Pedro Ayala Espinosa of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, México


“Pedro is good to Oliver and me,” said Pedro’s sister, Alejandra, eleven. “He helps us with our studies and supports us in the things we do.”

“He likes me a lot, and I like to play soccer and other things with him,” added his brother, Oliver, nine. Oliver loves his brother a lot. Both he and Alejandra know that they can count on Pedro. The three support each other in whatever they are doing. Pedro even enjoys helping straighten the room he shares with Oliver and helping his mother clean the rest of the house.

Pedro Ayala Espinosa, twelve, appreciates his family. He is glad that they work together to help each other become better people and reach their goals. He loves his parents for the many things they do for him, especially for helping him with his problems. “Dad and Mom understand and help us a lot with our problems, both mine and those of my brother and sister.” He likes living next door to his grandparents, because if his parents aren’t home and he needs help, he can go over to their home and talk things over.

Family and friends are very important to Pedro. Even at school he likes to talk to his friends about their families and how they get along with one another.

Like many people, Pedro sets goals for himself. Unlike a lot of people, Pedro consistently reaches those goals. “If he sets a goal,” his father said, “he doesn’t rest until he has reached it. He fights hard to reach it, and he always gains it.” Pedro would like to become a lawyer, and he knows that fulfilling his dream means getting good grades and learning to speak English well. He is working hard at both.

Pedro told his father that if he could take karate lessons he would work to earn a black belt. So far he has earned his brown belt and is working toward his black belt.

Pedro knows that if he prepares himself to go on a mission, his family will support him when he goes. “What I say to one of my children, I say to all three. In whatever they want to study and do, I will support and help them,” said Pedro’s father.

In order to reach his goals, Pedro makes smaller goals along the way.

For instance, he committed himself to read the entire Book of Mormon by the end of the year. One of his favorite scripture stories is of Nephi and how he obeyed his father and returned to Jerusalem with his brothers to get the brass plates.

Pedro wishes that everyone could live in harmony and that all people would appreciate their families. “Our brothers, sisters, parents, and friends support us a lot.”

Pedro loves going to church because all the members are friendly. He wishes everyone were a member of the Church. “When we are members of the Church, we feel more sure of ourselves, and it helps us make better decisions.”

What’s in a Surname?

In Mexico and many other Spanish-speaking countries, names tell quite a bit about a person’s family history. A child is given the surnames of both parents. The father’s surname comes first, followed by the mother’s surname. The full names of the members of Pedro’s family are—

Father: Alfonso Ayala Romero.

Mother (before marriage): Adriana Espinosa Rodriquez.

Children: Pedro Ayala Espinosa, Adriana Alejandra Ayala Espinosa, Oliver Omar Ayala Espinosa.

Now can you answer the following questions?

  1. 1.

    What is Pedro, Alejandra, and Oliver’s complete surname?

  2. 2.

    What is their grandfather’s (father’s father) surname?

  3. 3.

    What is their grandfather’s (mother’s father) surname?

  4. 4.

    What is their grandmother’s (mother’s mother) surname?

  5. 5.

    What is their grandmother’s (father’s mother) surname?

Answers:

[photos] Photography by DeAnne Walker and Corliss Clayton

[photos] Opposite: Pedro plays basketball at church and soccer at school. Above left: One of many frescoes depicting Mexican history on the walls of the National Palace in Mexico City. Above center: Oliver wants to be an actor when he grows up. Above right: Pedro likes to practice basketball with Oliver.

[photos] Above left: Pedro and Oliver are more than just brothers—they are good friends. Above center: Alejandra is a good student, and she helps her family work together. Above right: Sculptured serpents decorate ancient temples found in ruins near Mexico City. Above: Members of the Ayala family help each other reach their goals.

(1) Ayala Espinosa, (2) Ayala, (3) Espinosa, (4) Rodriguez, (5) Romero