This has never been one of my favorite cities—not one I would choose to visit, were it not for an assignment. Some of my first impressions here many years ago were not favorable. The city is hard to navigate and not very attractive in some sections. But those things could be said of many cities.
Maybe it’s just the getting out of here that I don’t like. In our family, we often quote something our oldest daughter said when she was about 12 and frustrated by the maddening bureaucracy of a particular organization: “They may be slow, but they sure are inefficient.” That neatly describes the tedious and erratically applied steps for getting out of Honduras, with a high exit tax as a nasty surprise at the end.
In truth, I have no good reason to dislike Tegucigalpa. I ought to feel positive toward the place because I have met some outstanding Christians here who have treated me with love, and a couple of fairly significant spiritual experiences have happened for me here.
I relived one of them today, and that is what brought on these thoughts.
In December of 1964 as a new LDS missionary in Central America, I traveled from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to Tegucigalpa for a meeting with a man I upheld as a prophet and an Apostle of Jesus Christ. In that meeting, I learned for myself that he really was.
I sat across the desk from Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a one-on-one interview. He asked if there were anything wrong in my life that I needed to talk with him about. I gave him some flippant answer to the effect that I had only been in Central America one month–not long enough to get into any trouble. But at the moment I opened my mouth, I realized that Elder Romney was looking into my soul. If there had been anything wrong in my life, God, my Eternal Father, would have shown it to him. The Holy Spirit bore witness to me that this indeed was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today I did some interviewing in that same Church building. It could have been the same office, for all I know. I interviewed strong leaders from areas where congregations were small or nonexistent in 1964. I was impressed with their faith and ability. They are doing what they do as spiritual leaders with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Earlier this year, I felt the great longing of Latter-day Saints in Honduras for the eternal blessings that a temple of God would bring here, and their great joy when the new Tegucigalpa Temple was dedicated for their use. Decades ago, the first members from Honduras to visit a temple had to make the two-week round trip by bus to Mesa, Arizona. Later, the trip was to Mexico City, then Guatemala City. The blessing of a temple in their own country has been a long time in coming.
Tegucigalpa may not be one of my favorite cities, but I have reason to know it is home to some of Heavenly Father’s choice children. They have made being here this weekend worthwhile. May God bless them and their city.