Catrina hurried home from school. The missionaries were coming today. She had promised her mamá that she would sweep the floor. Mamá was gone working as a housekeeper and would not be home until later that night.
Señor and Señora Klatzpan and their two-year-old son, Helmut, shared the house with Catrina’s family. Sharing houses was common in Colombia where many families could not afford homes of their own.
Señor Klatzpan and his little family had moved to Colombia from Germany a year ago. He spoke Spanish with difficulty. His wife spoke little of the language and communicated mostly with her hands. Helmut was learning Spanish as well as German.
Catrina occasionally tended Helmut. She liked his sweet baby smell.
Catrina’s papá worked long hours as did her mamá. Her abuela (grandma) spent many hours with Catrina and her brother, Ramón, telling them stories of their ancestors and the traditions of their family.
Catrina and her mamá kept the house as clean as possible, but it was difficult with so many people living in the four small rooms.
She remembered the day the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had knocked at their door.
The young men, in their white shirts and ties, spoke of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel. The words sounded strange. Though they spoke fluently, their accent made it difficult for Catrina to understand what they said.
She listened carefully to the Joseph Smith story, not wanting to miss a word. When Elder Todd bore his testimony of Joseph Smith and the living prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, she knew she had heard the truth.
Señor and Señora Klatzpan accepted the gospel and were baptized members of the Church shortly after the elders challenged them to be baptized.
Catrina noticed a change in the Klatzpans. They seemed more content, though they still had little money. When she asked them about it, Señor Klatzpan said that the gospel had changed their lives.
“It brings us much joy,” Señor Klatzpan said. “My Gerta and I have never been happier. When you and your family are baptized, you will know the same blessings.”
Catrina didn’t know if her papá would ever allow their family to be baptized. His parents and their parents before them had belonged to another religion. Tradition was an important part of their family.
Today the elders spoke more about families. When they explained a father’s blessing, Señor Klatzpan leaned forward eagerly. “My Helmut. I want him to have this blessing. Will you do it?”
Elder Todd shook his head. “We could give him a priesthood blessing, but only you can give him a father’s blessing. You have received the Melchizedek Priesthood and have the authority to do so.”
Señor Klatzpan looked helplessly from one elder to the other. “I do not know how to do such a thing.”
“Listen to the Spirit,” Elder Todd said in his quiet way. “It will guide you and your words.”
Señor Klatzpan put his hand on his chest. “Is it that which makes my heart beat so rapidly?”
Elder Stevenson nodded. “The Spirit often touches our hearts in just that way.”
A smile of pure joy spread over Señor Klatzpan’s face. “I am ready.” Solemnly he placed his hands on Helmut’s head. Words poured forth as he blessed his child.
Catrina felt tears prick her eyes. She, too, felt the Spirit.
When the elders left, she turned to her papá. “Papá, I want to be baptized. With you and Mamá and Ramón. I want you to give me a blessing like Señor Klatzpan gave Helmut.”
“We have heard the truth,” he said slowly. “It would be wrong not to be baptized.”
“What about Abuela?” Catrina asked.
“She will understand,” he said. “Tradition is important. But truth is precious.”
Catrina brushed the tears from her eyes and hugged her papá.
“We have been given the great power of the priesthood. It blesses us individually and provides blessings for our family.”
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Called of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 10.