“Juliano’s Testimony,” Friend, Jan. 1988, 44
Juliano stood up to rest his back. Pulling weeds was hard work, but he knew that his family needed a good crop of potatoes. The ch’unu (freeze-dried potatoes) that they made from them would feed them all winter.
He could see his awquinaca (parents) at the other end of the field. They had finished their rows and were headed back home for dinner. Juliano finished his row and headed for the house too. When he got there, he stopped in surprise. Two men were talking to his parents. He could tell that they weren’t Aymara Indians. The tall one had blond hair. Both of the men wore white shirts. Because his parents couldn’t speak English or Spanish and strangers never spoke Aymara, he wondered how they could talk together.
As he drew closer, he could hear the strangers—and they were speaking Aymara! He wondered what they wanted with his parents, who were just humble yapur jake (farmers) living in a mud house.
Juliano sat down where the men wouldn’t notice him. They seemed to feel at home and sat on a rock when his parents sat down. The mud house was too small to invite anyone inside.
Ana, Juliano’s sister, was drawn to the blond hair of the tall man. When she touched his hair, he laughed.
Juliano soon learned that the men were missionaries from a new church—at least it was new to Patacamaya, a very small village so far into the altiplano, or high plain, of Bolivia that few strangers ever visited there.
The tall one held Ana on his lap while he talked. Juliano’s family listened politely. They had never heard a stranger speak their tongue. Soon Juliano noticed that this man was more than just speaking in their language. He was teaching his parents.
Juliano looked at his parents. They were carefully listening to everything that these men said. Juliano started to really listen too. They told of a book that was a history of their people from long ago. It told of a white god, Jesus Christ, and of how He had visited their ancestors.
He saw tears form in his mother’s eyes. She seemed to be excited and touched by what they taught.
After that, the missionaries came often. Juliano continued to sit in the shadows and listen, but he was still too shy to come any closer. His father asked many questions.
One night the tall blond man asked them if they were ready to be baptized. Juliano’s father said, “Yes,” and his mother eagerly agreed. Then the man turned to Juliano.
“Are you ready to be baptized?” the man asked.
“I’m only ten years old,” Juliano answered, surprised. “How can I know the truth?”
“You can know the same way that your parents do,” the missionary answered softly. “You can think about what we’ve taught you. You can read the Book of Mormon. Then you must pray and receive an answer for yourself.”
The other missionary spoke. “Your parents will soon be baptized. Ana is too young to be baptized, but you’re not. We would like you to be baptized with your parents. But you must seek and gain a testimony of your own.”
Juliano knew that his parents wanted him to be baptized. But he wanted to be sure for himself. He decided to do as the missionaries had told him. Every night he read the Book of Mormon to his parents, who had never learned to read. Juliano was glad that the Book of Mormon had been translated into Aymara. It made it easier for them all. After they read in it, they had family prayer.
One morning after doing his chores, Juliano took the Book of Mormon into the hills behind their home. He sat down next to the path, then read again Moroni’s promise: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”*
“How can the Holy Ghost visit a young boy like me?” he asked himself after he read it. Then Juliano remembered a story that the blond man had told him from the Book of Mormon. The story was about a boy just his age when he learned that he was to be the future keeper of the gold plates. Quickly he searched through the scriptures. Yes, here it is! Juliano thought with satisfaction. The boy my age was Mormon! Maybe it doesn’t matter how old you are for the Holy Ghost to testify to you. Maybe it only matters how faithful you are!
Juliano knelt by the path and bowed his head. He prayed as the blond man had taught him. When he finished, he felt a peaceful feeling spread through him. Now I know that the Book of Mormon is true, he thought.
That Saturday night Juliano joined his family at a nearby jawira (river). The baptism was beautiful. As he came up out of the water, he felt especially clean. He had never felt closer to his family, and he had never felt closer to his Heavenly Father. He was glad that even a boy can know for sure that the Church is true.