By Valerie Ipson
When Sister Sara Trevino first arrived in Guatemala City as a missionary, no one was there to greet her. It turns out she wasn’t expected until a month later, and so, from the very beginning, Sara felt like Heavenly Father was teaching her to adapt quickly to any situation.
Sara, a member of the Augusta Ranch First Ward, Desert Ridge Stake when she received her call, says she learned patience even before leaving, as her papers were submitted in January, but, strangely, her call was not received in the mail until May. Her departure date was set several months after that—in October. She wondered about the 10-month wait to begin her mission, but trusted in Heavenly Father’s timing.
That timing put her in a tiny town with a new companion from South America, six months before Sister Trevino was to return home. There, on the first day in their new area, they were kidnapped by professional kidnappers when they arrived at what they thought was to be an appointment to teach the gospel.
Sara’s missionary service up to that point had not been typical. Every transfer after the first was an “emergency change.”
“Because of the choices of others, I was moved by the mission president,” she says. One day she received her transfer, and the very next day it was changed.
While she appreciated the trust the president had in her, with so many emergency changes, Sara often wondered if she was serving in the right place. She was always being “put somewhere,” different than originally planned.
In each area, she taught and baptized, enjoying the work so fully that she was recognized for her positive attitude and her ability to be obedient and still have fun.
It was when she was blindfolded and tied up in a bedroom of a small house that all her preparation was realized. On the second day, one of the kidnappers asked: “What do you think of your God now? Why is He letting this happen to you?”
The companions’ answers came in the form of missionary lessons.
“We taught him the plan of salvation, eternal families, chastity and the Word of Wisdom. Every question he countered with, we tied it back to the gospel,” Sara says. “I think we taught him everything but tithing.”
Sara says their knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ kept them calm. “We told the kidnappers they needed to be worried about their own salvation. We were fine.”
She speaks of her companion tenderly, with a great deal of love. “We had just met that day, but we are bonded. We know we needed to be there at that exact time to stop these evil men from hurting more people.”
They still don’t know everything that occurred behind the scenes to secure their release, and the case is ongoing, but the two sister missionaries are convinced that, during the experience, angels were on their left and on their right. Sara soon learned that her bishop back home asked for that exact blessing from afar when he knelt with her parents to plead for her safe return.
After a short period, Sara, now of the Mesa Skyline YSA Branch, was transferred yet again, this time due to circumstances surrounding her ordeal. She completed her mission in Chile and had such great experiences there that she considers it every bit “her mission” as she does her original call to the Guatemala City Central Mission.
She also testifies, “The Lord knew where I was the whole time. I finally came to know that I was in the right place, all along the way.”