“Smiles despite My Trials,” Liahona, July 2006, 9
When I was 17, I left my home in Guadalajara to study at Benemérito de las Américas, a Church institution for young people in Mexico. I was very happy there, even though I wasn’t in the best of health. I always had people who were willing to help and encourage me, but my illness kept getting more and more serious, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Finally, I was given a week off school to go back to Guadalajara for some tests.
When I got home, I suffered total facial paralysis. I was hospitalized in very serious condition with kidney failure. I don’t remember what happened for the next two weeks. My mother told me I couldn’t see or hear or eat anything. The doctors had no hope for me because my vital levels indicated I couldn’t survive.
My mother called the bishop, who came and gave me a blessing. I could feel the power of the priesthood, and I started to recover. I was in a wheelchair for a while, but I wasn’t able to hold my head up, and I couldn’t see or hear. With the help of my ward members and their fasting and prayers, I continued to recover. I was put on dialysis. My mother donated a kidney, and the doctors performed a transplant. However, five months later my body rejected the kidney, and I am now on dialysis again. I am on the waiting list for another kidney transplant.
Despite these trials, Heavenly Father has given me the opportunity to graduate from seminary and to complete my Personal Progress, which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I know I still have a long way to go before I’m healthy again, but I’m grateful to the Lord for this experience because I’ve gained a stronger testimony and it continues to grow every day. I think we all have different trials to overcome before we can obtain our eternal reward. “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; … then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
What I want more than anything else is to be able to return to the presence of my Heavenly Father. I know I can achieve this if I’m faithful and obedient. Sometimes it’s not very easy to accept the will of the Lord, but I try to face my trials with a smile and remember that we’re not here on earth very long when compared to eternity.
When I get discouraged I remember the hymn “Count Your Blessings” (Hymns, no. 241), and then I feel happy again. That hymn gives me peace and a feeling of gratitude. I remember the people who love me, including a loving Heavenly Father who has blessed me with strength.