“Abner Garcia and Midalys Soto—Arecibo, Puerto Rico,” Ensign, August 2020
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, Abner and Midalys moved to Florida, USA. Soon they received a prompting in the temple to move back to Puerto Rico and open a barbershop.
Raul Sandoval, photographer
It was hard after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Even though we had some water and food stored, we didn’t have electricity or running water.
We used the rain when it fell to wash our clothes and to shower. When it rained, I would grab our children, run outside, and say, “Quick, shower!”
The hardest thing was that we didn’t have a way to communicate with our family, friends, or others. Thankfully, a neighbor had a generator and shared it with us so we could call our family. When we called our family in Florida, they told us to come stay with them.
We were in Florida two weeks after the hurricane. I was studying nursing at the time and could continue my studies there. But since Abner’s brother had only one car, it was difficult for us to get around and for Abner to find work. We wanted to work and to find a way to stay.
I had the idea that I would stay in Florida while Abner returned to Puerto Rico to work. When I told a friend my plan, she said, “No, you are a family. You have to stay together.”
I prayed to stay in Florida, but Abner prayed to know the right path the Lord wanted for us. We went to the temple for guidance on what we should do. I felt the Spirit very strongly in the temple that we should return to Puerto Rico. It was hard, but that’s what we did. I continued my studies, and we decided to open a barber shop. Abner is a barber.
I found a small unit we could rent for our barbershop. When the owner told me the cost for rent, it was more than we could afford. I asked if he could lower the cost. He called me later and said, “I want to know who I’m renting to. Bring your wife so I can meet her.”
We prayed that he would see that we are good people. After meeting him, he said, “God is helping you. I’ve had this space for a long time. Many people have asked to rent it, but it never felt right. I feel strongly that you are good people.”
He lowered the rent for three years. I was surprised. He said the exact words my husband and I had prayed for.
We are now much more secure and peaceful. We’re making money, and we are blessed.
Some people used to treat Abner poorly because he is a member of the Church. They also said, “You shouldn’t run a business with your wife.” But I say, “Of course we can do this together!” In truth, this has been a great opportunity for the two of us. He helps me with the house and the children, and I help him run the shop.
God loves and guides us. Returning to Puerto Rico was the right thing for our family. This was Heavenly Father’s perfect plan for us.