“Brazil Area Authority,” Ensign, Aug. 1998, 68
Born with malformed feet, Elder Ernani Teixeira, an Area Authority Seventy for the Brazil Area, did not learn to walk until he was seven years old. As a result, while other children played, he spent much time sitting and pondering. “Especially during the evenings I contemplated the skies and the Lord’s creations,” Elder Teixeira remembers. “In a simple way I was able to start a relationship with the Creator and see how small we are before him. That experience helped me realize the need for revelation and for a prophet.”
Many years later, Elder Teixeira started dating Gisa Rodrigues Alves, his future wife. Occasionally the two of them discussed religion and their shared feeling that something was missing from their church. But at that time they knew of no other options.
On 13 February 1969, Ernani and Gisa were married. Gisa suggested that they read the Bible to form the foundation for their marriage, and the couple began with the New Testament. “When we came to the Sermon on the Mount, I was impressed with the Lord’s prayer and the possibility of really communicating with the Father,” says Elder Teixeira. “After that, our prayers were different. We asked, ‘If there is a true church, show us the way.’”
Not long after their marriage the couple went to a nearby city for the weekend, and there they passed a church with a long and unfamiliar name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They didn’t give it much thought at first, but after they returned home, the name of the Church kept reentering Elder Teixeira’s mind. “What impressed me the most was the fact that it happened not when I was thinking about the trip but when I was concentrating on my books,” he says. He mentioned this to Gisa one morning and was surprised when she told him she had been having the same experience.
That night, after Elder Teixeira returned home from a day of study at the university, Gisa told him, “Two missionaries from that church knocked at our door this afternoon. I made an appointment for next Saturday.”
Upon hearing the missionary discussions, the couple knew that at last they had found the church they were looking for: “How happy we were to finally know for ourselves that the Lord had restored his true Church and that we are led by a true prophet,” Elder Teixeira says. He and Gisa were baptized on 7 June 1969.
Elder and Sister Teixeira have since held many callings in the Church and are the parents of three children. Elder Teixeira is a professor of economics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.