Jairo Eli Xocop of Comalapa, Guatemala


Jairo Eli Xocop of Comalapa, Guatemala

Lush green shrubs and pine forests surround the ancient Mayan ruins of Iximché. Eleven-year-old Jairo Eli Xocop of Comalapa, Guatemala, likes to visit the ruins and talk with his family about their family history and ancestors. Long ago, skilled Cakchiquel stonemasons built these vast fortified cities. Today Jairo is working just as hard to build a foundation of faith and good works in the gospel as he prepares to be ordained a deacon.

A member of the Comalapa Branch in the Chimaltenango Guatemala Stake, Jairo lives in a small town in the mountains where the Cakchiquel language is spoken.

Map of Guatamala

Map by Thomas S. Child

Jairo often has his mind on the calendar. He will be 12 soon and is eager to receive the priesthood and become a member of the deacons quorum. Jairo’s good friend and cousin, César Samuel, 16, goes with him and his family to church every Sunday. Jairo is eager to learn from the full-time missionaries who teach the Aaronic Priesthood class in his branch.

An active and fun-loving boy, Jairo likes to participate with the 30 other children in his branch in Primary. Jairo’s favorite part of Primary is sharing time, but he also likes to sing hymns and listen to his teachers talk about the prophets’ lives.

A sixth-grader, Jairo loves sports, especially the long jump, which he has been practicing for three years. At a school competition, he won second place in both speed-walking and the long jump. He also likes to play soccer.

Jairo is preparing to serve a mission by reading the Book of Mormon and other Church books. He attends all his Church meetings and is saving money in a savings account for his mission.

“Jairo is a smart boy, and he tries very hard to be obedient. If he continues, he will become a faithful man and a strong missionary,” says Jairo’s mom.

Jairo’s sister, Melissa, 20, says she admires the way he gets up every Sunday morning and gets ready quickly so he can walk to church with his cousin César. They arrive on time and sit in one of the front rows.

Jairo is growing day by day. His experiences are laying a foundation for a lifetime of working hard in the service of others.

[photos] Photography by Virna Rodríguez, except as noted; photograph of ruins by Helen Norberg

[photos] Jairo likes to visit the ancient ruins of Iximché (above) to talk about family history. And since he was small, he has liked to read and learn from the Book of Mormon (left).

[photos] Jairo has a lot of fun with his sisters, Mildred, Melissa, and Daly (right), and with his friends in Primary (below).

Dalila Xocop is a member of the Comalapa Branch, Chimaltenango Guatemala Stake.

Virna Rodríguez is a member of the Panorama Ward, Guatemala City Guatemala Mariscal Stake.