“Mormon Messages Videos Feature Sister Aburto,” Ensign, August 2018
A series of significant moments throughout her life led Reyna I. Aburto from the depths of despair to incomparable joy, and those moments and her reflections on them are shared in a three-part Mormon Messages series just released by the Church. In the videos she shares some of the challenges she has faced and provides insight to help those who are struggling to find hope.
Sister Aburto refers to a cathedral in Germany that was destroyed in World War II, then rebuilt after the war. “You can see … how some of the bricks are black,” she says. “They are the original bricks that were burned during the bombing. I realized that my life is like that church. I have gone through very hard times—the scars are still there, the consequences, the pain is still there. But the Lord has rebuilt my life and allowed me to have joy.”
Two events from her childhood had a major impact in her life, she says: (1) when she was nine years old, she survived an earthquake that destroyed her home and killed her older brother, and (2) she lived through a period of civil unrest in Nicaragua in the late 1970s, events that eventually led her and some of her family to flee the country.
She was 21 and living in San Francisco, California, USA, when she made the painful decision to divorce her first husband after years of trying to help him overcome alcohol and drug addiction. She had a three-year-old little boy, and her soul was full of questions, fears, and longings for her and her son. “I felt lost, I felt lonely, I felt scared,” she said.
Weeks later, her mother met the missionaries, who invited her to go to church the next day, and Sister Aburto decided to go with her. “I didn’t know what to expect, but the moment that I stepped into that building, I just felt this wonderful feeling. … It was stake conference … and every single message seemed to be directed at me. I felt so much hope.”
A few weeks later, Sister Aburto joined the Church, along with her mother and brother.
Through her experiences with loss, uncertainty, and fear, she says, she has learned that relationships, family, love, and faith are our most precious possessions.
She and her present husband, Carlos Aburto of Mexico, were married in the Jordan River Utah Temple in 1993. They have three children and two grandchildren. Sister Aburto previously served on the Primary general board from 2012 to 2016 and was called to the Relief Society General Presidency in 2017.