Missionary Moment: A Miracle in Belén

Contributed By David R. Morris, Church News contributor

  • 26 September 2017

An aerial view of a village in Colombia. 

Article Highlights

  • As we quickly heed the promptings of the Spirit, the Lord can work miracles.

In January 1980, my missionary companion, Noel Diaz, and I were transferred into the small branch of Belén with a large geographic boundary in Medellín, Colombia.

Unknown to the handful of members and with no active teaching list, we found ourselves systematically tracting from the far northwest end of our area back toward the old Olaya Herrera Airport, the runway to which bisected the branch boundaries. Living one block east of the airport terminal building, we began each day with a long hike to the end of the runway to catch a bus that would take us to the more populated areas.

One morning while starting off on the then-familiar hike, we both stopped abruptly and simultaneously turned our heads back toward a little neighborhood nestled along the runway, just a stone’s throw from the main terminal. Paying immediate heed to the prompting, we changed course and began knocking on every door in the four-block area that previously had been completely off of our radar.

Ninety minutes later and with nothing to show for our efforts, we knelt behind some tall vegetation on the edge of the last tiny street, pleading for the Spirit to guide us to the family that He needed us to find. The “amen” was immediately followed by the sound of a man’s voice coming from around the corner.

As we introduced ourselves to Antonio Gómez in his doorway, his wife, Cecilia, scurried from the kitchen, clutching a frying pan, exclaiming, “Mormons? My best childhood friend became a Mormon and I want to know why!” Little did we realize this “chance” encounter would produce a love for a family that abides in our hearts almost 40 years later.

They accepted our baptismal challenge, and soon we were teaching Antonio’s brother, Ismael, his wife, and their friends the Andrade family, all of whom embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Though their father had passed away some years earlier, the brothers felt impressed to call their devoted Catholic mother in their hometown of Neiva, hoping she would understand. Elder Diaz and I joined them for the much-anticipated call and listened as Antonio spoke by speaker phone.

To everyone’s surprise, she cried out in joy, “I was baptized two years ago and have been praying every single day that the Lord would lead the missionaries to your doors!”

To this day I remain humbled and honored to have quickly obeyed the voice of the Spirit in answer to a faithful mother’s prayers.