When the two ladies first knocked on our door, I didn’t know what to think. They called themselves “sisters” and said they were missionaries for a church with a long name I couldn’t remember. I had never heard of that church and they didn’t look like missionaries to me. The missionaries I knew from other churches were older-looking men and women. They didn’t pay much attention to us because we were just children, even though I was almost ten years old and some people said I was a young man.
My mother invited the missionaries inside and they told us a story about a boy named Joseph who had a vision, just like the prophets in the Bible stories. When Joseph was eighteen, he was praying one night and an angel called Moroni visited him. The angel told him about some gold plates that were hidden in a mountainside. The angel told Joseph where to look for the plates and what to do with them. Imagine what it would be like if an angel came and told you about a secret hiding place for real gold plates! It sounded like a wonderful adventure. I was curious to know more about those gold plates.
The sisters showed us a book. They said it was from a translation of the plates that had ancient writing on them. God had given Joseph the power to translate the writing into a language we understood. All this happened in the United States, but the sisters said the book was for everyone, including everyone who lived in my country of Brazil. They left the book with us and told us to read it and pray about what we read. Mother kept it and asked them to come back another day.
Missionaries from other churches had visited our home before, so I didn’t think very much about the book or the sisters. Usually after some big discussions that I couldn’t understand, the missionaries would stop coming and mother would tell me that she didn’t believe what they taught her. I thought the same thing would happen with these two sisters, even though I thought they were nice.
But these sisters kept coming back. And each time they taught us, mother said she believed in what they said and wanted them to teach her more. I liked them more each time they came and I was as excited to see them as my little brother and sister were. The sisters taught lessons that I could understand and asked me questions that I could answer. They even wanted us to ask them questions if we didn’t understand. Then we would all play games together. The sisters said I was lindo with my straight brown hair and big brown eyes. I turned red because not very many people said I was handsome.
Soon we were going to church and doing things with the children in the Primary. My teacher was very friendly and even asked me to be one of the wise men in the festa de Natal, the Christmas play. My brother and sister were asked to sing in the choir. I read about the birth of Jesus in the Bible to memorize my part. The reis magos [three Magi] were important men and I was happy to play the part of one.
By this time, the sister missionaries asked us to be baptized. When I talked to mother about it, she said she prayed and knew what the sisters taught was true and she felt good about the Church. She knew the Book of Mormon was from God and she wanted me to know too. When I prayed about what the sisters taught, I felt good, but I wasn’t sure that I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon like they said I should have.
One day, the sisters brought us uma surpresa—a surprise that would help me and my sister and brother know the Book of Mormon was true. It was a storybook with colored pictures telling the stories of the prophets in the Book of Mormon. “This is my chance to know if it’s true or not,” I thought to myself. I wanted to read it right away.
After the sisters left that night, I got ready for bed and started reading the storybook. Then I remembered that the sisters told me to pray before I read it. I knelt down to say my prayers and I asked Heavenly Father to help me know that the Book of Mormon is true. I said if I could stay awake until I finished reading the book, I would know that it was true. Then I started reading and was excited about the big trip Lehi and his family took across the waters in the barca [ship], and the wars between the people in the land. I liked reading about the 2,000 jovens guerreiros—the young warriors who fought for their families. I wished I was one of them. Before I knew it, I was finished with the book. And I wasn’t even tired.
Then I knew that the Book of Mormon was true and that everything the sisters taught was right. But the greatest thing to know was that Heavenly Father loved me so much he answered my prayer. Now I knew that if I obeyed his commandments he would answer my prayers. I was ready to be baptized.
Mother and I prepared for our baptisms. My brother and sister were too young to be baptized but they couldn’t wait until it was their turn. When the Elder baptized me and I came out of the water, I was proud and excited to be a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a name I would never forget.