Missionary Moment: Angel’s Missionary Angels
Contributed By Jerry and Jeanie Dunn, Church News contributors
Angel Aracca, the youngest of seven children, grew up in humble circumstances in the tiny Peruvian village of Sucapaya, 12,500 feet high in the Andean Altiplano. His family owns a small farm where they grow quinoa, yucca, potatoes, and other high Andean crops. The primary language in the Aracca home is Quechua, the only language Angel’s mother speaks.
In 2006, when Angel was seven years old, two North American missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to their home. Angel’s father had been very ill and was in bed. The elders walked up to his father, took him by the hand, and lifted him out of bed. Then they taught the family the gospel of Jesus Christ, which “brought joy and peace to our home,” Angel said. His mother and father said that it was God who sent the missionaries to their home because missionaries had never been to their village before, and after they taught the Aracca family, they never returned.
The Araccas worked hard just to obtain suitable clothing to wear to church. There was no public transportation to the village, so to attend church in Juliaca, Angel’s family had to walk a few kilometers from their home to a road where they could then catch a ride. Every Sunday the family would make the long trip to church, where his father and the older children would translate the meetings into Quechua for his mother. Although the family was somewhat scorned by other members of their village, Angel’s mother would say, “It doesn’t matter. My children are receiving blessings.”
Less than a year after joining the Church, Angel’s father died. This time was so difficult for Angel’s family that his three older brothers had to drop out of school to work in the fields in order to provide food for the family. In spite of the challenges, and with their mother’s encouragement, two of the older sons left to serve full-time missions.
In 2012, Angel’s mother took the 18-hour bus ride to the Bolivia Cochabamba Temple to be sealed for time and eternity to her deceased husband.
Angel—called to serve in the Bolivia La Paz Mission—is now Elder Aracca, the fifth missionary his widowed mother has sent into the mission field. “I have wanted to serve a mission since I was seven years old and two angel perfect missionaries came and taught my family,” he said. “I wanted to be just like them.”
—Elder Jerry Dunn and Sister Jeanie Dunn are Church history missionaries serving in the South America Northwest Area in the Lima Peru Missionary Training Center.