Who Was Jose Hernandez?


He said his name was Jose Hernandez and he gave me his address. I knew both the name and the address were false the moment he told me, yet to be polite, I wrote both his name and residence down in my small notebook.

It was a typical day on the streets of the city for a couple of missionaries just outside La Plata, Argentina. My companion and I had been talking with people all day when I approached a middle-aged man and asked him if we could talk.  He listened for a short bit, then told me he would be happy to have us come by. He then gave me his name and his address. As he walked away I laughed to myself because the name he gave me was the same name of a small obscure town that was about 5 miles from where we lived. I dismissed the exchange and the encounter would have gone down like so many others I had experienced in the months before and after. Then several months later…

It was a rather difficult day for me and my companion and my notebook was now empty of people who had expressed interest in our message. The only name left was Jose Hernandez. I looked at my companion and said, “I know this is probably a wild goose chase, but let’s check this address out in the city of Jose Hernandez.”  We had to take a bus out to this rather obscure town, then walk a mile or so on a dirt road to get to the center of town. I had never visited that pueblo in the months I had been assigned there.  We finally found the address that had been given to me and clapped outside the humble door, rather than knock, as was the custom.  Imagine our surprise when the lady of the house who answered the door, looked at us and said, “Are you missionaries of the Mormon church?,” and then invited us in.

I was transferred out of that city that very week but within a month four members of the household accepted the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and were baptized in His name. The man who had given me this family’s address is still unknown and remains anonymous to this day. As a twenty year old missionary I finished the entry in my journal that day, dated, February 8, 1977, with these words:

“This family is fantastic and I know the Lord opened the way to find them. He helps us if only we will look hard with real desires.  Miracles never cease!”

I believe the Lord works miracles in bringing the gospel of Christ to those who are prepared and have a sincere desire to find the truth. Small miracles happen daily in our lives. Sometimes they come in strange ways, like being given a false address that turns out to be the home of someone who is searching for light and truth.  Who was Jose Hernandez? For me, he represents every tender mercy that God can give to man and that small miracles can be produced by Him, under any circumstance, place or time. “Have miracles ceased?…Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.” (Moroni 7:29)

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