October 15, 2023 - To the Rescue


Conductor: Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy
Organist: Richard Elliott
Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“Let All the World in Every Corner Sing”
Music: Ryan Murphy
Lyrics: George Herbert

“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”
Music: F.A. Challinor
Lyrics: W.H. Parker
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah” (organ solo)
Welsh Melody
Arrangement: Paul Manz

Music: Johann Sebastian Bach/Charles Gounod
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Over the Rainbow,” from The Wizard of Oz
Music: Harold Arlen
Lyrics: E.Y. (Yip) Harburg
Arrangement: Arthur Harris

“Love One Another”
Music and Lyrics: Luacine Clark Fox
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“O Come Ye Nations of the Earth”
Traditional Hymn
Lyrics: David Warner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

The Spoken Word

To the Rescue

(Recorded in Mexico City, June 2023)
By Lloyd D. Newell

At first, September 19, 1985, seemed like a normal day here in Mexico City, as millions of good, hardworking people busily began their morning. Then, around 7:19, a powerful 8.1-magnitude earthquake jolted the city, and life changed in an instant. Thousands of people lost their lives. Thousands more were injured. Large sections of the city were cut off from electricity and water. Hundreds of buildings collapsed, trapping people under piles of rubble.
Tragedy can bring out the best in people, and that’s what happened on that day in Mexico City, as caring people organized themselves into search-and-rescue teams.

Marcos Efrén Zariñana from Cuautla, Morelos, about 100 kilometers south of here, was one of those volunteers. Marcos was visiting Mexico City that day to pick up a uniform for a marathon he’d been preparing for. His short stature, thin build, and runner’s determination made him an ideal rescuer. With his ability to crawl into places that others couldn’t reach, Marcos earned the affectionate nickname la Pulga , Spanish for “the Flea.” But the size of his frame wasn’t nearly as important as the size of his heart. Marcos rescued 27 people who were buried under the rubble in Mexico City’s Tlalpan neighborhood.

And la Pulga didn’t stop there. After helping the earthquake victims and their families, he decided to become a certified rescuer. Over the next 28 years, he traveled to 10 countries that had requested his help after disasters. In all, he rescued 160 people. Due to his selfless service, Marcos was named a national hero in Mexico. He passed away last year at the age of 79.[1]

What do we learn from la Pulga ’s life? For one thing, we learn that sometimes God puts us in just the right place at just the right time. When Marcos traveled to Mexico City, he thought he was preparing for a marathon; he didn’t know he would end up saving lives. And we don’t always know how God might use us to rescue someone in need. But we can always be ready. When we seek to follow the Lord’s two great commandments—to love God and to love our neighbor[2]—that love will lead us to opportunities to help. As it did for Marcos, love can become our call to action.

[1] See “‘The Flea’—Latter-day Saint Hero from 1985 Mexico City Earthquake—Passes Away,” Church News , Nov. 2, 2022, thechurchnews.com.

[2] See Matthew 22:36–39.