Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela's eyes begin to mist when he considers the many who
have offered all to help the Church grow in his native Mexico.
Recently, for example, while Elder Valenzuela was serving as an Area Seventy,
a humble priesthood holder was called to serve as a stake president. The man did not own a car, but
stood undeterred. He promised to magnify his new calling and said he was willing to walk to his
weekly Church meetings and other duties.
Then Elder Valenzuela - who was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy on
April 6 - explained that some weeks after this stake president was called, he visited his stake in
order to train him in his new duties, and then he said that another humble family offered to give
their only car to their new stake president so the Lord's work could advance in their neighborhood.
"These experiences speak of the strength of the testimonies of the members of
the Church," he said.
This new General Authority said his life has long been blessed by the example
and strong testimonies of others. Young Arnulfo was raised in the Mormon colonies in northern Mexico.
He graduated from the Church-owned Juarez Academy. There in the colony he learned to speak English,
how to testify of the gospel and how to lead others.
Such skills continue to serve him well in his latest Church calling - an
assignment he accepted with great humility. "I am very happy and I feel very blessed for this
calling to be able to serve the Lord on a full-time basis."
It isn't the first time he has served the Church 24-7. He labored in the Mexico
Veracruz Mission and spent two years in that coastal region knocking on doors, teaching the gospel
and baptizing new members. It was a period of study, learning and hard work. The gospel principles
he embraced as a missionary have had a deep impact on his life that can still be felt today.
After his mission, educational and
business opportunities took Arnulfo to Mexico City. A short time after arriving in the capital city
he visited a family he had taught in Veracruz. He became acquainted with a young woman who lived next
door - a pretty convert to the Church named Pilar Porras. A friendship began that would eventually
grow into a courtship and marriage.
"I was impressed from the beginning by my husband's personality and his strength
in the gospel," said Sister Valenzuela.
The couple would marry in the Mesa Arizona Temple and then return to Mexico City
where they would raise three children and serve in a variety of callings. That matrimonial trip to Mesa
instilled in the Valenzuelas a deep love for the temple. They remain inspired by the many accounts of
fellow Mexican Saints who sold all they owned to make a costly trip to Arizona to claim eternal
blessings. They rejoiced the day their nation's first temple was dedicated in Mexico City in 1983.
"We could have never imagined that one day we would have 12 temples in Mexico
with another temple under construction," said Elder Valenzuela.
A nation with more than 1 million Latter-day Saints, Mexico has long been one of
the anchors of an increasingly international Church. The Valenzuelas say their fellow countrymen and
women face a variety of challenges - but many are also open to the message of the gospel.
"The Mexican people want to find God," said Sister Valenzuela.
"We are Lamanites," her husband noted, "and I believe the people are anxiously
looking for the truth and many readily accept the gospel."
The family, he added, defines the Church, and many Mexicans are drawn to the
possibility of being able to be with their families forever through the blessings of the temple.
As a member of the Seventy, Elder Valenzuela's responsibility now extends
across the globe. He will likely find himself teaching and testifying in front of members and
others throughout the world. He plans to deliver a simple message.
"Pay your tithing, read the Book of Mormon and stand in holy places."