03 February 2013

Foreigners in the Temple

John was waiting for me to change and a young man came up to him and asked if he had a car and could take him back to his hotel on the other side of the city. He was here translating for some car companies that are considering setting up manufacturing plants here. His name is Hidéaki Hamada. He is Japanese and has 8 siblings--a huge family by Japanese standards. His mother lived next door to the Church in Osaka, Japan and was taken in by the young people.  His dad was looking for answers to life and went looking for a church to join. He "miraculously" found the missionaries and the rest is now history. He says that he always tries to find a temple wherever he is because he knows he will find peace and helpful people. 

Brother Hamada went to BYU, where he studied languages: English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese (and of course, his native Japanese).  He came by his Spanish through his wife, who is from Chiapas, Mexico where they live with their three children and his ill mother, whom he cares for, pretty much single-handedly. He runs a translation business out of his home in Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutierrez), but is finding most of his business elsewhere in Mexico since that area is not exactly a hotbed for business translation services. He was hoping to do some graduate work in the USA after BYU, but their visas were denied. After a short time in Japan, they decided to move to Mexico. He was so happy to meet folks who speak English--but more importantly, people who would listen while he spoke English. He said that he almost never gets to speak it in Chiapas. We were inspired by his drive and determination to care for his family while advancing his career under difficult circumstances. He told an interesting story of a brother who is serving a mission in Tokyo who was recently moved into a new area--the area where one of their brothers lives who is not participating in the church. Brother Hamada and he had been corresponding about how the gospel could help one sort out life's problems and questions. Brother Hamada believes that the reassignment of his missionary brother is a miracle because the mission president is encouraging him to contact his brother and the brother is receiving him. 

We have run into several other foreigners in the temple here, mostly gringos.  Some have married locals and are living here permanently. Others are people traveling here on business or as Corporate Security people making sure that their people can travel here safely. Many have come to Monterrey with the intent to stay six months or so and then return home; but because of the skills they bring, their companies are reluctant to have them leave. Monterrey has suffered some in its service businesses, for sure, due to the drug and associated problems. However, most manufacturing business are still doing quite well, especially in this traditionally industrial area, provided the companies can avoid having their managers kidnapped...... 

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