For many years the grounds of the stake center in Merida were graced by a huge zapote tree that shaded much of the back of the building and the parking lot. Many Church classes were taught under its ample boughs. The tree was a neighborhood landmark and became a symbol of strength for area Latter-day Saints.
But the zapote tree was damaged beyond saving by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. It finally withered and died, and was cut down this past spring. The hardwood tree was four feet in diameter.Pres. Joaquin Eduardo Carrillo of the Merida Centro stake compared the tree with the original Merida District.
"One day the district had to end and transform itself. And though the district, like the tree, gave much shade to many people over the years, everything must arrive at the end of its service.
"Now in this large tree's place, we'll plant four small trees to signify the four stakes in Merida. In time they'll grow, and they'll develop good, strong wood."