Carlos M. was born in Villavicencio, Colombia. He was raised Catholic but joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at eighteen after establishing a friendship with some American elders. His mother’s side of the family had been connected to the church for years, so he had some familiarity with it. Carlos’s siblings also joined the church as teenagers, but it was a difficult decision for Carlos since his father was adamently opposed to him getting baptized. His father left the family right after his baptism.
Carlos studied aviation in college in Colombia, but with his sister having moved to the United States and his brother on a mission, he was lonely. He asked his sister if she knew anyone he could strike up a friendship with online. She introduced him to the American woman he would later marry. After an online courtship and her ten-day visit to Colombia, the two became engaged and Carlos moved to Utah.
Migrating to the US was a difficult transition. Carlos had to rapidly learn English, learn to drive, and learn to navigate the culture of a new country. He was amazed at the organization and infrastructure of the church in Utah, and he has had some great experiences in his ward, particularly his opportunity to be an active and effective Sunday School President. He was also overwhelmed by the welcome he received from his wife’s family. However, he does miss some things about the church in Colombia, particularly its close-knit familial quality.
Soon after moving to Utah, Carlos found a bilingual job working with special needs children through the Head Start program. He worked there for three years, and this proved to be providential, since one of his children was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. This job helped to prepare him for the challenges he later faced with his own son. Ultimately, for him, his family is his highest priority. He said, “There was no other destiny for me …. Fatherhood and family and being a husband is the most important thing …. Everything else, it doesn’t matter.”