Pablo lives in Chojolhó, Mexico—a village of 300 in the highlands near the Guatemalen border. Pablo lives a simply life. He's a subsistence farmer. He has two kids. His native language is Txotxil—a Mayan dialect. And Pablo is a Mormon. In fact, the first Mormon in his village. Since his conversion in 1987, there are now over 40 members in this small village with eight priesthood holders. And they have their own beautiful church building.
I went with Pablo one morning to go work with him in the fields. Hiking up a narrow trail, the beauty of the mountain valley lay behind us. Pablo, and his brethren in the priesthood, gather each morning in the mountainous fields to pray before starting the day's work. I followed them as they hacked away with their machetes, clearing the field for the next crop of milpa—the Mayan word for corn.
Milpa has a strong historical significance in Mayan culture. It represents the connection man has with the earth. Man tills the earth the corn grows out of it, man harvests it, and then the remains return to the earth—only to restart the process. I think there is powerful symbolism seeing men like Pablo, who believe in a personal connection with God, working with a crop valued for its divine nature.