“Elder Joni L. Koch,” Ensign, May 2017
Elder Joni Luiz Koch is a second-generation member of the Church from Brazil. His parents, Luiz and Etelca Gascho Koch, visited a variety of local churches in the early years of their marriage to find spiritual truth.
Hours after his mother had offered a heartfelt prayer and promised to follow God, missionaries arrived at his parents’ door. In less than six months, they were baptized.
Born in 1962, Elder Koch grew up in Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The influence of Church leaders, such as a dedicated Primary teacher, a fatherly bishop, and a valiant stake president, helped him commit to live the gospel.
After completing a full-time mission in the Brazil São Paulo North Mission, Elder Koch studied statistics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA. “On a trip back to Brazil, I visited the ward of a friend, where I met my future wife,” said Elder Koch. “She walked up to me and asked me if I was married.” After an eight-month, long-distance courtship—and only 15 actual days together—he married Liliane Michele Ludwig on April 26, 1988, in the São Paulo Brazil Temple. They have two children.
After graduating from BYU and earning an executive master of business administration degree, Elder Koch worked in international logistics. Over the span of 25 years, he worked for a variety of companies until called to serve full-time for the Church.
Elder Koch has served as bishop, stake president, and Area Seventy. He was serving as president of the Mozambique Maputo Mission at the time of his call as a General Authority Seventy.
“My testimony was built gradually over time through spiritual experiences received through gospel living,” said Elder Koch. “The Book of Mormon is one of the main elements in the strength of my testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Church, and the Prophet Joseph Smith.”