“Guided by the Lord,” Liahona, March 2021
Before we got married, André was working on his PhD and received a position to work at the University of Michigan. We got married and moved to Michigan. Eventually, André began having some trouble at work and wanted to change jobs.
We were young, we had just gotten married, and we didn’t know what to do. We decided to pray about it.
One day, I went to the university and saw a board where available job positions were posted. I applied to three different job postings. In a week, I was offered all three jobs.
We wondered what to do. We prayed again. One position was in England, but we wanted to stay in the United States. One was in Texas, and the other job was in Maryland near Washington, D.C. The job in Maryland was with NASA. André is a scientist, so NASA seemed like a good place to go.
On our move to Maryland, I was driving while Giselle slept. It was early in the morning when I saw the Washington D.C. Temple.
“Wake up! Wake up! Can you see it?” I said to Giselle. “It’s like a castle!”
I told André that maybe we could go and visit one day. We had no idea what it was. A few days after arriving in Maryland, I went to the library to use the internet to apply for jobs and check my email.
A lady who worked there heard my accent and asked where I was from. I told her I was from Brazil and we started to talk. Her name was Edna. I told her we had just moved from Michigan and mentioned where we lived.
“I live in the same apartments,” Edna said.
When I went back to the library the next day, Edna said, “I’m so glad you’re back. I want to invite you and your husband to my house for dinner.”
I thought that was strange because she didn’t know me. Then she said, “I prayed about you because I felt something really special when I met you yesterday.”
We went to her house and learned that her husband had recently passed away. After dinner, she played, “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” (Hymns, no. 220) on the piano. She said it was her husband’s favorite hymn and it was played at his funeral. Then she talked to us about the plan of salvation and invited us to go to church with her.
We went to church, and the people there were welcoming. We decided to go the next Sunday. We agreed to have the missionary lessons. Edna offered to have the lessons at her house. For five months we went to church every Sunday. Our hearts and spirits were being prepared for baptism.
When our baptism was announced, everyone looked surprised. “Wow, you’re not members?” they said. “But you’re here every week!” Our baptism was special. Almost the whole ward attended.
We were sealed in the Washington D.C. Temple one year later. When we went to the temple, we realized that it was the castle we saw over a year earlier!
After we were sealed in the temple, a lot of things were not working well.
After September 11, 2001, it was hard for us to renew our visas. I was sad because I had just graduated from a community college and applied for a full scholarship at the University of Maryland. I didn’t get the scholarship, and the lab André worked for was closing.
We thought that maybe the time had come for us to go back to Brazil.
Our bishop told us we could help a lot of members in Brazil and grow in ways we might not in the United States. He counseled us to stay close to the Church.
“Go to Brazil and serve the Lord,” he said.
After living in Brazil for some time, our stake president came to our house and called me to serve as bishop. I somehow knew I was going to be called. For a couple of nights before my call, I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking and studying.
I wondered what was going on. I saw him change before his call.
When I started my calling, our ward had 80 active members. When I was released, many more attended church regularly, and 12 missionaries went into the field from our ward. It was great!
Around the time I was released, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was released from the First Presidency. I remember President Russell M. Nelson saying that President Uchtdorf had new and important responsibilities in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Three months later, I was called as first counselor in the mission presidency. I didn’t serve a mission, but I love my calling. I love working with the missionaries. The Lord knows me. He knew I needed to be released as bishop so I can serve in the time and place that is right for me now.