Area Authority Seventy in Chile
At the age of 14, Jorge Pedrero Martinez remembers that two missionaries stopped by his house. They returned later and began teaching the family about the Church. He liked the messages he heard and began reading the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon. Although still a young teenager, he gained a testimony through his reading and was baptized along with his parents in August 1971.
As Jorge grew to adulthood, the gospel served as an anchor, holding him steady during stormy times. He set goals based on things he was learning at Church: study a profession, marry and have a family, and one day travel to a temple in another country to be sealed.
He attended the University of Chile, where he studied to be a doctor. He recalls that in class one day his professor, an atheist, began teaching his views to the students. Jorge had the courage to stand up and tell him he knew there was a God—he had a testimony of that.
While pursuing his studies one day, he met Viviana Soto, who was also studying to become a doctor. “We talked a lot about the Church,” he recalls. “I remember sitting next to her in front of a government building in downtown Santiago and singing ‘Hope of Israel’ to her.”
Viviana became interested in the Church and sought out the missionaries. After she gained a testimony, Jorge baptized her, and the two were married a year later. They have six daughters and one son. “The gospel has allowed us to enjoy the beautiful aspects of family life and of raising our children in accordance with gospel teachings,” he says.
The gospel has helped him understand people and their sufferings, both physical and spiritual. Over the years his concern for his patients contributed to a number of them joining the Church.
“The Lord blesses people when they are faithful to His principles,” says Elder Pedrero. “He gives us the strength of character we need to solve our problems in mortality.”
Chapters of Loving Service
Kalo Mataele Soukop, now of Hawaii, has had a great impact in reaching out to others. Born in Tonga in 1937, she was the 13th of 14 children. Following her father’s counsel to seek higher education, in 1957 she left Tonga by ship to attend the Church College of Hawaii, today BYU—Hawaii. Following her graduation in 1962, Kalo began working as a Polynesian dancer at one of the local hotels. She sent most of her earnings back to Tonga to help her family.
Soon Kalo was called as a labor missionary to help teach dancing at the Tongan village in the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. After her mission, she returned to professional dancing. Following her entrepreneurial desires, Kalo established a wholesale business that imported goods from South Pacific nations to sell in local department stores and shops. In time her business grew to five separate corporations, each providing work for Tongans and others.
Kalo continued her dancing career and distinguished herself in the professional entertainment field, appearing in a number of television productions. During these years she was instrumental in sponsoring more than 3,000 immigrants to Hawaii as well as assisting a number of Tongans to become legal immigrants to the continental United States.
In 1970 she joined forces with one of the major Polynesian entertainment showrooms in Honolulu. This year she will celebrate her 30th year in the Hawaiian Hut, where she has become a producer and director. She is also the only Polynesian and only woman to serve on the board of directors of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
In 1975 she met Harry Soukop, an airline pilot from Holland, and they were married. Seventeen years later he joined the Church, and the two were sealed in the Laie Hawaii Temple in 1997.
Over the years Kalo has been instrumental in helping many people. After Hurricane Isaac devastated much of Tonga in 1982, she launched a relief effort that gathered money and 70,000 pounds of food and clothing to send to Tonga.
It is said that a Tongan’s wealth is not measured by what he has but by what he gives to others. “For Kalo, there is no fun if a day passes without helping someone,” says her husband, Harry. Now in her 60s, Kalo continues to take joy in seeing her life unfold into chapters of loving service to others.—, Southgate Ward, Bloomington Utah Stake
The Medical Center of Lewisville, Texas, presented their 1999 Humanitarian Award to Joyce M. Ashton, a mother of six, in recognition of her exemplary service to bereaved families. Joyce and her husband, Dennis, have lost two children: a young daughter who died in 1974 and a son named Cameron born in 1977 with cerebral palsy. The Ashtons nursed and cared for their son until his death in 1991 at the age of 14.
After Cameron’s death, the medical center asked Joyce if she would develop a program to help bereaved parents and family members deal with their grief after the death of a loved one. Since that time Joyce, who has a nursing degree, has worked with more than 100 families a year in the Dallas area. Her program offers resource material and an opportunity for parents and individuals facing the loss of loved ones to meet with those who have already experienced similar losses.
The Ashtons are from the Lewisville Second Ward, Lewisville Texas Stake.
In the Spotlight
Dr. E. Curtis Fawson has been named as president of Southern Virginia College. The school draws most of its 350 students from Latter-day Saints across the country and several foreign lands. A former stake president from Payson, Utah, Dr. Fawson has held administrative positions at Brigham Young University, BYU—Hawaii Campus, the University of Oregon, and the University of Wisconsin—Platteville.
The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University contributed to the commission of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize–winning composition for music. The endowment was established in 1983 to support excellence in music composition and has helped hundreds of international composers with grants and commissions. Melinda Wagner composed the prize-winning piece, “Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion,” for the Westchester Philharmonic.
David W. Allan, Fountain Green First Ward, Moroni Utah Stake, has been named Honorary Fellow of The Institute of Navigation. Brother Allan, who worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology for 32 years, won the award for his work on the characterization of error sources in highly accurate time references. His work has helped in the development of the Global Positioning System, a tool used extensively in navigation, surveying, precision timing, and synchronizing telecommunications systems.