A Mistaken First Impression

By Omar Abraham Ahomed Chávez

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    Until I attended a sacrament meeting in the San Miguel Ward, Lima Perú Maranga Stake, my only knowledge of the Church came from my father. He had been a member for many years but did not attend.

    Unfortunately, my first impression at the meeting was not very favorable. I expected to see a lot of Americans, but there were none. The man conducting the meeting was not particularly striking or imposing—he had a slightly heavy build and not much hair.

    By the end of the meeting I realized my mistake. The man gave the concluding address, and he spoke with authority on parents’ responsibility to teach their children. When he finished, I felt a burning feeling, difficult to describe, in my chest. I soon learned that this man was the bishop.

    Eventually I was baptized, and the bishop and I became good friends. One day, he asked me to find out if my father would speak with him. I tried to avoid responding to his request, but he persisted until I did as he asked. I was surprised to find that my father would be happy to have the bishop visit.

    The bishop soon came to our house and spoke with my father. I stayed upstairs, praying with all my heart that all would go well. After their conversation, they called me to come down, and I saw the bishop and my father affectionately saying good-bye.

    The following Sunday, my father attended church for the first time in more than 20 years. Two months later, he was called to serve as the bishop’s first counselor.

    My first impression could not have been more wrong. Our bishop’s service has blessed me and my family abundantly. I know that our Church leaders are called of God and are inspired in the counsel they give us.

    Photography by Steve Bunderson; photo illustration by Cary Henrie; posed by models