Why Are We Here?

“Why Are We Here?” Ensign, August 2020

Latter-day Saint Voices

Why Are We Here?

We quit our jobs, sold everything, and said goodbye to family and friends to move to a place we had never been before.


Illustration by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki

I worked days, and my wife, Elen, worked nights. We hardly saw each other. We weren’t holding home evening or family prayer. We went to sacrament meeting, but we lacked commitment to the gospel.

We began to feel emptiness that came from focusing on the things of the world instead of the things of the Lord. We felt that Heavenly Father wanted more from us.

So we went to the Santiago Chile Temple for guidance on how we could improve. We both received the prompting that we needed to move with our little daughters from Santiago to the northern coastal area of Coquimbo.

We had never been there before, and we knew nothing about the area. But we quit our jobs, sold everything, and said goodbye to family, friends, and my university studies.

In Coquimbo, we didn’t know anyone, and we didn’t have any money. I found a job, but it barely paid the rent. We asked, “Why are we here?”

Elen wondered if there was something she could do to help pay the bills. One day she sewed a new cover for one of our old chairs. “I’m going to put it up for sale and see if someone buys it,” she said. Someone did buy it. Encouraged, Elen learned more about reupholstering furniture. She started advertising and began receiving work.

In 2016, I was called as bishop of our new ward. With my job, my resumed university studies, and my calling, once again I hardly saw my family.

“This isn’t working,” Elen said. “Why don’t you work with me? I’ll teach you how. You’ll be home, and you’ll also have more flexibility for your calling.”

I worried about quitting my job, but Elen suggested that we pray to Heavenly Father and say: “Here’s our business. We’re going to do it together. Please illuminate for us how we can make it work while Gregorio serves as bishop.”

Heavenly Father answered. Now, after years of hardly seeing each other, we’re adjusting to always being together. Sometimes Elen jokingly says, “Don’t you have some bishopric interviews to do? Come back in four hours!”

Here in Coquimbo, we have learned to have faith and live the gospel as a family, and we have been blessed. We moved to a city we did not know to serve people we had not met, and we have seen miracles we did not expect.