Flavia Salazar Gomez, “Led by the Spirit in the Dominican Republic“,
by Elder Glen L. Rudd
Elder Glen L. Rudd served as President of the Florida Mission from 1966 to 1969. He had the following experience while serving in Florida:
“I received a letter on November 17, 1967, written in Spanish. After it was translated, I learned that it was from a young member of the Church, a girl who was living in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Santiago is located about 90 miles north of Santo Domingo, the capitol of the country. The girl’s name was Flavia Salazar Gomez. She explained that she had joined the Church in Mexico when she was about 12 years of age and was very active there. Her sisters and
mother had also joined the Church. Later, she fell in love with a Dominican boy, married him, and he took her to the Dominican Republic to live. She had a one-year old baby that had never received a Church blessing.
“She then told me she was seriously ill, suffering from cancer, and that the doctors told her she did not have very long to live. She asked if it was possible for someone holding the priesthood to come to Santiago and give her a blessing. I wrote and told her that we would get there as soon as we could.
“It wasn’t long before I was to go to a district conference in Puerto Rico. There was a Latter-day Saint family living in Santo Domingo, Brother and Sister Dale Valentine and their children. Brother Valentine was an elder and they were an active, fine LDS family. They held Church meetings in their own home, held family home evening, had all the Church magazines, and in general, lived the gospel.
“I wrote Brother Valentine and asked if he would take me to Santiago so that we could find and bless Flavia. I took Elder Gert Forestor with me. At the airport in Santo Domingo, Brother Valentine met us, and we stayed overnight in his home. Early the next morning, he, his wife, one of their children, Elder Forestor and I got into their station wagon and drove up to Santiago. It was a rather long ride because the highway was crooked and quite heavily traveled.
“When we arrived at the outskirts of Santiago, Brother Valentine asked me where she lived. At that moment we realized that none of us had an address. All I knew was her name and that she was praying for us to come. We stopped the car for a few minutes on a high point overlooking the city. I felt impressed to tell Brother Valentine to drive his car down into the city and take the first busy road to the left. He obediently drove on. I then told him to make a right turn and drive into the center of this large city, which had about 200,000 people. As we drove down the street, we began looking for a parking place. We couldn’t find a single place to park
the car. After traveling several blocks, Brother Valentine asked, ‘What can we possibly do to find her?’ At that moment I said, ‘Go to that next corner, make a right turn, and you will find an empty parking place just around the corner.’
“He drove to the corner, made the right turn, and there, nearly right in front of us, was an open space where we parked the car. We locked the car and stood on the sidewalk. Brother Valentine said, ‘Now what do we do?’ I said, ‘Let’s just start asking people.’ There was a gentleman nearby leaning up against the front side of a residence. Brother Valentine went over to him, and in Spanish, asked if he knew Flavia Salazar Gomez. The man looked at him in surprise and said, ‘Yes, she is my wife. She’s just inside that door.’ We had parked in front of her house!
“Flavia and the baby came out to greet us. We were invited into their humble little home to visit. I asked Brother Valentine to interview her and see how close to the church she had remained. We were delighted to know that she was still living the Word of Wisdom and that she prayed every day. Of course she had no church to attend and was unable to make any contributions to the Church, but she felt she was a good, faithful member. She asked about President McKay, wanted to know if he was still alive and well, and asked a few other questions about the Church. It had been about 2 years since she had left Mexico and had been out of touch with the Church.
“We named and blessed the little baby. Then we had Flavia sit on a chair. I requested Brother Valentine to give her the blessing in Spanish. However, I asked him to bless her that she would recover from her cancerous condition and become well. I told him to give her a blessing of comfort and whatever came to his mind. We
put our hands on her head and gave her the blessing. We then visited briefly with her. Her husband, who was very considerate and kind, was totally disinterested in the Church, though he was not opposed to Flavia being a member. We left them and drove back to the city of Santo Domingo.
“I returned to the mission office after the trip. I later heard from Brother Valentine that Flavia and her husband had moved to Santo Domingo. About 6 months later, on my way to Puerto Rico, we stopped over in Santo Domingo for a 24-hour visit. We drove to where Flavia and her husband were living and found her in good health, looking well and happy. She told us that she had been completely cured. The doctors told her she no longer had any cancer and it seemed she was going to be all right. They were delighted to see us again and it was a great thrill to meet this lovely young Latter-day Saint mother and realize the blessings of the Lord which had come to her.”
— Personal communication, used with the permission of Elder Glen L. Rudd