Testimony of Neil Steede
On Sunday April 3, 2005 I climbed the hill with my group of friends in great
anticipation.  My anticipation was based on the use of the
1976 photograph of
the hill as well as the recent translation of the “Proclamation Tablet.”  Moreover,
for the first time I had solid agreements from several main epigraphers to help
with future translations in the event we were to find ancient writings.  I felt
extremely confident that this would be the year that we would find the plates
within the Hill Cumorah.  Now, on this day we were having our first prayer
meeting and communion service in preparation for the work that we were about
to commence.  As we held the first segment of our meeting we went our separate
ways to meditate.

The first distraction from my meditation was Fred Elliott telling me that
policemen were coming up the hill.  I was not overly concerned for I had just
been asking my Lord to give me some guidance of what to do.  Just as I was
standing to go see the police Forrest Liggett stepped in front of me.  I could see
the sphere of the Holy Spirit in which he was enveloped, and as he approached
me I became enveloped in the same sphere.  Forrest took me by the shoulders
and, freely weeping, told me that he had been praying for me and that everything
would be fine.  I cradled his face in my hands and I said, “I know,” for I felt the
power of my Master arising within me.

I turned to begin my descent and before I took two steps there were several
officers around us.  I asked them what they wanted and they said the Mayor
wished to talk to me.  I responded, “What took him so long?”  As we began
descending two things happened simultaneously; first, my communication to
the group to stay where they were and not worry as I had been invited to visit the
mayor.  At the same time I realized that the policemen that were taking me were
unaware that I was lame and legally blind.  I was about to communicate this to
the policemen when Forrest stated that he was going with me.  He said, “You
cannot have all the fun by yourself.”  And I loved him.

While going down the hill the police were very demanding as to the route to be
taken.  Not wanting to set a mood that they had total control, I would
deliberately take different paths.  Forrest comprehended and assisted me at
every turn.  But, this caused some consternation among the police.  As we
walked down, Forrest and I realized that there were ten to eleven police officers
and I asked them, “Wouldn’t one of you have been enough for an invitation?”  
And then I made a slight jeer by saying, “Did it take eleven of you to get a blind

Finally we reached the road where there were two pick-up trucks waiting for us.  
We were told to get into the back of separate trucks to keep us apart.  I also told
them to keep more guards on Forrest since I wouldn’t be so hard to chase down.  
They turned on their emergency lights and sped to town.  While in the back of
the truck the two guards that watched me immediately began to question me.  
After a moment or two one of the guards pointed to the corner of the truck in
which I was sitting and there was a large rat walking toward me.  I felt as though
the guard was testing my fear factor, but I immediately felt the confidence that
this animal would do me no harm and this animal continued walking toward
me.  I extended my hand and the animal walked right up on it and as it turned
out it was a possum and not a rat.  The guard seemed somewhat surprised as I
cradled the possum and the possum immediately went to sleep.

Upon arrival at the police station I carefully laid my sleeping friend in the corner
of the truck bed and though my guards indicated that I should get out of the
truck by using the tailgate, I opted to go over the side.  They began to indicate the
direction I should go, but the ground was very broken and rough and I was
unsure as to where to step.  I repeatedly asked one of the guards to lead me
instead of pushing me as he was.  Finally, another guard had compassion and
could see that I needed a guide.  And so, he extended his hand and led me
through the ruble, up the steps and to the main police office.  Once inside the
office, two chairs were set square against the wall for Forrest and I to set in.  I
didn’t care for the formality so I pushed the interrogator’s chairs to the wall and
moved Forrest and mine to the center of the room.

The Chief of Police wanted to know where we were from, who we were, and what
business we had on the Hill.  We explained that we had no papers with us but
that our tourist permits were in our hotel in Tuxtepec some forty miles away.  
Soon he got tired of asking the same questions and once he comprehended that
Forrest could speak no Spanish and could be of no help he left the room.  Upon
returning, he was accompanied by the Mayor of Jalapa de Diaz, Alvaro Rafael
Rubio, and his assistant, Fecundo.  They began asking the same questions.  The
question most asked by the Mayor was, “What permit do you have to be on that
hill?”  To which I repeatedly answered the same, “My tourist permit into your
country allows me to go to any national forest and any private lands to which I
have permission.  So, it is my permit.”

The second in command most often asked the question, “Why did you bring
arms?”  To which I answered, “We did not.”  He asked, “Didn’t you shoot at the
hill?”  To which I replied, “No.”  This frustrated him extremely, so he would then
ask, “Weren’t you here last year at this same time?”  To which I answered, “Yes.”  
He then responded, “Ah ha.  So, it was you shooting at the hill.”  To which I
responded, “No.”  This cycle continued for about a half an hour.  At the end of
each cycle he would get mad and clinch his fist.  To Forrest I pointed out that
particular movement looked like Jay Leno.

Then the Mayor began questioning, asking what we were looking for.  To which I
responded, “Ancient sacred writings.”  He then responded, “You do not have an
archaeological permit.”  I then stated, “Since we can not yet prove the ancient
writings are there, I need no permit.  I am not digging.”  The Mayor would say
you need a permit and the cycle began again.  Fortunately, this cycle only lasted
about ten minutes.

By the time two hours had gone by Forrest and I had worn out five
interrogators.  And, the Mayor told me that we were under arrest until he could
contact the Mexican State Department.  I said, “Good.  Nice move.  Except…
(raising my index finger in the air) I don’t know if it is legal to arrest us on
nothing.”  He said, “You have no papers.”  I answered, “They are in our hotel.”  
Again, the cycle repeated for another five or ten minutes.  Now the Mayor also
using a Leno-like gesture told us to stay until he made a phone call.  Of course it
was Sunday evening and no one was answering the phone at the Federal office
he was attempting to contact.  So, he returned, again frustrated, and talked at
length in his native tongue of Mazatec to his second in command.

The Mayor sat down in front of me, leaned forward on his chair, with his hat
pushed far back on his head as though he was a good friend, and he said “Look
blondie, we will let you go, just do not come back.  The people of Jalapa do not
want you here.”  I began laughing and said, “You actually expect me to believe
that you went out into the City of Jalapa and took a vote of what the people
want?  You sir, do not know what the people of Jalapa want.  As soon as we leave
here we will go back up the hill.  And I don’t believe you have the right to tell us
we can not, since we have permission of landowners and are on Federal Reserve
land.  So, are you going to go with us to our hotel in Tuxtepec to see our
papers?”  He replied, “No, you will have to stay here tonight until Federal
Authorities come in the morning.”  To which I responded, “As I have said, you
have no right to arrest us without charges.  We have broken no laws.  Oh, excuse
me, I guess the laws of Jalapa are quite different than the laws of the rest of
Mexico and they allow no religious freedom.”  He replied, “No, it is not going to
be an arrest.  It will be like a house arrest.  You can go out to our village and have
a coke.  But, you can not leave the town.”  Once again I laughed and said, “I love
you politicians.  You always have new terminology.  You act like arrest and house
arrest are completely different.”  I patted him on the shoulder and said, “My
friend, I would think carefully about what you are doing.”  In my opinion, he did
not care for my advice and left the room along with all other officials.

It had now been approximately three hours and I said to Forrest, “Well, let’s test
it and let’s go get a coke.” As we were about to walk out we were surprised to find
Jerry Stoner and Mike Brown who had finally left the hill and come looking for
us.  We explained our situation and turned to tell the police that here were our
friends who could go back to the hotel to get our papers.  But, the police said no
and that they (Mike and Jerry) were now under arrest also and could not leave
the town either.  We all laughed and I told Mike and Jerry they were guilty by
association.  All this cheerfulness bewildered our guards.  We walked out the
front door across the patio and into the Town Square.  No one did anything to
stop us.

We went to the only open restaurant and had a soda.  Of course, the local store
proprietor was curious as to what had transpired.  We told the story at great
length to the locals who had gathered, and one man said, “Don’t they know who
you are?  I remember when you were here on trial with Juan Carranza.  You
have been coming for many, many years?”  I was amazed and replied, “Yes.  For
thirty years.”  He then began to relate to me the stories and the legends of
Jalapa.  He knew of the three men who come annually to check-up on the
“National Treasury.”  He knew that no one could follow them.  He knew of the
many times that local people had accosted me when visiting the hill.  He knew
about the caves that I was looking for and in fact, knew about two of the
backpacks that were stolen just last year.  As he talked the crowd at the little four-
table restaurant began to grow, and a lady brought her niece who was about
seven years old.  The lady said, “She can speak English and help translate for you
if you need help.”  Indeed, the beautiful little girl spoke impeccable English
having lived in the United States for four years.

The crowd spilled over into the street in front of the little restaurant, and as we
sat there in a spirit of great amazement and joy, the doorway darkened with the
figure of a huge man who stood on the threshold.  He looked at us and said, “I
am Vincente, if they will not let you go, call me.  I will come.  I will help you.”  
And the clinching of his fists told us that he would fight for us.

At that point, I realized that we had overstayed the allotted time that the police
had given us and the four of us began to return to the palace.  The people in the
street and the restaurant advised us over and over to, “Go…go!”  Meaning they
wanted us to flee.  We were all touched by this outpouring from people we did
not know.  And, as we walked toward the municipal palace, even the patrons of
the local bar came out to tell us to, “Run…go!”  Mike and I looked to one another
and smiled and I said to Mike, “I don’t think we should take their advice.”  He
agreed.  But, we loved them deeply for their concern.

We arrived back at the palace and were met by the Police Chief and some of his
men.  We asked about the Mayor.  As though I was a child and could not speak
Spanish, the Chief replied, “Tomorrow…tomorrow.”  I asked, “Tomorrow?”  He
assured me that, "Yes, tomorrow the Mayor would meet with you."  I called over
my three companions for verification.  Again, I asked the Chief if we were free to
go and we would meet the mayor tomorrow.  He assured us over and over,
“Yes.”  The four of us began smiling and hugging each other.  As we began to
walk across the courtyard, a little old janitor stepped in front of me and said, “I
do not think you should go.  It is up to you.  You can go if you wish, but I do not
think you should go.”  I relayed this information to my companions.  I asked the
old man, “Is it not over?”  He said, “Do not go.”  I asked, “Can we not leave?”  He
said, “I would not.”

The four of us contemplated his words as we walked toward the truck.  We got
into the truck still talking and a policeman came over and asked where we were
going.  We answered that we were leaving, that it was over and that we planned
to return tomorrow.   We said that we were sure that the Police Chief had said to
go.  He Said, “Do not leave the town.”  And I said, “Where do we stay?”  He
shrugged and said, “Do not leave the town.”  I told my companions that I was
convinced that the old man and the young policeman were our friends trying to
tell us truth.

At that moment, a new man who we had not seen up to this time appeared.  He
was dressed in a florescent green shirt and he claimed to be the Secretary of
Ecology of Jalapa.  He claimed to know that we had come last year and shot arms
at the hill.  He used exactly the same terminology that the Mayor had used
several hours previously.  Something was wrong.  There was a belief among
these people that we had brought arms into the country and shot at the hill.  This
is now the second source we were hearing this from.  However, this green shirt
man was drunk and though he spoke with seeming authority he was
overbearing.  He kept repeating himself over and over.  As I walked away from
him he would follow me repeating the same things over and over.  Finally, as
luck would have it, the Police Chief and his truck with some of his men were
passing through the center of town.  We flagged him down and asked, “Are we
not free to go until tomorrow?”  He said, “Yes.”  We asked, “Can we not leave the
town.”  He replied, “No.  You must wait until we hear from the Federales.”  Now,
our sprig of hope seemed to die, yet we smiled as we walked back toward the
municipal palace once again, not looking forward to sleeping on the concrete
steps of the plaza building.

Once again, Green Shirt began to harass us, he claimed to know that we had
broken Federal laws and that he would see us in prison.  Finally, I told him to
“Leave me alone.”  And he said, “We have witnesses that you have done the
things I accuse of you.”  I said, “We did not have arms, so you did not see us do
that, in spite of what you claim.  Where are the witnesses?”  He answered that,
“They are from far away.”  I pushed further, “If they are from far away, as you
say, then how could they see what you claim they saw?”  Upon posing this
question, for the first time, Green Shirt had no answer.  Angered, he grabbed me
by the shirt and said, “I saw you.  I saw you do these things.”  I, of course, knew
he was lying, but also suspected him to be a great danger to us.  It was very
obvious that he fervently believed what he said and that he would go to any
length to convict us--even to the point of lying.  Again, Green Shirt grabbed me
by the arm, but this time one of the policemen who had been observing us could
seemingly take no more and he grabbed Green Shirt by the arms and began to
shout at him in their native tongue.  And, though we could not understand a
word, we knew that this policeman was berating Green Shirt terribly.  He
trembled as he shouted.  Other policemen stood behind him as if to support
what was being shouted and as he finished he pushed Green Shirt away and then
turned to us to say, “He should have nothing to do with this.  He is butting in
where he does not belong.  He has nothing to do here and he is nothing.  Do not
pay heed to him.”  I took the policeman by his arms and looked him in the eyes
and told him, “Thank you for protecting us.  You are our friend.”  He nodded,
and we walked across the palace plaza and sat down to decide what to do for the

As we sat under the clear night sky, some of the people from the restaurant,
including the proprietor, came to sit with us.  The proprietor spoke for all,
asking, “You are staying?”  I responded, “Yes.”  He said, “I knew you would.”  
And some of them began to settle for the evening as though they would
vigilantly sit with us all night.  Then our friend the proprietor pointed across the
courtyard and said, “The Mayor is back.”  I asked, “Is that normal?”  He
responded, “No.  He is never here on Sunday.”

A few moments later we were requested to go to the front of the palace.  There in
the dark shadows, as though it was being done in secret, the Mayor and his
helper stated that they would release us and that the Mayor’s private Secretary
would accompany us to Tuxtepec to see our papers and verify our documents
and tourist visas.  Of course, we smiled because we made this very suggestion at
the beginning of this adventure.  But, they then asked for one more thing, “Do
you know anything of medicine and of snake bites?”  In fact, we had two
members of our team who had medical training.  Forrest Liggett was one of
them.  I indicated this to the Mayor.  He informed us that they had a young girl
who was a snakebite victim and they thought she might be dying.  “Could you
please look in upon her before you leave?” they asked.  I translated this
information to Forrest.  Forrest’s immediate response was, “How long ago was
she bitten?”  They claimed it had been some three or four hours earlier.  
Immediately I chastised them for having waited so long in making their request.  
The spirit of cooperation between the municipal authorities and our group was
born at that moment.

Now, with great care, the police led Forrest and I about four blocks through the
dark night on the rough concrete and stone-embedded streets.  We arrived to a
very humble dirt floor home.  The family members hovered closely in worry over
a young girl who possibly had a light fever, and was totally limp yet conscious
and had an erratic pulse.  Upon examining the foot and leg, Forrest felt we
should take the girl to Tuxtepec where Tim Brown might be able to treat her
more effectively with the medic kit that was at the hotel.  The authorities
immediately agreed and the girl was taken to an awaiting taxi and accompanied
by her mother, father, and sister they followed us to the hotel in Tuxtepec.  At
the same time, next to the taxi, Forrest and I were led to where Jerry and Mike
were waiting with Jerry’s truck.  As we sped towards Tuxtepec with the taxi
following us with our critical patient, we noticed the taxi was being followed by
the police guard truck because we were still considered desperados.  We called
ahead to our group members at the hotel in Tuxtepec and advised them of what
was coming.  We further advised of the need to attend to our young patient,
Catalina, as soon as we arrived.  After racing to the hotel for forty-five minutes, I
could not be more proud of my fellow members of the Community of Christ as
each and everyone stood behind a chair on the outside stoop of the hotel
awaiting our arrival.  The ailing girl was helped to the chair.  There, Tim and
Forrest examined her together.  She complained of back pains, stomach pains,
and the pain at the bite which she had received on the instep of the left foot near
the big toe.

The parents had the prescriptions she had been given which had included an
anti-venom injection.  At this point Forrest and Tim knew that no more medical
treatment would be needed.  Tim said that he felt guided under the Spirit to say
that the back pain and the stomach pain were probably results of the venom
settling into the lower back.  We asked the parents if we could say a prayer for
Catalina.  They agreed without hesitation.  Then I asked if it was all right to
perform a lying on of hands?  With the help of Ron Van Fleet I explained where
this sacrament could be found in the New Testament.  After only a moment’s
hesitation, they again said yes.

I was sitting at her feet, cradling her swollen leg.  Forrest asked Jerry for a prayer
over the sacrament.  The entire group then joined hands and included the family
of Catalina and the Secretary of the Mayor in a circle around the young girl with
the Elders at her side.  With many of the members of the group kneeling, Jerry
Stoner then gave a prayer asking for the presence of healing angels at this
administration.  With this prayer complete, three men then applied the oil of
consecration and prayed for a complete healing for Catalina.  These men were
Ron Van Fleet, Mike Brown, and Forrest Liggett.  During this time it seemed as if
the entire group was surrounded by this bubble in which there was no time—as if
time stood still.  There was to my awareness, no traffic noise from the busy street
just a few yards away.

Upon completing the administration we stood and Ron thought to ask if they
have any other needs.  The family said no.  Ron then asked and I translated, “Do
you need any help with the medicines?”  They said, “Yes, please.”  I then looked
into the eyes of Catalina’s father and saw the total financial ruin that was there
for the anti-venom and other medicines had cost more than two thousand
pesos.  I turned to my family and I saw every single one moving to remove
money from pants pockets, shirt pockets, billfolds, purses.  One member pulled
out all the amount to cover the expenses, but it was agreed among all that
everyone who wanted should contribute. Since I was doing all the translating, I
became the focal point of the money collection.  I will never forget seeing the
money flow from hand-to-hand from all directions to be collected into my hands
and then passed to the trembling hands of Catalina’s father.  It was as though we
had all acted in one accord—as a community should.  More than enough money
was collected and given to the family to offset this unexpected, but necessary
expense.  We invited the family to stay at the hotel so as to avoid the drive all the
way back to Jalapa at this late hour.  They respectively declined and were soon

Very soon afterwards our group met for evening devotions.  Only at this time
were many of us caught up with everything that had happened that day.  We
rejoiced at how amazingly the Lord had opened every door for us, how He was
able to use each of us, and how grateful we were for having been a part of this
grand opportunity to have served.

That night I went to bed with a tremendous amount of joy because I knew that I
had stood this day as a soldier for my Christ.  I was able to testify of His work,
not to the fullest extent of my ability, but at least to the fullest extent of their
ability to withstand my testimony without branding me as a fanatic.  How little
did I realize that seeds had been planted this day that were only hours from
bearing fruit.  Thus ended our first day on the hill.  I tossed and turned for about
thirty seconds and was soon asleep.

Monday April 4, 2005 members of the group had decided to forgo breakfast
and try to arrive in Jalapa early in the day.  As we were about to step out of the
lobby, a man came up and held out his hand and said, “How are you?”  To whom
I replied, “Fine, how are you?”  He replied fine and then held his hand to Mike
Brown and the same niceties were exchanged.  During this time, Jerry Stoner
stepped toward me and said in a low voice, “That is the Mayor of Jalapa.”  Of
course, with my poor vision, I had not recognized him.  I immediately apologized
and asked if he remembered that we were to have a three o’clock appointment at
his office in Jalapa de Diaz that afternoon?  He replied, “Yes, but I have been
thinking about that.”  He had heard the report from his private Secretary about
the night before.  And, he stated that the father said that the girl was cured.  He
wanted to know if I could join him for breakfast right then in the hotel
restaurant to have an uninterrupted discussion.  “Of course,” I replied.

For the next two and one-half hours we sat at the table as the Mayor and his wife
and I talked.  He first asked if we could give other medical assistance to his
people.  He also requested to know about what we believe and why we believe it.  
Among the things discussed was our belief in Christ and that sacred writings will
be found in Hill Rabon in his community.  I told him about the Popol Vuh and
the Book of Mormon.  In fact, I asked him to read several versus concerning
Cumorah that our group had marked in a Spanish Book of Mormon.  Instead of
reading several versus he read about a chapter and a half, during which time I
could testify to his wife.  She requested help with used clothes for orphan and
poor children of her town.  I said I would see what I could do.  And then, I told
both of them about the story of the records that testify of Christ that are hidden
in their Hill Rabon.  I told them of the story of how the hill used to be called
Coxca (kosh-ka).  I told them of the story of the battles that occurred on the very
plains that they live upon today.  And, I told them of the weapons that their
people find, of the origins of how they came to be, and of how they have tested
positive for blood.  And, I told them that there would be a day when we would
find these things, and when that happened that I had written an agreement
between myself and himself, the Mayor of Jalapa, and the authorities of the
State of Oaxaca, for the excavation, translation, and dissemination of these
writings.  He asked, “What did you say on my behalf in this agreement?”  I
replied, “I have requested that no lands or private properties be harmed in any
way.  I also requested that a replica set of the writings be made and located in a
museum in Jalapa.  So that, Jalapa may benefit from the tourism.”  He said,
“Thank you, please speak for me.”  We parted best of friends and he who had
arrested me hours before now asked me to be his advocate.  He and his wife left
carrying a Spanish Book of Mormon and a copy of the textbook
Why I Believe in
the Historical Veracity of the Book of Mormon
that contained photos and maps
of Jalapa de Diaz.

Once again, we were preparing to leave for Jalapa and two reporters arrived and
asked for an interview.  I agreed and the interview lasted about half-an-hour and
almost half way through we were interrupted by two Mexican Officials.  The two
officials were from the State Department (Gobernacion—the most powerful arm
of the Mexican government).  They interrupted our interview by introducing
themselves with the flashing of credentials.  The reporters were immediately
ready to leave.  However, I told the two agents that I was really thrilled that they
had come, if they could please sit down I would be with them as soon as the
reporters were finished.  To my amazement, they sat down.

The reporters continued for some fifteen minutes that also gave ample time for
the Federales to hear our case.  Having completed our interview we all shook
hands with the reporters as they left.  Now, I turned to the Federales and asked
what I could do for them.  Their first question was, “Do you plan to sue the
Municipality of Jalapa de Diaz?”  After a chuckle, I assured them that I had no
such plans.  They stated that I and my friends had been arrested unjustly and
that we had a right to sue the municipality.  My question was, “What would I get
besides the municipal palaces’ stinky bathroom?”  In spite of their deadly serious
nature, they cracked smiles—the ice was broken.  I assured them that I and my
friends had been harmed in no way.  And that though we had been detained we
did understand that these were people trying to do their job correctly, and we
held no malice toward our new friends.  They asked if my friends felt the same
and Forrest, Mike, and Jerry, all present, all assured them in turn that there was
no intention to sue.

The next question was, “Do you plan to report this incident to your government
State Department?”  We simply replied, “No.  There are no plans to do any such
thing.”  At this point we spent another good hour going over the story again as
we had with the Mayor and the reporters, including my testimony of the records
of Christ we believe to be located in the hill and the local legends of the three
visitors to the hill.  At the end of which the two agents, whose names we have,
but will remain anonymous here, informed us to call them if we needed any
assistance in any way, shape, or form.  Moreover, their comment on the Coxca
agreement was that it seemed to be a wise document by protecting the people of
Jalapa.  Our group now had two more friends.  As they parted they told us “Vaya
con Dios,” meaning “go with God”—a statement rarely made by Mexican Federal
Government officials.

Once the restaurant had finally cleared of our visitors, our group then traveled
the one hour ride to Jalapa to visit with the community.  I had the opportunity to
meet with Fecundo, the second in command, as per the Mayor’s request made
earlier that morning.  Fecundo graciously received us at the police plaza, though
just the day before he had been our strongest accuser.  He had received
telephone communication from the Mayor and already knew of our reason for
the visit.  Fecundo then reported to us that Catalina’s father had told him that
Catalina was doing much better.  He stated that they had some four hundred
children with cataracts in the immediate area.  They were desiring our help with
this problem, as well as help with gathering used clothing for the children.

About this time we were joined by the Municipal Secretary of Health who
provided us with some detailed information about the population, and he asked
for assistance with dental issues and diabetic issues in addition to the cataract
problems we had already discussed.  We made clear that we could not promise
anything, but we did agree that we would do whatever we could to see about
obtaining the help they were seeking.  After listening and noting all their needs, I
made the clear point that our group would be returning to the hill on Tuesday
morning, just as I had told this to the Mayor that same morning at breakfast.  In
neither case did I receive the least amount of opposition concerning our right to
return to the hill.

During our visit with Fecundo concerning the health issues of the town, the rest
of the group had gathered in the center of Jalapa to visit with the people.  Scott
Norwood had brought an abundance of balloons that immediately attracted a
large crowd of children that Joseph Mangum helped in keeping entertained with
his hand puppet.  Fred Elliott and Chad Hensley assisted Scott in keeping the
children at bay, but during the hour-long meeting we had at the police station
the crowd of curious locals at the Town Square had grown very large.  We
thought it best to move on and visit Catalina, so we ceased with the balloon-
animal-making and our entire group walked down the hill to Catalina’s home.

Upon arrival we were richly and warmly welcomed by all members of Catalina’s
family, but Catalina was not participating.  She was still in bed.  We each took a
turn to visit with her.  Each of us, with me as interpreter, visited with her as she
smiled weakly.  My brother Tim Brown came to me in a lowered voice and said
that she needed to get up and move around or she would continue to feel the ill
effects of the venom as it settled in her back.  Once again, without any words, our
group acted as a single entity, because without any verbal communication I
stepped toward the room and was given space to enter.  Of the two visitor’s
chairs, one was empty for me to rest my cane and I sat on the foot of Catalina’s
bed.  Somehow everyone in our group understood that something was about to
happen, because they all stopped asking me to translate for them.  I began to
speak to Catalina in tones that were soothing and that only she and her mother
and father in the immediate vicinity could hear.  I began speaking to her
concerning the pains she was having in her back and stomach.  I lay on the bed
beside her and imitated being her.  As she lay on her back, I explained that the
heavy venom and medicine would settle in that part of her body.  This is what
was causing the back pain.  I explained that she must drink much water and
stand up for this medication to be flushed from her body with the venomous
poisons.  I acted out the flushing of the body and demonstrated how the
medication would flush with the water.  I indicated to her that she must walk
around the small home four times an hour.  I told her that drinking water and
eating food would help carry out the venom from her body—the exercise would
help it flush.  And then, I leaned close and I said, “Catalina—I know that you felt
the strength of the blessing of God last night in the laying on of hands that we
performed.  But, listen carefully to what I say.  God will only work miracles with
those who will try to help themselves.”  I could see Catalina’s parents leaning
closely over her shoulder to capture every word.  And then I said, “Catalina, it is a
miracle of God that we are communicating now.”  For the first time she looked
deeply into my eyes, smiled and weakly nodded that she agreed.  I said, “You can
feel the Spirit of the Lord in this very conversation.”  She nodded again.   “This
miracle did not happen just with God.  I spent many years learning how to speak
this language.  God is using that work that I did for the miracle of our
communication now.  The same is true with yourself.  The miracle of God is
there, but you must eat, drink, and walk for His miraculous healing power to be
effective.”  During that conversation I could see the light come into her face and I
leaned back and pretended to look out the window.  Smiling, I said, “Catalina,
there are many young men out there with flowers waiting to see you walk
again.”  She laughed.  I said, “There must be fifty young men out there.  Let’s
walk.”  She got up and went out into the sunshine.  There stood Joseph with his
puppet, I indicated the puppet to Catalina and said, “Oh, I am sorry, I must have
miscounted.  There are not fifty, there is only one, and there he is (indicating the
puppet that Joseph was holding).”  For the first time I heard her laugh and it
sounded like wind chimes.  This in turn caused all of her family to begin to laugh
and we all celebrated with happiness and tears.  They shared their joy with us in
gifts of sodas and gave our two ladies handmade embroidered tortilla covers.  We
hugged one another as we departed, wishing her well, and making our way back
to the square.  Most of the group returned to the vehicles and then to Tuxtepec.  
Forrest and I remained in town for a little while waiting for the landowner, Senor
A, to return to his home later that afternoon.

Forrest and I went to a store in town that was owned by the landowner's wife.  
There we found the owner and his wife and we then proceeded to gain
permission yet again this year for access to the hill through his fields.  As we
conversed, Senor A began inquiring about our beliefs.  Being an educated person
he could not understand why we thought that the polytheistic Mayas could
possibly ever have been Christians.  Once again, I began telling the story of the
relationship between the Popol Vuh, the Book of Mormon, and the Hill
Cumorah.  He was indeed aware of the finding of many weapons in the area.  He
was also aware of the legends of sacred writings being hidden in the hill.  So, he
was concerned that if these things were found, what would happen to his land
that gives access to this area.  My response was to inform him, as I had done the
Mayor, about the Coxca agreement.  As with the Mayor, I tried to make clear that
it was my attempt at keeping the peoples possessions and land rights in tact.  At
this point he agreed and requested that I also become his advocate in the event
of such a discovery.  This seems strangely reminiscent of the event two days
before when we visited Senor J to gain permission for access to his land that lies
adjacent to Senor A, and is necessary for us to use for access to the hill.  Senor J
had received Mike Brown and I on Saturday with extreme warmth and he said,
“You do not need to come every year to ask permission.  You may use my land as
you wish, because you have always protected me and my belongings.”
The day closed with most of the group packing the items they needed for the
climb up the mountain on Tuesday.

Most of
Tuesday April 5, 2005 was spent with the logistics of moving
backpacks, water, equipment, food supplies as well as people up the hill to base
camp and cave camp.  Base camp is located about halfway between the road and
the foot of the cliffs on the skirts of Cumorah, and it usually takes a newcomer a
good hour-and-a-half to climb the steep vertical incline from the road.  It is
accessible through several open fields and lies on a relatively level area at the
edge of the jungle.

Cave camp is located at the base of the cliffs where we believe a plugged cave
entrance exits.  The pathway to this camp is through a much rougher jungle
terrain.  Every year this pathway must be reestablished with the use of
machetes.  As the pathway winds upward the incline gets steeper yet.  The
traveler is required to climb at least forty-five minutes through and over several
rock falls with some boulders easily reaching megalithic proportions, finally
ending on a pile of rocks at the base of the cliffs where our camp is established.  
We established both camps for the sake of communication and supply lines.

Wednesday April 6, 2005 began with great anticipation because it was to be
the first full day of exploration.  Some twenty-five years ago I had been led to an
archaeological site which I came to believe to be Mormon’s tomb.  While that
point has never been proved or disproved, I still desired to again find this site I
had seen so many years ago.  So, early in the afternoon Mike and I began to
travel westward on the road and inquire of people who might know of someone
who would have knowledge concerning the existence of this stone marker.  Most
of the people were afraid to talk to us.  Finally I asked who is the oldest person in
the area?  I was told it was Rufino Ignacio.  I was told that he was about a
hundred years old.  Upon hearing the name Ignacio, a very ancient, dusty
memory chip in my brain lit up, for the name had a very familiar ring.  Could this
be the same person who had led me so many years before?  I went to seek him

Upon arrival to his collection of huts, I met a man who was about forty-five years
old.  He welcomed Mike and me, and we sat on his porch.  I began to tell him
that I thought that the Ignacio that lived here who was very old could possibly
have been the guide who led me years before.  The man stated that indeed his
father lived there and he was seventy-four years old.  If I wished I could ask
him.  I said okay.  He called for his father and a man emerged from the rear of
the hut.  He came walking toward us with a very bad limp.  He wore no shirt and
I could see that he had a pacemaker.  He sat down and we began to converse.

I asked him if he remembered guiding someone more that twenty years ago up
to a place where there was a very ancient standing stone?  This stone had Jalapa
de Diaz and some early year in the 1600s carved on it.  Rufino just looked at me.  
I could tell he was waiting.  So, I continued.  I said, ”The standing stone was on a
low platform.  To the left was a creek.  The creek was partially blocked which
created a whirlpool where the ‘jaicara’ always spins.”  His eyes brightened, for
indeed there had been such a whirlpool.  I added that there was a stone bridge
across a stone creek.  A smile spread across his face and he said, “My friend.  It is
you.  You describe everything perfectly.  It was you and I, and that was before the
road was here.  There was only a horse trail.”  I responded, “Yes, it was all mud.”  
We both laughed and slapped each other on the leg.  Then he said, “It was two
years before the road was paved.  That means it was twenty-three years ago.”  I
thought to myself that he was telling me that the two big events in his life were
his leading me to the stone marker and the road being paved.  I asked him, “Do
you remember where that stone is?’  He said, “Of course.”  His son said no, my
father is not as strong as he used to be.  Let us do it tomorrow morning, then we
can do it in the cool of the morning about 7 and it will not be so hard on my
father, we can take him by horse.

I agreed and then Rufino said, “That land now belongs to the head of the union.  
I know there will be no problem for me, but we should get permission for you.”  
My response was, “We can bring a policeman from Jalapa to assure them that it
is okay with the Mayor.”  Rufino agreed.  Then, Mike and I hotfooted it to town
in our van to the police headquarters which we knew so well.  There we informed
the commander in charge of our intended trip in the morning.  The commander
stated that he would prefer to do it this same evening at 5 PM.  That gave us only
two hours to get everything ready so we had to check with Rufino to make sure
that everything was okay with him.  We drove back, asked Rufino and his son
and they immediately agreed.  Then on our way back to town we stopped at the
gate entrance to the hill to radio Chad Hensley and Kevin Brown to come down
to join us in this visit to the archaeological site.

At that point we drove back to town and got the police.  It took time to make the
arrangements.  By 4:30 we left the Town Square and headed back toward the
campsite.  When we arrived at the gate of the landowner, Kevin and Chad were
ready to join us and we traveled on to Rufino’s home.  There we acquired Rufino
while his son went to get the horse.  We drove about half a mile down the road to
the place where we parked the police vehicle and our own to access the hill and
make the ascent to the stone marker.  Decades before it had been jungle, but
now it was mostly cleared for pasture.

Unfortunately, not having my climbing boot on, I had to stay while I watched the
entire group climb the 300 feet to where the site is located.  About five minutes
later Rufino’s son arrived with the horse.  He asked where his father was and I
answered that he had already taken the group up to the site.  The son shook his
head and led the horse through the gate and up the hill.  About a half an hour
later, the whole group came down.  They had found the stone and taken
photographs.  Rufino and I sat on the guardrail at the edge of the road.  I asked
him, “How do you feel my friend.”  He replied, “Just a good as I did when I took
you the first time.”  I said, “You know life is funny.  We both met many years ago
because of this stone and we have had very different paths during the
interceding years, but when the stone brings us back together more that twenty
years later we are both crips.  But the mileage between has been much good
mileage.”  Rufino smiled and said, “Yes, much good mileage.”  We hugged each
other and I said, “Here is two days wages.”  At first he did not wish to accept.  I
said, “Please take it my friend.”  It was wonderful to know that we had only
previously spent some three or four hours together we had established a bond
that had remained in tact for more the twenty years.  Though no religious things
were ever mentioned this bond was a Christian bond.

After Rufino and I had parted ways I had a chance to view photos of the stone on
the way back to Tuxtepec.  Things had changed over twenty years.  The five-foot
high stone now only stood about thirty inches tall for much jungle deposit had
accumulated around it.  The creek was completely stagnate, and the stone bridge
(a simple stone slab) was still in tact, but spanned an empty creek bed.

That night after devotions I thanked my Lord once again for the great blessings
of great friendships, and for the guide and adventures and discoveries, and the
miracles yet to come.  Of course, I expressed hope that this being the 6th of April
that we might find something on the hill that I would find out about tomorrow.

Thursday April 7, 2005 was the only day under 100 degrees because we had
a cloud cover with a light mist.  As we traveled toward Jalapa from Tuxtepec,
Mike informed me that he had received an e-mail from Tim Cox.  The e-mail
suggested to Mike that besides diabetes, the large numbers of child cataracts
could to be due to exposure to venereal disease at birth.  After Mike’s comments
it occurred to me that something we might do to help us understand the reason
for the unusual numbers of child cataracts could be to test the children and their
parents for diabetes.  Doing this would help take us a step closer to answering
their medical needs.  So upon arriving to where the group was camped, we
radioed up to the camps to see what they needed.  Since no needs were reported
Mike and I went into town to offer the Mayor this suggested help for diabetes

We explained to the Mayor that the idea would be to test the four to five hundred
cataract children in their community for sugar diabetes.  The Mayor totally
agreed and had us coordinate with Fecundo and the Secretary of Health.  We set
the time to be at 4 PM on Tuesday April 12th.  We made it perfectly clear that the
people were to understand that this was not a function of the municipality, nor
was it associated with any political party.  They agreed to this reasoning.

Friday April 8, 2005 the cave camp group continued exploring for routes to
the cave on the cliff.  Mike and I went directly into Jalapa to make final
arrangements for the proposed blood testing for diabetes.  It was a busy day at
the municipal office.  We found Fecundo and the Secretary of Health and went
with both to wait in line to speak with the Mayor.  The Mayor had some type of
meeting going on and he came out of his office to see me.  I then told him that I
was making sure that it was clear that we wanted no political motivation involved
with the blood testing.  He agreed.  We told him that we preferred not to have the
blood testing inside of the municipal building.  The Mayor then took us
downstairs to the Secretary of Health’s office where we began making final
arrangements.  Cordially, the Mayor excused himself to return to his meeting.  
As we discussed the planning of the events and where to locate the site for
testing, some ten minutes passed.  Suddenly, Alvaro (the Mayor) showed up
again and told me, “I have someone who speaks English in my office.”  I
supposed that he needed help with a translation.  So, Mike and I, having finished
our business, accompanied him to his office.

Upon entering his office we found ten very stoic gentlemen.  We were
introduced to each and realized that each was a Mayor representing the ten
villages surrounding Jalapa de Diaz.  The Mayor from San Andres could speak
perfect English—he had studied at the University of Louisiana.  He immediately
informed us that we could not bring doctors to Jalapa without a permit from the
Federal Health Department.  His demeanor was antagonistic.  I asked, “So what
is the problem?  I wish to clarify.  I never said that any of us were doctors.  None
of us are going to prescribe any medicines or perform any operations.”  Once
again, he very harshly announced that we had to have a permit from the Federal
Health Department.  Of course, his whole conversation with me was in English.  
I perceived that this was to show off his English speaking abilities in front of the
other Mayors.  I also perceived that he wanted to demonstrate that he was more
knowledgeable than the others and that he would protect them.  In a glance, I
could tell that “our” Mayor of Jalapa was a wallflower.  I could see that he had no
intention of entering into a verbal confrontation with the more adept Mayor of
San Andres.  I realized that I had to go into defense mode.  This called for my
Master’s protection.  My diversionary tactic while I prayed was to change the
subject.  First, I suggested that we all go get a cup of coffee and then talk this
over.  Immediately, Mike and I were brought coffee.  No one else had anything.   
As the coffee was being served, I turned to the Mayor and began to talk to him as
though no one else was in the room.  As I pointed to the Mayor of San Andres
with my thumb I said, “He reminds me of the Federales of Gobernacion that
came to visit me on Monday.  I shouldn’t be laughing about this (as I began
laughing); they wanted to know if I wanted to sue Jalapa de Diaz for false arrest
(I chuckled again).  I told them that if I sued Jalapa all that I would probably
obtain would be the municipality’s very stinky bathroom.”  All Mayors, including
Alvero, laughed.  The only exception was the Mayor from San Andres who spoke
English.  My final comment was, “So if you wish this guy to do the medical
assistance that is fine by me.  He obviously thinks he knows much more than
anyone else here.”

Immediately, the Mayor of San Andres rose to his feet and now in Spanish, so all
would understand perfectly, “Before anyone can do any medical assistance one
must have a permit.”  Sitting in my chair with my coffee cup in one hand and my
cane in the other I pounded the floor with my cane and exclaimed, “Echo.”  (This
is a Spanish expression for complete agreement).  He said, “All of the doctors
and nurses that come must have permits.”  I pounded the floor and said, “Echo,”
cheering him on.  He said, “No kind of medical assistance can occur at anytime
without such a permit.”  I pounded the floor with each syllable and I said, “Echo
and echo again.”  He was now becoming perplexed because I was very strongly
agreeing with everything he said.  And, now with a weaker voice he said, “And
now a permit is the first thing you need.”  As I pounded the floor I loudly
answered, “I do not echo that.”  I very calmly turned to Alvero and said, “Your
short friend does not know what he is talking about, but if you wish him to do all
this it saves me much work and I appreciate that.”  And, in unison, Mike and I
stood to leave.  Immediately Alvero said, “No, please wait.”  The stunned Mayor
of San Andres said somewhat weaker, but unsure, “I am not wrong.”  I turned to
look at the Mayor of San Andres with as much fire as I could muster, “Tell me, to
obtain a permit what do you need?”  Emboldened, the San Andres Mayor
answered, “The curriculums and the names of the doctors and nurses.”  I said,
“Ah-ha.  Tell me.  For the permit, do you have to report the amount of money to
be spent?”  He puffed out his chest and said “Of course.”  And then I smiled, I
turned my back on him and I said, “I rest my case.  Before you get the permit you
must raise the money.  Before you raise the money you must know what doctors
and nurses are coming.  Before the doctors and nurses come there must be a
demonstrated need.  Do I make myself clear?”  They all agreed, even the San
Andres Mayor.  I added, “There for, do what you will.  If you can build the fire
that I hope to build to get these people to come, fine.”  Immediately, all Mayors,
among themselves, began saying that I was correct—even the Mayor from San
Andres.  Then in unison they asked for us to help all of them also, even the
Mayor from San Andres.  My response was, “My first obligation is to my friend
Alvero, if this works out then we can see if this can work for the others.  I am not
making a promise, I am only attempting to help.”  As we began shaking hands of
every as we left the San Andres Mayor said in a low voice, “Thank you, you were

Alvero then touched me on the shoulder.  As I turned he said, “Share with them
some of the things that you shared with me about the hill.”  From his window we
could see the hill and pointing to it I said, “In the hill are sacred writings that will
change everything that is around you.  Those writings are Christian in nature.  
They speak of Christ.  Those writings will create a great mass of people who will
want to know.  All of this will overwhelm you.”  Alvero said, “Tell them about the
streets.”  I continued, “I told Alvero that even if you had ten cars a day that
visited for tourism it would completely clog your cities.  This is true of all of your
towns.  But, if the Coxca agreement is in force you will have much support.”  We
then spent about twenty minutes talking about the Coxca agreement.  All the
Mayors then invited us to examine artifacts and archaeological sites in their
areas to help further develop the details of the Coxca agreement.  To a Mayor,
without exception, we were requested to be advocates for all of the villages
present with dealing with the forthcoming of the plates from Hill Cumorah.  
Mike and I left in marvel at what we had just experienced.  We fully realized that
events in the future may happen differently than what we presently foresee, but
we know that the Spirit of the Lord was in that room and made these people
realize that they could entrust us with their future.  This was very humbling.  
Then Mike and I headed back to the gate entrance to the hill.

Shortly after our arrival at the hill the exploration team suffered an accident.  
The accident consisted of an avalanche of loose rock high on the hillside in
which Forrest Liggett got struck on the thigh by a twenty-pound boulder that
had fallen about forty feet.  Though the blow knocked him out, fortunately his
femur was not broken.  I immediately sent two locals up to the cliffs to assist him
off the hill.  During the last half of his descent I climbed to meet him about
halfway to base camp.  From the point that we met arm in arm, both on cane, we
both “cripped” down to the vehicles together.  Fortunately, this was the worst
injury of our whole expedition.  We returned to Tuxtepec with Forrest in hand.

Saturday April 9, 2005 Mike and I went to the Hill and maintained contact
throughout the day with the expedition teams as they finished scouring the side
of the mountain looking for any possible avenue to the caves we had identified.  
At about 3 PM we left for Tuxtepec, planning to return the next day for the
Sunday communion service.

At around 7 PM Tim Brown and Fred Elliott came into the hotel and surprised us
greatly and reported that some backpacks and a medical kit had been stolen from
off the hill….again.  We had them eat and shower and when they felt energetic
enough we made the trip to Jalapa that night.  We left Tuxtepec at around 9 to 9:
30 PM arriving in Jalapa between 10:30 and 11 PM.  Upon arriving we drove
directly to the police station and reported the theft of our belongings.  I wrote a
letter to the Mayor stating that without the medic kit we would not have the
supplies to be able to fulfill our obligation of blood testing as planned for
Tuesday afternoon.  The Police Chief was visibly upset.  He said the Mayor will
know first thing in the morning.  I said, “If I was the Mayor I would want to know
tonight.”  As we walked away I overheard the Police Chief say to his men, “They
keep giving and giving and the people steal from them….”

We then went back to the gate to the hill to communicate to Base Camp as to
what had happened.  While we were doing this, the Police Chief did indeed go to
a party where the Mayor was.  He reported the incident and the Mayor
commanded all the police force to immediately search for the thieves.  At this
party also was a newspaper reporter.  The newspaper reporter overheard the
conversation and accompanied the police in their search until well after
midnight.  That newspaper report can be found elsewhere.  We (Tim, Fred and I)
began our trip back to Tuxtepec for the night.  On the way back we passed two
trucks full of police with rifles going out to begin their search.  That evening we
were still all safe and we rested well.

Sunday April 10, 2005 in the morning we arrived at the hill.  Our party
consisted of Dorris Mangum, Carol Brown, Tim Brown, Fred Elliott, Mike Brown
and me, and we all begin our ascent to meet the ones who were still on the hill at
Base Camp.  Upon our arrival and a short rest, and many hugs and hellos, we
began our Sunday Service.  The service was to consist of communion, prayer and
testimony.  The Spirit was present in power and strength throughout the
service.  Several gave powerful testimonies.  I recounted many of the miraculous
happenings that I have listed here.  After our service we all felt completely
renewed.  After visiting with our friends for a while, some of us began our
descent, while others returned to Cave Camp.  We arrived at our vehicles and
went to Jalapa to see if there was any news concerning our stolen items.  There
was none.

Upon arrival at the hotel desk in Tuxtepec, I received several newspapers that
carried the story about our backpacks being stolen.  The story included a quote
from the Police Chief stating that we had saved a girl’s life that had been snake
bitten.  The second quote in the paper was from Jalapa’s Mayor who said, “These
are good people who have come to help us.  It is a terrible thing that has
happened.”  I also received a phone call from the reporter who had written the
story.  He wished to have an interview.  We agreed to have it the next morning.

Later that evening we had our nightly devotions.  Mike and I sat in our room as
Mike wrote and sent the daily e-mail.  As almost every night we talked about the
events that had transpired thus far and I realized that if we put the money into
buying the glucose testing strips that we could still provide the blood testing of
the children we had promised.  With the new plan, I slept soundly.

Monday April 11, 2005 after we finished our interview with the newspaper
Mike and I hurried to Jalapa, found the Mayor, and told him of our new plan so
that we could still test the children.  He seemed thrilled.  He immediately called
Fecundo, his second in command, to relay the news.  Fecundo then took us to
the Secretary of Health.  The Secretary of Health then took us to the Health
Center where we met with the Mayor’s wife.  There we again set up all the details
for Tuesday.  As we turned to leave we ran into our new friend, the Mayor of San
Andres.  He greeted us warmly.  He then stated that he had heard that we had
saved a girl’s life that had been bitten by a venomous snake.  He requested that
we visit a girl from his own village who had just been bitten and taken to
Tuxtepec for medical assistance.  We agreed to do this.  And after cordial good-
byes we left the Health Center.  After leaving I commented to Mike, “Isn’t our
Master wonderful?  The very man who tried to stop us from blood testing at the
meeting of the ten Mayors is now asking us to work a miracle with his people.  
Very apparently, his heart has been changed.”  Mike agreed and we both drew
strength from this knowledge.

Now we went to the gate of the entrance to the hill and hired locals to help our
people begin to break camps and bring all our supplies off the hill.  By 5 PM our
entire group—lock, stock, and barrel—were off the hill and heading toward

That evening at devotions we all expressed great gratitude to our Master for
having protected us.  We also expressed extreme gratitude for the many miracles
wrought, for the many opportunities to testify, and for the opportunity for each
and every one of us to have been used for His purposes.

After devotions several of us traveled to the General Hospital in Tuxtepec to look
in on the snake bitten girl from San Andres as we had promised the Mayor
earlier that day.  For all our efforts to locate her, the staff at the hospital could
not help us in finding the young lady; either she had already checked out, or we
had been sent to the wrong hospital.  We traveled back to the hotel, bade each
other goodnight and all slept well.

Tuesday April 12, 2005 we received the newspaper article from the interview
I had granted the previous morning.  The article was lengthy, comparatively
speaking, and the facts were well represented.  The group spent the morning
relaxing and getting ready for the afternoon we planned to spend with the people
of Jalapa.  We began to gather at about 3 PM in downtown Jalapa.  The
policemen had not yet found our packs, but the officials had kept their word, and
while somewhat disorganized they provided table and chairs on the plaza outside
the palace library.  Joseph began entertaining with his puppet and Scott began
making his balloon wonders.  We began taking the blood test and not one blind
child was brought.  The municipal authorities had fallen down on their job of
informing the population.  We tested approximately thirty-five people, and
though the testing was welcome by those who were tested, it did not accomplish
the original goal.

Never the less, the spirit in the center of town was great.  The bonding with the
people was intense.  Here, I will relay only a few of the wonderful comments we
received that day.
“Thank you for coming.”
“God bless you.”
“I appreciate what you are trying to do for my children.”
“Thank you for helping us.”
“You are wonderful people.”
“Please come again.”
“Come to my home and eat.”
“May God always be with you.”

I had lengthy conversations with ten or fifteen people.  All were marvelous.  We
left the extra supplies with the Secretary of Health for the city, and then, since
we had been invited we went to visit Catalina one last time before we left.
Upon arriving at Catalina’s house we were once again welcomed warmly.  
Catalina was up and doing well.  There was no pain in her back or stomach.  She
had much less pain in her foot.  And, her smile and her cheer were as big as
ever.  We visited with the family and began to make the walk up the steep hill
back to our vehicles.  Throughout the several times that I had been at Catalina’s
home her Grandmother had watched me from the corners of the room.  I
suspect that Grandmother could not speak Spanish.  The last thing before I left,
Grandmother held my face in her hands, said something in Mazatec, kissed me
on the cheek and gave me a big toothless grin.  We needed no words to
communicate.  We were all satisfied on our travel back to Tuxtepec.

That night at devotions I recounted many of the blessings that our group had
received.  In thirty years of coming to this place, never have there been so many
profound human relationships initiated.  The Spirit has walked before me on
other occasions in this place, and has removed dangers from my pathway.  The
Spirit has allowed deep human love to occur between others and I in this area.  
The Spirit has protected me while being macheteed, or bound, or taken captive.  
The Spirit has protected me from jaguar, giant centipede, fer-de-lance, and
others.  The Spirit has walked both silently and quite loudly with me, but this
year was different from all the years before.

This year, the Spirit opened locked doors; tore down thick walls, opened closed
ears, and touched hardened hearts.  No Hollywood writer could have written the
dynamics and drama that was displayed before me during this week and a half.  
No one would believe scripts that would have a town ask a stranger to be its
advocate when fearing him only days before, much less ten towns; much less
members of the federal government.  All this and yet have the testimony of who
we are (Community of Christ) and what we believe (the plates in Hill Cumorah)
and the significance of the two published on the front page of the main
newspaper.  More people heard our testimony this year than in all the thirty
years before combined.  That, my brothers and sisters, is the Lord at work.