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Reader Voices: The change the gospel can make

It was my first day the Yucatan Peninsula as an LDS missionary in October 2002. Our group flown into Merida, Mexico, and had breakfast in the mission home.After breakfast the president sat me down, pointed to the mission map, handed me a bus ticket and told me that I would be traveling to Chetumal as my first area. This was the place back in California that had hoped I would start my mission and it was here that I would be doing just that!After I arrived in Chetumal after an eight-hour bus ride, my senior companion was walking me around the area, showing me the boundaries and explaining the rules. In a small plaza down by a river, I came across a man selling hot dogs. To the surprise of my companion and with the limited Spanish I had, I began talking to this man. Luis invited me to his home to share the message with his family. My first contact in the mission became my first baptism as Luis, his wife and two daughters were baptized. I was transferred after three months in Chetumal and before I was released in 2004, I had heard that Luis was a ward mission leader.Later I returned to Cancun on my honeymoon. My bride, who had also served a mission in Mexico, and I drove down to Chetumal to look for Luis. Arriving to the church on Sunday I began looking and asking for him. Nobody knew who I was talking about when a brother emerged from the bishop's office. Gray-haired, matured face and heavier set physique, not recognizing the man, I asked what his name was. Then suddenly I caught the sparkle in his eye — It was him! Luis was a bishop! A sudden embrace ensued."Elder Trottier, I was just talking about you yesterday with the ward and the missionaries. I can't believe it is you!"His wife, next to him began breaking down as tears of joy fell from her eyes. Luis looked like a brand-new person. I couldn't believe what the gospel had done to his life.In my broken Spanish, the Spirit worked a series of small miracles that day back in October of 2002.

Ian Trottier lives in San Francisco with his wife, Nayely Duran of Mexico City. Also as an LDS missionary, he gave a Book of Mormon to Vicente Fox, then president of Mexico.E-mail: