Young Jorge Rojas was determined to learn English, even if he had to study from Latter-day Saint books and go to LDS meetings. The lessons he learned in the process led to a life of Church service for Elder Rojas, who was sustained as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy April 6.
The natural response to this call, he says, is to ask yourself, “What can I do? How can I serve?”
His answer: “The most important thing for me now is to find out what the Lord wants me to do, and then have the faith and courage to do it.”
Jorge Alfonso Rojas was born to Rodolfo and Hilaria Ornelas Rojas on 27 September 1940 in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. His younger years were spent in Chihuahua City, capital of the northern Mexican state. It was there that an impatient schoolteacher told him he would never learn English. Determined to do it, Jorge persuaded his father to send him to the bilingual Juarez Academy, a Church-owned school in Colonia Juarez.
Jorge’s father sent him to live with Bertha and Willard Shupe, an LDS couple whom Jorge would come to think of as second parents. Sister Shupe was principal of the elementary school associated with the academy. She gave him Church books to study and insisted that he would learn English faster if he attended ward meetings.
Through the teaching he received from the Shupes and in seminary, Jorge gained a testimony of the gospel and was baptized at age nineteen.
By taking classes day and night, Jorge graduated from the University of Chihuahua with degrees in education and physical education. He won a scholarship for study at New Mexico State University. While there, he received a call inviting him to teach at the Church-owned Benemerito School in Mexico City when it opened in 1964.
He had met Marcela Burgos earlier in Colonia Juarez, but it was while she attended Benemerito that they really came to know each other. She graduated as a teacher in 1969, and they were married in the Arizona Temple on August 22, a few days later.
Brother Rojas worked for the Church, first in its educational system and then in its administrative offices, until the mid-1980s, when the family moved back to Chihuahua, where he pursued business interests. In 1988, he and his wife established a business translating technical manuals for U.S. companies with plants in Mexico.
He was called as stake Young Men program superintendent the day after arriving in Mexico City in 1964. He has served since then as a branch president, a high councilor, a counselor in a stake presidency, a stake president (twice), a regional representative (twice), and a mission president.
Of their five children, their oldest son, Jorge, twenty, is serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission; and Marcela, seventeen, Guillermo, sixteen, Ivy, thirteen, and Samuel, ten, are still at home.
Sister Rojas has also served in a variety of Church callings, most recently in the stake Relief Society presidency and as ward Gospel Doctrine teacher. But she says her family is her first priority. Elder Rojas calls her “an excellent mother with a very strong testimony” and says she is his greatest earthly support.
She says that “he depends completely on the Lord” in his Church service and daily work. He is “very positive. For him, the word impossible doesn’t exist.”
A strong focus on teaching from the Book of Mormon became part of his life while he was president of the Mexico Guadalajara Mission. Struggling to resolve some problems in the mission, he felt the clear impression to “use the Book of Mormon.
“The Book of Mormon teaches us to put on our working clothes, put up our sleeves, and join the army of priesthood holders and valiant sisters preparing for the second coming of the Lord,” he says.
Elder Rojas expects that his part of the work will require much of him. But he feels a peaceful assurance that his call has come from the Lord, and that “He will help me.”