“Area Authority in Brazil,” Ensign, July 2000, 68
Until he was 15, João R. C. Martins Silva felt he lacked direction in life. “I had no idea who I should be or what I should do,” says Elder Silva, today an Area Authority Seventy in Brazil. But his life began to change in 1967 when his sister met the missionaries through a friend. “My parents allowed her to be baptized, and about a month later my mother, brothers, and I were also baptized,” he says.
His father, who had not objected to his family getting baptized, began to miss them on Sundays. One Sunday he decided to attend church with them, and soon he became converted as he felt the Spirit there and began to learn about the gospel.
When João read the Book of Mormon for the first time, he came across these words of King Benjamin: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). The words illuminated his mind and soul, and he began to reflect on the desires he had felt since childhood to serve others. “After reading this scripture, I began to believe that I had a sacred purpose in life—to serve the Lord,” Elder Silva says. “This scripture serves as my motto, and I gain great satisfaction from helping others.”
A few months after his baptism, another family, the Estacas, joined the Church. Their daughter, Maria Lúcia, drew João’s attention. Over the years the two participated in youth activities and seminary and institute classes together. In 1977 they married, and the couple now have two children, Lúcia and João.
Elder Silva, who has worked for the Church Educational System for more than 25 years, feels great love for his family and for the gospel. “We are a united family because we have the gospel as a common reference point in our relationship,” he says.