“He Served Me Before He Met Me,” Liahona, Feb. 2005, 39–40
I was baptized in Comayaguela, Honduras, in February 1992. After serving a mission in El Salvador, I moved to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. There I met Brenda, a beautiful young woman who had been home from her mission for only nine days. Some months later we were married in the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple.
We established our home in the Fesitranh Ward in Honduras, and before long I was called as the first counselor in the bishopric. At a priesthood executive committee meeting, the bishop informed us that one of our ward members, Brother Fidel Durón, was moving to another ward in the stake. He told us that Brother Durón was a very service-minded person and that every ward member no doubt had something to thank him for.
Brother Durón helped anyone in need, whether it involved an electrical problem, some construction work, a broken pipe, or an early-morning trip to the hospital. His service was not limited to Church members but was also extended to his neighbors and acquaintances. He was loved and respected by all. The bishop gave us an assignment to find all those members who had something to thank Brother Durón for. A meeting was planned to honor him for the selfless service he had given for such a long time.
I said to myself, “I don’t have anything to thank Brother Durón for.” I had lived in the ward for just a short time and had spoken with him on a few occasions. He seemed to be a pleasant person, but I didn’t think I had had the opportunity to be the recipient of an act of service at his hand.
Some time later I was called to be a member of the high council and assigned to the López Arellano Ward, the ward Brother Durón now attended. One Sunday I was in Sunday School in this ward, and the teacher asked class members to share personal experiences regarding service.
I happened to be seated to the left of a sister named Adela Rosa de Santos. She started to tell how the man at her right, Brother Durón, had served as her home teacher when she and her family were new members of the Church. She told how his kind service had given them strength and encouragement when they needed it and how he had blessed their lives. She concluded by saying, “If it weren’t for you, Brother Durón, I wouldn’t be here.”
I could hardly believe my ears. Sister Adela’s daughter, Suyapa, was the missionary who had knocked on my door five years earlier, and now I was a member of the Church and my life had been filled with the richest possible blessings. I had been given the opportunity to serve a mission, the privilege of receiving my temple ordinances, and the glorious hope of having an eternal family.
At that moment I learned that 20 years before, a humble man who was true to his commitment to serve others had unknowingly labored for the welfare of my soul. I was filled with a joy that is hard to express and with love for my brother, Fidel Durón. I had once thought I didn’t have anything to thank Brother Durón for. Now I considered myself to be first and foremost on the list the bishop had asked us to make.
That special meeting for Brother Durón was never held, because he returned to the Fesitranh Ward for a time. We now have a beautiful friendship. I have so many reasons to be grateful to Jesus Christ for all He has done for me and also to Brother Durón for the love he showed me 20 years before he ever met me.