Trying to Be Like Jesus Christ

Written by Corliss Clayton


A Piece of Heaven on Earth

By love serve one another (Gal. 5:13).

Miguel Cortez is filled with love for his family and for everyone he meets. He not only loves people, but he loves the gospel and wants to do what is right. He likes the Book of Mormon story of when Nephi and his family crossed the ocean. Miguel hopes that he will follow and obey Jesus Christ like Jacob followed and obeyed his brother Nephi. Miguel is fortunate to have a loving family who encourages and supports his efforts to live the gospel.

Miguel’s entire family loves their country, and each year they do a special service project for their community. Last year they received permission to paint Miguel’s school classroom during a two-week break. First they painted the room all white. Then they painted the ocean on the walls with whales and sunken ships and all sorts of fish. The class was really excited when they saw it. Miguel’s teacher helps the students learn their colors, counting, and sizes using the colorful walls.

But Miguel also does much service on his own. When someone in his family is sick, the first thing Miguel does is pray to Heavenly Father to bless him or her. Then he does all he can to help. When his sister Melissa (14) was very ill, he carried things back and forth for her. When his father was sick and was given a priesthood blessing, Miguel listened carefully. Then he leaned his head against his father’s shoulder, gave him a hug, and said, “Papi, you are going to get better.”

Miguel’s grandfather fell and broke his back a few years ago. Since then he has been paralyzed. He can’t use his hands much, so when he needs a helping hand, he rings a bell and Miguel comes to see what he can do. Once he heard the bell and rushed into his grandfather’s room and found him bleeding very badly. It frightened Miguel, but he knew he needed to stay calm and get help, which he did.

Sometimes Miguel seems to disappear, but his mother knows that he is probably reading and talking about the scriptures with his grandfather. It is one of Miguel and grandfather’s favorite things to do together.

Even when Miguel was only two years old, he was taking care of the sick. His grandmother had been against her daughter’s family joining the Church. When she became ill with cancer and moved in with them, he became her constant companion. He comforted and loved her. He would stay with her when she wanted someone near. He did small errands for her until she died. When she saw how the gospel had brought the family closer together and taught them to serve one another, she agreed to listen to the missionaries. Before she died, she wanted to be baptized. But she was too sick to do so. Miguel knows that even though she couldn’t be baptized in this life, she will accept the temple work done for her after her death and will be an important part of their eternal family.

Miguel likes to share and to care for people outside his family also. In La Paz there are many street children who have no homes or parents to take care of them. One of these children has been living in the street near Miguel’s home. Miguel saves food from his own dinner and whatever his family can spare to give to his new friend.

Miguel’s family has chosen a theme: “Hagamos en nuestro hogar un pedacito del cielo aqui en la tierra” (“We will make our home a piece of heaven here on the earth”). Miguel does his best to do his part.

[photos] Photographed by Corliss Clayton

[photo] Miguel Emmanuel Cortez Crespo, age 5, Barrio Pioneros (Pioneer Ward), La Paz Bolivia Alto San Pedro Stake

[photo] LaPaz, Bolivia

[photo] At over 21,000′ (6400 m) Mt. Illimani towers above the city of LaPaz

[photo] The Cortez family: Jimmy; Melissa; Miguel; his father, Miguel; and his mother, Virginia