Gaining Self-Respect through Self-Reliance

José Alberto Navas

By José Alberto Navas (as told to Miriam Sweeney)

San José, Costa Rica

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I was married, I had three kids, and I was unemployed. A work drought left me feeling hopeless. I worried about the safety of my family, and I stopped believing in myself.

My wife, Carla, encouraged me to attend a self-reliance group. It was embarrassing for me to admit that I didn’t have work, but she encouraged me to attend the group so I could take care of our family.

I reluctantly gave it a try. While attending the group, I realized that my English skills could be a valuable asset in the job world. I had studied English on my mission, but I only knew how to speak about religion. I enrolled in English classes offered by the Church to improve my vocabulary. When I returned home from English class one day, Carla handed me the phone.

“Who is it?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “They’re speaking in English.”

It was a human resources representative from one of the biggest companies in Costa Rica asking to interview me. I was stunned, but the interview went remarkably well. I later learned that Carla had set up the interview.

I got the job, and I remembered how my self-reliance group had helped me. Then I thought about how I could better apply what I learned. I started looking for an even better job and got one. Then I worked toward starting my own construction business.

I can’t imagine where my family and I would be without the start we received from the self-reliance initiative. I learned to be humble and to ask the Lord for help. I also learned to allow those who wanted to help me to bless my life. We have so many blessings. I now have self-respect, and I can bless my family with the money I earn. I know the Spirit blesses us when we are humble.