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Honor modern-day pioneers

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My father filled the hours of our family trips with stories of how the pioneers crossed the deserts for their faith and made the desert bloom. Salt Lake City was the evidence — a city set on a hill for all to see.

He was a pioneer in his little Spanish-speaking branch in Southern California. He toiled to make his desert bloom in desolation, not of water, but of spirit. His branch became a ward. Now in that area there are many stakes of Spanish-speaking church members.

One day after toiling 52 years to see his little desert bloom, he went out with the LDS missionaries to help spread the word. After working all morning, he separated from the pair as they broke for a lunch appointment. Because he was dressed with the familiar suit, white shirt and tie, he was mistaken for a businessman by two delinquents. He had no money to rob. The two confused young boys did not understand that the $5 he had in his pocket could not account for the riches in his heart. Angry, they shot him twice at close range.

"And should we die before our journey through, happy day, all is well! We then are free from toil and sorrow, too; with the just we shall dwell!"

Each July we honor the Utah pioneers. But let us not forget the many modern-day pioneers who struggle through their own personal "deserts" to say in the end, "All is well, all is well."

Maria Luisa Torres