Missionary moments: 40 years later

As Church service missionaries, my wife and I are serving as advisers to family history in the South America South Area. Recently, we traveled to the Argentine province of Mendoza, where we stayed with our good friend, Pres. Gordon Thomas of the Argentina Mendoza Mission. He related an experience he had 41 years earlier as a young missionary in the same Mendoza Province.

He had just arrived in the mission, barely able to say a few words in Spanish. The missionaries were leaders in the tiny branch of 25 members. One day a young less-active couple brought their 1-year-old son to the missionaries requesting a blessing. The baby was so sick that the doctors said he would not live another day. The senior companion anointed the baby and invited Elder Thomas to seal the anointing and give the baby a blessing. In his limited Spanish, Elder Thomas blessed the baby that he would live and also that he would become a great leader of the Church in Argentina. Pres. Thomas recalled that as he was blessing the baby he could feel him getting better.

Forty years later, on one Saturday morning in early spring at his home in Provo, Utah, Elder Thomas, soon to be president of the Argentina Mendoza Mission, opened the Church News and noticed a stake reorganization in Mendoza. Listed as the new stake president was 41-year-old Agustin Domingo Cano.

"I knew that baby was now stake president," said Pres. Thomas.

The baby had indeed grown into manhood and had been called to serve as the president of the Mendoza stake. And what about the less-active father? Upon further investigation, Pres. Thomas learned that Brother Augustin Cano had become active and called to be the stake patriarch.

"Patriarch Cano did indeed remember me," said Pres. Thomas. "He remembered the moment of the blessing. It was something they must have talked about over the years. The promise made in the blessing was a promise only the Lord would make. The one who really learned a lesson was I. I learned that you must never see people as being hopeless. I see them frequently, and the stake patriarch always gives me a special embrace." - Elder Craig and Sister Elaine Mayfield, Argentina Area Office

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