“Alan Altair of Recife, Brazil,” Friend, Sept. 1997, 32
Alan Altair (11) is a helpful boy. When his grandmother, a recent convert, was called to be the Primary president of her branch, she was worried about doing the Sharing Time presentations. Alan insisted on going with her each week to help out and give her support. Each Sunday he first attends the meetings in his own ward, then goes to his grandmother’s branch. Afterward, he walks her home.
His life centers around the Church. He reads the Book of Mormon and writes in his journal each day, bears his testimony every fast Sunday, and shares the gospel with his friends. Four of them have joined the Church, and more are investigating it. Alan plans to go on a mission as soon as he is old enough. He will gladly serve wherever he is called, but he hopes it will be somewhere with snow.
Although his hometown of Recife (Hay-SEE-fay) is short on snow, it has advantages that many snow-shovelers might envy. It is a city of sunny skies and long, beautiful beaches where tourists swim in the surf, play in the sand, and drink coconut milk under the shade of beach umbrellas or palm trees. Alan loves to go beach camping on Ilha de Itamaracá, a lovely island just off the coast to the north. Not surprisingly, he is a good swimmer.
He is also good at making friends and having fun. He likes to roller-blade, bicycle, and play volleyball, soccer, and marbles. He loves music and is taking recorder lessons. Piano lessons are in his future too. He is also an avid reader of comic books.
Alan wants to be a professional television writer or a singer someday. He already sings in the school choir and in the shower. Forró, a popular folk music in northern Brazil, is one of his favorites to sing.
Most of all, he enjoys being with his family and usually gets along well with his brother, Junior (15), and his sister, Vivian (2). Since he and Junior share a room, they occasionally quarrel about keeping it clean, but they make peace quickly. Otherwise, their mother may step in and resolve the issue. She is very kind but also very firm.
Junior is a responsible boy and is the man of the house when his father is gone. He wants to be a professional soccer player.
Vivian is kind, calm, and pretty. Both her brothers love her dearly and consider it their duty to protect her from harm.
Alan’s father, Bruno, is a stake president; his mother, Silvia, is a Relief Society president and a seminary teacher. They are both very busy, but they always find time for the family. Each Monday night is family home evening. Friday is date night for Mom and Dad. And Saturday is for the whole family to do things together. Alan’s family is full of love and caring. Each year before the children start school, Brother Altair gives them each a father’s blessing.
One of Alan’s favorite family activities is eating his mother’s delicious cooking, and he does it every chance he gets. Some of his favorite foods are picanha (pea-CON-ya), a barbecued beef, and feijoada (fay-ZHWAH-dah), a bean dish. He also enjoys pizza, chicken, quail eggs, and tropical fruits such as papaya and guava.
When not playing, eating, studying, reading, or singing, he can often be found working on his list of chores. He and his brother are expected to keep their room clean. Alan also cleans the bathroom, waters the houseplants, buys bread at the bakery, and fills the water bottle in the refrigerator. He does his chores without complaint—most of the time—and often helps with work that isn’t even on the list.
Alan is also looking forward to doing the work of a deacon when he turns twelve. All his life he’s felt great respect for the young men who have passed the sacrament to him, and he has tried to live so as to be worthy of joining them.
He has great faith in the power of prayer. It’s how he received his testimony of the gospel. He often takes his problems to his Father in Heaven, and he has often been helped. Once he was worried about a mathematics test in school. He had studied hard but was afraid that he might get nervous and forget how to do the problems. He prayed that he would remain calm. The prayer was answered, and he passed the test. Alan knows that life will bring him harder tests than the kind they give in school. But with faith and work and Heavenly Father’s help, he hopes to pass them all.