“He Restoreth My Soul,” Ensign, Jan. 2004, 72–73
I was born in 1961 in Brazil and learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was six years old. My childhood was immensely happy, but my family’s life began to change at Christmastime in 1970, when I contracted a very rare disease.
At one point I was admitted to the hospital for a year, and the doctors didn’t know what to do. Several times the Lord saved my life after my father placed his hands on my head and pronounced a powerful priesthood blessing. I recall one occasion when a team of doctors was amazed upon seeing my fever of 106 degrees (41° C) instantly abate when my father took his worthy hands from my head. Such miracles went on for about four years while the disease was at its worst.
One day there was a conference in our city. My parents were excited and grateful when they learned we would have Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles among us.
On the day of the conference, the chapel was overflowing. My mother could not get close to Elder Ashton. When my six-year-old brother saw my mother’s despair, he managed to get through the human barrier and reach him. He asked Elder Ashton to bless his brother who was very sick and insisted that he come to where we were. But Elder Ashton couldn’t come at that moment. We prayed for an opportunity to meet him at the end of the conference.
To our surprise, at the beginning of his talk Elder Ashton said, “When I got here, a little boy asked me to bless his brother who is gravely ill, and I would like to say to all within the sound of my voice that your brother will get well and fulfill his mission here on earth.”
For my parents, this was the balm they had prayed for, a relief from their days of pain and sadness. We began a new treatment, and with confidence in the power of Elder Ashton’s promise, I found my life changed completely.
When I turned 19, I went into the mission field in partial fulfillment of the promise I had received and to satisfy my heart’s desire to serve the Lord by sharing His wonderful gospel. I served in the Brazil Recife Mission, where elect families were placed in my path, and I was able to serve as an instrument in the hands of the Lord in bringing souls to repentance.
When I returned from my mission, I married a beautiful young woman I had grown up with in the Church. When our first child was born, however, the Lord took it unto Himself. I couldn’t believe this new tragedy in my life, but I knew my testimony and confidence in the Lord were still being molded.
Today my wife and I have a beautiful family of five children. Our oldest son is preparing to serve a mission. I have served as bishop of my ward. The symptoms of my previous illness have disappeared.
My life and my testimony are based on a belief in the power of the priesthood, the eternal nature of the family, and the teachings of the 23rd Psalm, in which David says:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”