“This Is What I Was Looking For!”

By Rodolfo Barboza Guerrero

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    From the time I was a small boy in Lima, Perú, I had an inclination to seek the things of God. In my childhood, I faithfully attended my family’s church. I spent part of my youth singing in the church choir.

    But when I was 17 years old, as I was praying in church, a feeling of uncertainty came into my mind. A particular point of doctrine caused me to wonder if I was in the right place.

    That very night, I looked through much of the New Testament. I also went to see a neighbor who was a member of another church, and together we read from the Bible and found answers to some of the doctrinal questions that had begun troubling me.

    It wasn’t hard for me to see that I had been on the wrong road. But it wasn’t easy to find the truth. I attended various religious meetings. I read several articles that discussed God, but none of them aroused any great interest in me. Meanwhile I continued to read the New Testament. I was very interested in finding out about the sheep “not of this fold” that Jesus mentioned in John 10:16.

    For almost a year I identified myself as a Christian but did not affiliate with any specific denomination. I was studying at a technology center, and religion was a frequent topic of conversation. One day I overheard a discussion between a young Latter-day Saint and a member of another church. The assurance in the Latter-day Saint’s voice and the power of his words made an impression on me. The only thing I had heard about Mormons was that they were a group of cowboys. I didn’t know any Mormons well, and there was no LDS Church building nearby.

    About that time I was waiting in a doctor’s office, and I noticed that the young lady seated next to me had opened a book with a blue cover. The book’s text was written in columns like the Bible. I was curious to know if it was the Bible, but I also wanted to get back to the comic book I had been reading.

    I directed my eyes to the blue book and read a word at the top of the page: Alma. I made an effort to remember that name from my Bible reading, then went back to my comic book. But the blue book continued to attract me, and once again I directed my eyes to that mysterious book.

    When the young lady noticed my interest, I asked if the book was the Bible. She answered no and asked me what church I belonged to. I told her none, because I didn’t know which one was true.

    That night I couldn’t stop thinking about that strange book. I didn’t know its name, because the young lady had said only that it belonged to the Mormon Church. I told my friend Ghersi about it, and he offered to get me a copy. Several weeks went by, and then one afternoon he handed me a book without a cover and with worn pages. All he said was, “Here’s the book.”

    That afternoon I opened the book and read the testimony of Joseph Smith. I felt that it was what I had wanted to know; the feeling became stronger when I read about the visit of the angel Moroni. Unable to contain my excitement, I arose from my chair and shouted, “This is what I was looking for! Here is the truth!” I read the first chapters of 1 Nephi very slowly. I felt that I understood them as I had never understood a book before.

    Despite my efforts, I couldn’t locate an LDS meetinghouse. Ghersi offered to help, but I never did find the address of the building closest to where I lived. In the meantime, he loaned me some pamphlets that he had.

    Finally, while walking not far from my house, I saw a building under construction. The sign read, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” I recognized the name from the pamphlets.

    Months later, when construction was finished, my sister Haydee and I went together to that building. Two missionaries greeted us, and I told them about my experience with the Book of Mormon and my desire to be a member of the Church.

    During the discussions, I told the missionaries of my concern about the sheep of the other fold. They asked me to read of the Savior’s visit to the Americas—particularly His words in 3 Nephi 15:16–21—and I knew I had found my answer at last. Two weeks after finishing the missionary discussions, my sister and I were baptized into the Church I had sought for so long.

    I then prepared myself to be a missionary, and one year later I received a call to serve full time in the Perú Lima North Mission. The testimony I bore on my mission was that what I had received was not revealed to me by “flesh and blood” but by “my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).

    Today, many years later, I long to share my testimony with the world, because I know this is the Lord’s true Church. He has blessed me and my wife with a temple marriage and with three beautiful children. We are all happily serving in His Church. My gratitude to the Lord will never equal His mercy to me.

    Illustrated by Richard Russell

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    • Rodolfo Barboza Guerrero is a member of the Huascar Branch, Lima Perú Central Stake.