Early members of the Church in Manaus yearned to be sealed in the temple, but their city was in a remote location in the middle of the Amazon rain forest. There were no good roads for much of the 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) journey to the nearest temple in São Paulo, and the trip was expensive and often dangerous. As Rosineia Viana remembered, “Going to the temple was outside of our reality.”
Despite these challenges, mission president Claudio R. M. Costa worked with local members, including Pedro Acosta, to organize a caravan to the temple. Many made financial sacrifices to save for the trip. Some sold their worldly belongings to afford passage. Finally, on November 25, 1992, 102 Latter-day Saints embarked on the treacherous, weeklong journey, traveling first by boat and then by bus. They ran out of water during the first leg of their voyage, and the river water was too polluted to drink. They gathered on the deck of the boat and prayed. Leonardo Arevalo remembered that “heavy clouds gathered, the sky grew dark, and it began to pour.” They collected the water in pans and buckets, the passing storm miraculously providing enough fresh water to last until they reached the next city.
At various cities along the route, members of local branches provided meals for the travelers. The branch in Ji-Paraná welcomed them with a sign that read “Sacrifice Brings Blessings.” Those in the caravan gratefully recognized that these members had sacrificed to help them reach the temple. Through these experiences, members of the caravan sensed they were an integral part of a larger community of Saints in Brazil.
On the sixth day, the travelers erupted with cheers when they reached São Paulo. After spending an entire week at the temple performing ordinances for themselves and for their ancestors, they could testify that “sacrifice brings blessings.”
Twenty years and many caravans later, the Church dedicated a temple in Manaus in 2012. That first caravan will forever symbolize the sacrifices that Saints in Brazil are willing to make to claim their temple blessings.