Jorge Romero Ybañez and Hermán Giovanni Campos Romero of Santa Cruz, Bolivia99971_000_017
Santa Cruz, Bolivia, lies between the dry, high plains of western Bolivia and the tropical rain forest of the Amazon River basin. The weather is tropical; the wind is almost always blowing. Although it is the second largest city in Bolivia, Santa Cruz has a relaxed, small-city feel to it. A favorite pastime in the city is sitting in the main plaza, Plaza 24 de Septiembre, and watching as sloths slowly climb in the trees and eat tender shoots, leaves, and stems. If a sloth strays into the nearby streets, a good citizen will carry it back to the trees, where it will be safe from the city traffic, because the animals are too slow to get out of a car’s way.
But while the sloths of Santa Cruz are incredibly slow movers, Jorge Romero (9) and Giovanni Campos (8) most certainly are not. These two cousins are constantly busy—at school, at home, and at church. They are especially working hard to build on their family’s heritage of faithfulness in the Church, which their grandparents joined thirty years ago.
Both Jorge and Giovanni like to play fútbol (soccer)—a lot. And although they both have many friends to play with, the friendship they rely on most often is their friendship with each other.
Each is busy at home also. Jorge goes to school from 7:30 A.M. until noon. He is in the fourth grade. He lives quite far from school, so his father takes him there in the morning; his mother picks him up. When he gets home from school, he helps tend his little sister, Maribelle (3). Although he might rather be playing soccer, Jorge plays dolls with her “because that is what makes her happy.” He also keeps busy cleaning the house and studying. He likes to wash dishes with his mother because it gives him time to talk with her. He also likes to help his father whenever he can, because of the love they share.
Jorge’s favorite hymn is “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” * and that is exactly what he expects his parents to do. “Our family goals,” said his father, “are to study the scriptures and have family prayer every day.”
His parents have helped teach Jorge to have faith in Heavenly Father by their examples. One time he had an important school exam coming up. Although he had studied very hard for it, he was worried that he wouldn’t do well. “My mother suggested that I pray for help, and I did. After praying, I felt that everything would go well, and I did get a good grade on the test.”
Family home evening is a favorite family activity in Jorge’s home. “I like the lessons. We had a really good one about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. And I always love to sing,” he said.
While Jorge goes to school in the morning, Giovanni, who is in third grade, goes from 2:00 to 5:45 in the afternoon. When he isn’t at school, he is busy with his chores—cleaning the patio, taking out the garbage, and doing homework. “He is a very responsible boy,” his mother said. “He knows that I want him to come right home from school and do his schoolwork, and he does that without my reminding him. I feel good because he works hard and brings home good grades.”
Giovanni has also been taught by his parents to listen to the Spirit and pray. “I prayed when I was really sick, and I got better. And when my aunt was going to have a baby, I prayed that she and the baby would be fine, and they both were.”
Giovanni’s favorite scripture story is about Lazarus and the rich man (see Luke 16:19–25). In the story, Lazarus is a poor, sick man who needs help, but the rich man won’t help him. When they both have died, Lazarus gets to live in heaven, but the rich man doesn’t because he did not help Lazarus. Giovanni hopes that he will always remember to be kinder than the rich man and help anyone he can.
Both boys attend the Irala Ward and love Primary. They like to sing and are always willing to lead the music, read a scripture, pray, or give a talk. Giovanni recently gave a talk on the Ten Commandments. Jorge often gets to lead the music and does an excellent job.
“I know the Church is true,” Jorge said. “And I’m grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me a good family, and for my grandparents who joined the Church.”
“I’m grateful for my family, too,” said Giovanni. “And I know that the Church is true and that the scriptures are true.”
“We try to be good examples for them,” Grandfather said, “so that they can learn what is right and overcome the hard things in life.”
Grandmother added, “I love them so very much and hope that they know that Heavenly Father loves them also. I want them to be strong and faithful, to go on missions, and to go to the temple one day.”
Jorge and Giovanni both want those things, too.