A Creative Man
A Service-Oriented Man
A Hard Working Man
Coming to America, Dad didn't know anyone. He didn't know the language. He didn't have any money. But he knew how to work. He started working in construction and brought home $75 a week for our family of 4. One day a woman from welfare contacted him and he told her that he had gotten a job in construction and hoped to be able to learn the trade.
"You can't work," she said. "If you work, you wont qualify for the welfare program and you and your family will lose all the benefits."
He pondered this a moment and said, "Ok, remove welfare, but can we keep the Medicare in case my kids get sick?"
Her response was matter-of-fact, "Sorry, sir. It's all or nothing."
"Well," he said, "I did not come all the way from Cuba to sit in an apartment and wait for a check."
In that moment, my dad made a difficult decision. He kept his job and continued to work hard. He knew that he had traveled to the United States to provide for his family and he wanted to do that with his own two hands. He was an example of the value of hard work and of the power of the American Dream.
Through the years, he learned enough to be able to build his own business in construction. His company, Mayans Building (later became Mayans Development), still stands today and continues to bless the lives of his family and others. He believed in building quality and in working honestly.
A Man of Faith and Love
Dad loved his family, but he didn't always show it in the ways you'd expect. He rarely vocalized his affection or showed it in hugs or kisses. When he started having grandkids, however, his heart seemed to expand, and he started showing his love to them with hugs to his grandsons or gifts of flowers to his granddaughters. And when he got great-grandkids, his heart grew even more. He loved to watch them playing at his feet. He threw the baseball with his great grandson Jepson, and he watched his great granddaughter Cassidy put on a show and dance around whenever she'd visit. He truly loved his family.
He watched his grandchildren, Maichael and Benjamin, serve missions in Chile for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He admired their service, but it wasn't until his grandson, Jacob, served a mission in Romania and had very little success that his own heart changed. Hearing of Jacob's struggles, he exclaimed, "Why wont the people listed to him!" I responded, "Dad, you've had missionaries visit your home almost weekly for 40 years (Mom would always feed them lunch). Have you ever really listened to them?" That made my dad sit back quietly, but I was still shocked when the missionaries from the area called me about a month later and told me that my Dad had a date to be baptized. I had had no idea he was finally listening to the missionaries. I will always be grateful for the struggles my son, Jacob, had on his mission, because it was that struggle that softened Dad's heart so that he could finally accept the gospel of Jesus Christ in his own life.
Andrew and Maichael
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