The year was 1978. For Leon and Beatriz Delacruz, it was the day after the Northeast experienced one of the most intense snow blizzards to date. Today, it is referred to as “the blizzard of ‘78.” I was a little over two years old when my mother, who was raised catholic, had desires for me to be baptized. My father, on the other hand, went from church to church seeking to know what to do. He felt that under the eyes of God, children are pure until they can be accountable for their own actions. He felt that getting baptized should be my decision to make in my own time.
That same day, Elders Canoba and Conley, who were serving as Mormon missionaries in the Rego Park Ward in Queens, New York, decided to follow through on an appointment to meet with a potential investigator despite the stormy weather. Trekking through the piled-high snow, the missionaries arrived at the apartment complex where the investigator lived. As they passed by us, I was learning to build my first snow man. Mario, the potential investigator who lived upstairs from us, was not home. As they were leaving, my father asked if they would take a picture of us standing in front of the snowman and they agreed. After taking the picture, my mother took me inside while my father remained outside with the missionaries; he wanted to know who they were and what brought them out under these stormy conditions. The missionaries’ responses were what my father wanted to hear, and he came and asked my mother if they could come in. The rest was history! I believe there are people seeking for the truth, and based on the desires of the heart, Christ’s representatives get to answers those questions. For my family and I, it was about timing in life.
The Lord’s timing is everything in life!
What I believe
What I believe is simple. God loves us. The Savior loves us and He has provided a way to return to be with them. My love for Christ is what anchors me because He’s my EVERYTHING. I believe that through His gospel, we can all feel His love. We can tell stories about this love by simply sharing the gospel. When we do so, we participate in what Spencer W. Kimball refers to as the lifeblood of the church. He states that the gospel reaches people through missionary work and when we reach those who are searching, we witness firsthand the miracles by Christ’s hand as they turn to Him. I personally have witnessed that through my wife Tina.
Previously we lived in Lynn. On one of the sides streets, there is a small Salvation Army post which has a banner hanging on the side of the building that reads, “Lynn, Lynn the city of Him, you don’t go out the way you come in.” It was in Lynn where my wife found the gospel. After years of discussions and misunderstandings about what church to attend, we wondered if we would ever find a place to worship together. I was inactive for more than a decade and we were both yearning for the Lord to impact our lives together. My wife found her answer in the form of two sister missionaries who were curious about the parents of a cute little girl whom they had met through her grandparents. It took countless sister and elder missionaries for her to finally accept an invitation to attend church. It was the first Sunday in June, 2009, when we arrived at the Revere 2nd Ward chapel. The congregation had started singing and we were nervous to open the doors to the chapel. I remember opening the door and looking for the first available seat. We ended up sitting in the first row on the left-hand side of the room. That Sunday was testimony Sunday. As we listened to testimony after testimony, I turned to my wife and could see her joy. The tears were just flowing; I knew she had found the answers to her questions. Afterwards I asked her if she would return, and she replied with a resounding “yes, I would do anything to feel that spirit again.”
President Hinckley once said, “The most satisfying experience I have is to see what this gospel does for people. It gives them a new outlook on life. It gives them a perspective that they have never felt before. It raises their sights to things noble and divine. Something happens to them that is miraculous to behold. They look to Christ and come alive” (“Converts and Young Men,” Ensign, May 1997, 48).
I’ve personally witnessed how the gospel has touched and changed the lives of those who have sought God’s love. I’ve seen it in my wife, in those who’ve joined the church, and in myself. In each case, all it took was a simple invitation. When we invite, miracles can happen through the Lord’s helping hand. Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, email, texting, face to face, or a phone call, we can share the gospel.