S: Tony & Juanita Ramirez Family
BC: The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. --The Proclamation on the Family--
FC: Families Can Be Together Forever
1: A family is pieced together with hope and faith. A family is quilted and bound with love and grace. | This little book is dedicated to Tony and Juanita Ramirez --two amazing and faithful followers of Jesus Christ, who worked tirelessly in raising their family, and in serving others. We pray that their children will come to fully realize the great blessings that can be theirs because they were raised in the gospel by goodly parents
2: Finding and teaching Tony and Juanita and their Family by Anna Mitchell Pearson One day when we were shopping in the thrift store in Fresno, CA, a member who worked there gave us a referral. When we followed up on this referral, we learned the lady she referred had moved, but her sister, Juanita Ramirez, now lived there. We explained a little about our mission and she invited us in. While we gave her the first discussion, we were interrupted every few minutes by her lively children. “Bobito, get off the table” “Jr. quit teasing Linda” etc. She invited us back for the next lesson, but we wondered if she had really heard anything. When we returned, she had read all of the pamphlets! Juanita then said she had tried to tell her Mom what we had taught but said she couldn't remember it all. “Could you maybe go and talk to her?” We were delighted!! Juanita seemed nervous each time we asked about meeting her husband and said she didn't think he would be interested. That day as we left the house Tony was coming home. We warily introduced ourselves (and discovered he was really a nice man, and not scary at all!). The next visit proved very rewarding. Tony had noticed Juanita reading a book (The Book of Mormon) each night and wondered what it was. By the time we returned for the third visit, he had read more that she had and wanted to sit in on the lesson! How exciting! The third discussion included the Word of Wisdom. One question was “If you knew for sure this commandment was from the Lord, would you obey it? Tony and Juanita both said yes. Before we left the house Tony gave us his cigarettes. (We went to the ward baseball game right after that and I was afraid to death one of the members would see the cigarettes in my purse. | I held it tightly closed for the whole ball game!) The following morning,Tony went to the neighborhood convenience store at 3:00 AM to buy orange juice for breakfast, in place of coffee. That afternoon, when the work bus stopped for the wine break on the way home, Tony stayed on the bus. The other guys really gave him a hard time, but he never drank again. The hardest thing for him to do was quit smoking. He tried really hard but things kept happening. One day he found an unlit cigarette on the cotton row he was hoeing. Finally one night when we dropped in for a visit, Juanita said “Could we maybe fast to help Tony?” Again we were amazed at her faith. Tony was fearful to fast while working in the heat, but finally agreed. The following morning Sister Keeler was the first one up. She went to the window and then said to me, “Sister Mitchell, come look” The sky was completely clouded over and remained that way for the entire day! (We heard other people commenting on how the weather man had missed that forecast) [Because Fresno is super hot in the summer, and Tony worked in the fields, this was a huge blessing for all of us who were fasting.] We went to the Ramirez home to break the fast with them and to plan the baptism for the following day, July 29, 1965)
3: The first time the Ramirez family went to church, the bishop announced the funeral for one of the sisters. Juanita saw the sacrament table covered with a white cloth and was really shocked that we would have a dead body in one of our services! She was very relieved when the sacrament trays were uncovered! As they went home that day, someone ran a red light and T-boned their car. Thank goodness none of them was hurt, but the car sustained damage they could ill afford to fix. Their extended family members gave them a hard time by saying the accident happened because they were listening to missionaries from another church. They ignored the nay sayers and continued to study with us. Again I was amazed at their faith. Shortly after their baptisms someone stole their car in the middle of the night. It was bad enough for the car to be gone, but their | equipment for the grape harvest had been in the car, too. When they reported the theft to the police, they were told there was a lot of that going on and they probably wouldn't get it back. Most of the stolen cars were stripped, then left on the side of the road. Again, they were harassed by friends and family about leaving the Catholic church they were raised in. A few days later their car was found, totally intact. Not only were their harvest tools still in it, but there was also a twenty pound bag of cement. Tony was able to pour a new car pad with it. Eventually Juanita's mother, stepfather, niece and several other family members joined the church through their efforts and their good examples. At that time Primary was held in the middle of the week, so we would give the kids a ride. They would be in the back seat of our Rambler and thought it great fun to stand on our seat belts to hear us grunt or groan. They loved to sing “Buckle lup for safety. Won't you buckle lup?” We came to love the Ramirez family very much and remain in awe at the faith they have. | Memories
4: July 31, 1965 (Written by Sister Janet Keeler in her Mission Journal) The biggest joy of my mission thus far has been teaching Juanita and Tony Ramirez. We met Juanita May 25th. We gave her the first discurso and then gave her the first two lessons soon afterwards. She told us, however, that her husband was not interested. “He was Catholic and was going to stay Catholic.” Well, one day we met him and I guess we impressed him, because he came to the video showing of “Que Es Un Mormon?” He got in on the last half of the first lesson and the film. He surely must have liked it for he began reading the Book of Mormon before we even got over to give him the 2nd lesson! He had a big Word of Wisdom problem, however, but said “I’ll try with all my heart.” And try he did. The next morning, at 3:00, he went down to the gas station to get orange juice so he wouldn’t have to drink coffee. He was interviewed by Elder Garcia on July 24th, but he felt we should wait one more week to make sure he was ready. Even by the 28th, Tony wouldn’t say “Yes,” so we fasted with them Friday, and you know that was the coolest overcast day we had all summer. Well, the answer was “Yes” and their baptism was wonderful. | When Tony was confirmed he told us afterwards he felt something go out of him, and a warm feeling come inside when he received the Holy Ghost. =============== Other memories from teaching the Ramirez Family On the 4th lesson we couldn’t find the word strip “Fe en Jesu Christo”. And Tony, in his humorous way, said, "I guess that’s one commandment we can keep!” One time Tony Jr. came out and measured my nose with a tape measure, and it’s 4 minutes long. Juanita and Tony fasted the day after their baptism, which was Fast Sunday. When we asked they if they were fasting, they said, “Yes, aren’t we supposed to?” They have been so good and faithful in their acceptance of the gospel, and living it. It has been a choice blessing to know and love them.
5: Our missionary apartment in Fresno, Calif | Dear Presidente: We saw the baptism of two very special people tonight, the Ramirez family. They should be real assets to the Church. They have been the best people to teach, I have yet encountered. They seemed to be almost Mormons in disguise. This has been a testimony builder to me, showing that the Lord does know who his chosen people are, and that they are waiting to be instructed in the truth. This leaves our task as missionaries quite vast—for who knows how many choice people there are waiting for us within our very reach. The work is going great. We should be finding some more “Golden Ones” real soon. Sister Keeler
6: We would cut the clusters off and lay them on brown paper to dry. Then about a week to 2 weeks later, some one would go up all the rows, turning them over, so they would fully dry. Then they were eventually taken to a raisin factory for processing. | During September in Fresno it seemed everyone was out in the fields working in the grape harvest for about a month, which really slowed down our missionary efforts. Sister Mitchell and I eventually donned our “trajes de uva” and went piscando for three days on both the ward an stake grape vineyards. Tony and Juanita and Tony Jr. came with us and taught us how to pick grapes. | September 1965 Working in the Lord's Vineyard | Juanita | Sister Keeler & Tony Jr
7: Written in Janet's Missionary Journal Sept 1965: "It was a wonderful experience working outside on the Stake Farm and brought a totally new meaning to my patriarchal blessing which I received when I was 16. It counseled me: 'Keep your body clean, pure and virtuous before the Lord, and you will go through this life rejoicing in joy and happiness, and the Lord will have need of you for He has great work to perform here in His Vineyard. . .' " I've seen the literal fulfillment of both parts of this promise. One day while picking grapes, I got back to the car early while my companion, Sister Mitchell went back to retrieve her hat. While standing there, two men pulled up and asked about work. I explained that this was a Church Farm with donated labor and I also explained quite a bit about the church. When Sister Mitchell appeared on the scene, with her hat on, one of the men asked, “Is that your husband?” Needless to say we had a good laugh about that. | Tony | Sister Mitchell
8: Tony Jr. thought he wasElvis Presley and kept us entertained while picking grapes. The Ramirez children were so cute and wonderful to be around; we truly loved them. Matt. 18:3: And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. | Busy Bobbie
9: Dear Sisters, I am sorry I never mailed this letter, but Tony got real sick in his kidneys, or something and gave me a good scare. He is alright now. Everything is the same except they now named Brother Carrillo, Bishop of our ward and Brother Librado Hernandez and Johnny Rodrigues counselors – all Mexicans. Every body is very happy and say they think the church will progress more, but I think Sister and Brother Fagg were doing OK, but let’s hope that we’ll do better now. The baby is still very small, but very strong and hasn’t gotten sick at all. I haven’t taken a picture of him yet. I’ll send one when I do. Guess this is all. We always remember you even though we don’t write. Tony wanted to call you but we don’t have your number so send it, OK. Sincerely, Juanita | December 9, 1965 (letter from Juanita) | Bishop and Sister Fagg
10: Letter from Juanita Nov. 8, 1966 Dear Sister Mitchell and Sister Keeler, How have you been? Hope in the best of health. We are all doing alright. Thanks to God. Sisters, I hadn’t written first because I am too lazy and second because I was waiting for my slowpoke baby to be born. He finally arrived Oct. 18, and as I figured, it was a boy. He weighted only 6’lb 9 oz and was 18 inches long—very small, but he is very smart. He could lift his head up when he was only 2 days old and he moves all over the bassinet already. He is a very good baby and eats a lot. I’ll send some pictures next week. Thank you very much for the pictures of us you sent. Everybody likes it very much. How have you both been? Converting a lot of people? I hope. I sure miss you, cause it is not the same, with the men missionaries. They are very, very friendly, but we don’t have the same confianza with them we had with you. It just is not the same, even the primary is suffering, I think because you used to drive around picking up all the kids on Saturday and now nobody does that, so they don’t have many kids on Sat. They had a special talk Sunday asking all parents to take their children, 'cause all the teachers were there on Sat. but no children. I thought to myself, that’s because the missionaries are not here, so we need you! | We have not yet been to the temple cause I was expecting Ricky by Sept. 29th. If I had known he was going to take so long, we would have gone all ready. They are going on Dec. 10 to the temple and I think we are going then—hope nothing goes wrong. We’ll let you know. Well we have been doing OK. I guess we are having our family hour and are not having trouble getting to church on Sundays any more. We get there early most of the time. We are doing OK in the MIA too. I have a class called the Beehives and I am doing so-so. Tone is doing OK with the Boy Scouts too. He got an idea to collect newspapers to sell to get money for the Boy Scouts and it is going OK. They have a lot of papers now. The Beehives come to my house and made cupcakes to sell on Tuesdays and we are going OK too, so I guess everything is fine. Mother hasn’t been to Church lately, ‘cause she has had a lot of trouble and is very nervous. They took away Janie. Her father came and took her and she is now trying to adopt DAlia but it is a lot of work and money. Don’t ever try to adopt anybody -- so many papers to fill and examinations to take and questions to answer. Poor mother, she sure has been through a lot. And then she is worried about my other sister.
11: She is going to have a baby and she needs a Caesarian and she wishes she could be over there and here too. So I hope everything turns out OK. Pray for her please. The Durans are OK and Elisett is alright too and the Villareals are not very active. They haven’t been to church for a long time. They moved away from the Carrillos to a bigger house. I’ll send you their address. Maybe you can write to them when you have time. The kids are OK. Bobby is going to school and likes it very much and Linda is doing OK in school too. They always remember you and how you played games with them. Brother Hill is doing better but his mother fell and sprained her arm and leg or something. Well, I guess this is all. Regards from mother and Teo. He was here yesterday. He always remembers you. Receive the best of everything from us all. Yours Truly, Juanita and family PS: I’ll write next week. You’re invited to eat with us on Thanksgiving Day, O.K. Ha! Say Hi to Sister Olsen and Sister Tomblin when you see them. | Al Duran family | Villareal family | Sister Keeler, Amelia Hernandez, and Sister Olsen
12: In 1971 the Ramirez family came to Salt Lake City and we visited the Temple Grounds with them. | 1 Nephi 8:12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
13: The Ramirez family visit the Great Salt Lake | Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
14: Alma 11:45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption. | A Beloved Daughter | One of the hardest times The Ramirez Family faced was when they lost their 19-year-old daughter Cynthia Marie in a tragic car accident caused by a drunk driver. They mourned for many, many months trying to understand why such a thing should happen. What a blessing to have the gospel of Christ in times such as this.
15: About six months after Cindy's death, we also lost our oldest son tragically. I wrote this poem hoping to capture the feelings we were both dealing with. Maybe it will help someone else who is trying to find "The Answer." The Answer by Janet Keeler Wilcox Challenging the reasons why, I threw my gauntlet to the ground, Mounted my black charger and attacked the mists of doubt. Tearfully through masked eyes, I searched and questioned, Always asking, "Why?" With lance and shield in hand, I retraced Job's trials, While questioning Christ's message of hope and love. My quest led down paths of anger and futile despair. Neither peace nor hope waved flags my way. My raging heart waged battle with every glint of light, as I challenged both His wisdom and His love. | Finally, my heart hung, like a tattered banner, wind whipped by a thousand unanswered Whys. I searched not for a Grail, but for a sign, a voice, a healing touch, for a gossamer thread to mend my broken heart. Descending from my crusader's perch, Soul weary from my desperate quest, I struggled from my binding armor and sought refuge in the quiet cave of prayer. It was then in the silence of a summer morn--my iron resentments not yet marshalled for the day-- That my mask of despair fell before the altar of His love, The calming shroud of peace replaced my hardened armor of doubt. Hope filled my spirit's emptiness, while love bound the ragged edges of my heart. The still small voice whispered, "Trust--wait--and listen. My peace I leave with you." His clarion call still ringing in my ears I surrendered to His love, -- Victory at last.--
16: Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! | Manti, Utah Summer 1994
17: "A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love and encourages you with hope." | Reunion at the Mitchell's Home in Manti with Tony and Juanita Summer 1994
18: Mosiah 2:17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. | Tony and Juanita with Elder Scott Nielson, also from Blanding, Ut taken at a Christmas party they hosted for the missionaries.
19: How great it will be one day, in the Kingdom of our Father when we see Tony and Juanita with their family again, and renew that joy we felt when we first shared the Gospel with them. Tony and Juanita have also been instruments of our Heavenly Father in sharing the Gospel with many people. They did this even before they were baptized and continued to share the "living water" of Christ's message with hundreds of God's children. They have shown compassion, and provided help and wise counsel to their children, and many others who sought their help. May their children feel the joy that the gospel brings as they follow their parents along the iron rod to eternal life. With love, Anna and Janet | In the pre-mortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. --The Proclamation on the Family--
20: Theirs was a marriage built on love, faith, prayers, and commitment to each other and to the Lord. | Tony at the Hill Cumorah with his Book of Mormon
21: Tony and Juanita's 50th Wedding Anniversary | June 15, 2008 | The Ramirez Children Tony Ramirez Jr 10-7-1959; Linda Ann Ramirez 4-29-1961 Robert Ramirez 8-4-1962; Eliza Ramirez Leal 4-2-1965; Ricardo Ramirez 10-18-1966; Cynthia Marie Ramirez 3-30-1972