We had an interesting Sunday several weeks ago. Alan figured it was time to start visiting other wards and stakes in our mission to get to know the local leaders better. We prayed Sunday morning, quickly and blindly chose a ward to attend from the LDS.org meeting-house locator, grabbed a taxi and off we went. Turns out we ended up at a Stake Center, Rosario Oeste Stake. The Echesortu Ward was having Ward Conference. President Zacarias had us sit on the stand and told us we had 2 min to bare our testimony's (Alan would translate mine, of course I had no idea of what was going on). Well, the meeting ran long and they had 1 min for Alan's testimony.
After the meeting, President Zacarias, the Stake President, pulled us into his office and told us that they recently inherited 3 branches about 50-70 miles away that are struggling with activity and severe un-employment. He said on his last visit, he felt inspired to promise that he would send help although he had no idea how or what. He said we were the answer to his prayers. Although we only had a few minutes with the Stake Presidency, we quickly explained that the new Self-Reliance initiative is coming to his stake in December. (waiting for the Spanish translations, printing, and shipping) He said, “We can’t wait til December! They can’t wait!" Long story short, we met with one of the branches this last Sunday with the Stake President and his first councilor! President Zacarias has a heightened sense of urgency on the matter of self-reliance and called Hermano Gavioli to be the Stake Self Reliance leader. He is being trained at our center this week.
We learned after the meeting that Alan's original mission president, President Righi, was coincidentally in the congregation. It had been 42 years since they had seen each other without any contact. He turns 90 later this year. He didn't remember Alan, they only met once on Alan's last day in Argentina for his exit interview (Pres. Righi had just arrived as the new Mission Pres.).