I grew up in El Paso, Texas. My father fought in World War II, so while he was away, my grandpa did his best to be like a father to me.
One day while sitting on the sidewalk, I saw a car coming slowly up the street. Smoke billowed out from under the hood. When the car was right in front of me, it stopped working. A man jumped out while his wife and five children waited inside, crying. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I knew they were from Mexico because of their license plate.
Just then my grandpa drove by. He stopped and spoke in Spanish, asking them what the problem was. I kept hearing the word templo, and I thought, “That sounds like ‘temple.’” I soon found out that this family was driving to the Mesa Arizona Temple to be sealed. At that time, there were no temples in Mexico or Central America.
My grandpa took them to his house where he fed them and let them stay for the night. Then he took their car to the mechanic and had a new engine put in. When they left, he gave them extra money to help them on their way. I have always remembered the kindness he showed them.
I have also always remembered his mission stories. Even though he was married and had a child, Grandpa was called to serve as a missionary in Mexico City—just as the Mexican Revolution broke out. One time, federal soldiers accused him and his companion of being spies and threatened to shoot them on the spot. Remembering the story of Abinadi, Grandpa said, “You can’t kill us because we haven’t delivered our message yet. Take us to the president.” He and his companion were taken to the presidential palace, where they gave the president a Book of Mormon and taught him for two hours. The president discovered that my grandpa was from his hometown and asked, “Do you know Francisco González?” Grandpa replied, “Yes, he’s my father.” The president said, “He was my teacher when I was a little boy! Now that I know who you are, is there anything I can do to help you in your work?” The missionaries asked for a letter with the presidential seal and signature, stating that they had permission to preach.
Hearing stories got me excited to serve a mission. I couldn’t wait! I wanted to serve in Mexico, just like my grandpa. But the Lord called me to Guatemala. Years later I had the opportunity to serve as a mission president. I thought, “This time I’ll go to Mexico.” But the Lord wanted me to serve in Spain. When we serve where the Lord wants us, we’re blessed. I love the people of Guatemala and Spain.
Now I have been called as a General Authority to serve in Mexico City, the same area where my grandfather served. In those days, teaching the gospel there was extremely difficult. Today there are 12 temples and 199 stakes in Mexico.
My grandpa helped me to always want to serve a mission, and I did. All six of my children wanted to serve missions, and they did. In life we usually end up doing what we want—the key is to want the right things! Strive to have righteous desires. Come closer to Jesus Christ, and desire to become like Him. Studying the Book of Mormon and applying its teachings is a good way to do that. When you want to be like Jesus Christ, it becomes easier to serve Him and to be prepared to enter His house.