Love Speaks Loudly

“Love Speaks Loudly,” New Era, Mar. 2009, 8–9

From the Field

Love Speaks Loudly

Pablo wasn’t much different from any other investigator I had taught as a missionary in Paraguay, except for one thing: he couldn’t hear. That sometimes made it difficult to communicate. Because he didn’t know sign language, our discussions were usually a mix between lip reading and writing notes back and forth.

During the week, Pablo lived alone. His wife worked as a housekeeper and could only come home on weekends. He really enjoyed our company but was becoming less and less interested in the Church. My companion and I wondered what we could do to help Pablo progress. One day my companion said: “You know, Pablo’s birthday is next week. Maybe we should get him a card.”

It sounded like a good idea, so on Pablo’s birthday we headed to his house with the card. He saw us crossing the lawn and came out to welcome us. “Happy birthday, Pablo,” we said, exaggerating our lip movements and showing him the card. For a moment he didn’t seem to know how to respond. A tear came to his eye.

As we stood there on Pablo’s front patio, something changed in him. With his wife gone for the week, we were the only people who had remembered his birthday. Though no real conversation took place, we came to an understanding we hadn’t had before. Pablo started “listening” more closely to our messages, and he even went to church the next Sunday. He couldn’t hear the words spoken there, but he felt the Spirit testify of the truth of it.

Within a short time, Pablo was baptized and later ordained to the priesthood. The Church has made such a big difference in his life. His wife joined the Church, and they are now preparing to be sealed together in the temple.

I never would have guessed what a difference that card would make. Simple love and kindness had helped a man who couldn’t hear to accept the gospel. Sometimes it’s by the simplest means that the greatest things are brought to pass (see Alma 37:6).

Illustration by Robert McKay