: Elder Martinez, Elder Boyle, and Elder Winward. For the first time, I recognized the voice that had been calling to me. The Spirit bore such witness that my heart was softened and I was humbled. With tears flowing down my cheeks, I asked myself over and over, How is it possible for the Savior to love us so deeply? How did He come to do what He did for us, for me?
Nine days later I was baptized. Thanks to Julio, my friend, I now know the love Jesus Christ has for us and the fellowship that is found in His Church. Julio became like a grandfather to me, and I rejoice to know that because of our Lord’s grace I found His eternal truth.