Friday, February 6, 2015

Remembering Olivas Aoy

At my work, writing for, I get to help script about two short videos a year. Just after I got hired, we did a telling of the Dutch Potato Project story that's been used widely in welfare settings over the past year. Next, we did a piece on how sister missionary work got started which they now play in the MTC.

And then, two days ago, we released "Unto the Least of These: Olivas Aoy's School."

Olivas Aoy reached a population others had overlooked.
Like the others, it is fundamentally a pioneer story: Aoy makes significant personal sacrifices to start something important and new. In his case, though, the most striking project is not something inside the Church. It's founding the first school for Spanish-speaking students in El Paso, Texas, at a time when he's the only Latter-day Saint there.

It's a kind of pioneer story I wish we told more often. Latter-day Saints are famously willing to pitch in and help on projects our wards organize, but we could do better at learning to see needs and step up on our own.

And we could do better at developing and following our own visions of what the gospel means. At a time when many people saw Mormons as strange and backward, Olivas Aoy saw "the Christ of progress" in the restored gospel and committed his life the rest of his life to that vision. At a time when the Church was too occupied by its conflict with the U.S. government to start new programs, Aoy was willing to go out on his own trying to be an instrument in realizing God's promises as he understood them.

I don't know how widely this video will be seen. It doesn't have the same easy-to-categorize Church use as last year's videos on welfare and missionary work, or our upcoming video about temple. But maybe in the age of the internet, individual people will be able to find, share, and spread the story of this one individual's work to serve his Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent video, by the way. It's been making the rounds on Facebook.



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