“A Prayer in Itacoatiara,” Friend, Apr. 1996, 3
My name is Chrislaine Da Silva Brasil. I’m 12 years old. I live in a town called Itacoatiara in northern Brazil. (Yes, my family and my country share the same name.) Itacoatiara is on the Amazon River, just below the equator. It’s very hot and humid here in the summer, and it rains heavily in the winter.
The Amazon River is very important to people in my town. Some men make a living catching and selling the many different kinds of fish in the river. My mom cooks great fish dinners that we eat with rice, beans, and salads. We have a lot of fresh fruit to eat as well.
The river is also like a highway. People travel on it in boats of all sizes. My family planned to take a special boat ride on the river in December 1993. With other members of the Church, we were going south all the way to the temple in São Paulo. Mom and Dad were going for their own temple work and to be sealed together in marriage for time and eternity. Then, they, my younger sister, Joyce, and I were going to be sealed together as an eternal family.
We started planning for the trip many months ahead. It costs a lot of money to travel to the temple. We saved by not buying many of the things we like, even our favorite soda pop.
As the time came closer to leave, we became very excited.
And then I had to make a big decision!
I was in grade school and would soon graduate. But first I had to take final exams for the year—and when the dates for the exams were announced, they were for the same time that we were to go to the temple.
Mom told my teacher that I would be absent for ten days because our family was going to São Paulo. The teacher said that if I left school then, I would not be able to take the exams and graduate. I wanted to graduate, but I also wanted to go to the temple.
That night before dinner we had a family council. Mom explained what had happened and then said, “Chris, you need to make a decision. Either we stay while you take the exams and graduate, or we all go to the temple.”
I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me make the right choice. Tears ran down my cheeks as I said, “Let’s go to the temple.” At that moment I felt the warmth of the Spirit, and I knew that things would work out.
And they did!
For some reason, the final exams were held earlier than expected, and I was able to take them and graduate before we left on our trip.
We were on a boat for three days, then traveled by bus for another three days. We had meals on the boat and at special bus stops along the way. In São Paulo, we stayed at the Missionary Training Center, where we cooked our own meals. We spent a few days in São Paulo going to the temple and visiting the city, then made the long journey back home.
This wonderful experience helped me understand that Heavenly Father answers prayers when we try to do what is right. I’m grateful that I was able to graduate. But I’m even more grateful that we can be a family together forever.