In the Mexican state of Chiapas lies the forested city of San Cristobal de la Casas. The indigenous Tzotzil people live in the highlands surrounding the city. The gospel light has reached the people in that remote area thanks in part to the faith of one man who persisted in promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ despite political and social adversity.
Agustin Gutierrez joined the Church about 26 years ago. He often felt alone as he worked to share the gospel with his people. By candlelight he translated the Book of Mormon into the ancient Mayan language of Tzotzil. It is now an official translation of the Church. His diligence was recognized and he and others traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to translate the temple presentation into Tzotzil. Again, his work made the presentation at the Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico Temple more personal to the Tzotzil people who visit the House of the Lord.
This "is an amazing story of faith and perseverance that is literally creating history …" noted Gary Utt. He and his wife, Janet, are serving in the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission. They began their service in July 2011 and were recently assigned to work with the Tzotzil people. Through this appointment, Elder and Sister Utt met Brother Gutierrez.
Brother Gutierrez now serves as a counselor to the mission president of the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission. In September 2011 the Tzotzil District was organized.
"This is the first non-Spanish speaking group in Mexico to have their own mission district that can work to be their own stake," the Utts recorded on their blog. Four branches make up the district now and Elder and Sister Utt anticipate three more branches in the near feature.
For years Brother Gutierrez worked with local leaders to allow the growth of the Church in southeastern Mexico. Members of his family have also joined and are helping to advance the gospel. The Tzotzil people are also embracing the gospel as they faithfully attend meetings and travel for hours to fulfill their Church callings.
"The Lord has taken notice of these people and the faith of Brother Agustin through all the trials and challenges and threats, and he stands as a witness to what perseverance can do," Elder Utt said. — Caresa Alexander