From John M Stapp: I lived in Capiata, Paraguay, about 20 kilometers from downtown Asuncion. The government had information indicating that foreigners had killed the Nicaraguan president, so they decided to try to find the killers, crack down on problems and especially make sure that all foreigners were behaving within the law. They did several things to try to reassert control of the situation and meet these goals. One thing they did was go to every house in Capiata and search for problems. An officer of the Paraguayan military along with a half dozen machine gun carrying "cadets" went from house to house.
The group had the power to do anything they wanted to "investigate" problems. At many houses they pulled out all the drawers searching for contraband and overturned bookshelves looking for hidden "clues." They then would leave and the family would be left to clean up the home. Several friends feared for us because they told us that, since the murders were foreigners, the solders were especially strict with foreigners.
Early one morning the solders arrived at our house. We ran out to meet them and, as soon as he saw us, the officer smiled and turned to the solders and asked, "Boys, do you know who these gentlemen are? They are the Mormons!" He then turned to us and said, "When I was at the Military Academy I had a great teachers named Colonel Ramirez, who was a Mormon. He was a great man. He told us of his church and always set a good example for us."
The officer then turned back to the solders and said, "The Mormons live their religion. If any of these young men come to your door, listen to them."
I then asked the officer if he had ever read anything about our church. He told me that he hadn't. I asked if he would like to read something about our church. He got a big smile on his face and said, "Go! Get us something to read!" I ran off and came back with a copy of the Joseph Smith Story for each of them. We shook hands with each of them and they went on their way without ever going into our house.
I heard later on from neighbors that they had carefully inspected and disrupted most of the other homes in the neighborhood.
I have often thought about this incident. Brother Ramirez had no idea when he was setting a good example at the military academy that it would help two missionaries many years later. But, I think that is often the case: The good we do pays dividends beyond what we could ever know, often long after we do the good.
[In 1981, Luis A. Ramirez was called to be the first Paraguayan to serve as a mission president. He served as the mission president in his native country of Paraguay. Since his release in 1984, Brother Ramirez has continued to serve in stake and mission callings. He has also served as an adviser to the Church in its relations with the Paraguayan government. He once said: "Sometimes I'll see my students who are now majors or colonels, and they will stop and ask me, 'How's the Church coming?' I tell them it's coming along very well."]