Manaus Members Blessed for Faithful Temple Attendance
Contributed By By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
The work of the Church quickly took hold in Manaus, Brazil—an isolated city of 1.7 million people surrounded by water and rain forest and accessible only by boat or plane.
Church work began in Manaus in 1967; the first Latter-day Saint congregation was organized in 1978. Members asked the Area Presidency to send them missionaries, paid to fly elders from southern cities to Manaus, gave the missionaries free board and room, and found people for them to teach. Missionaries from the Rio de Janeiro Mission and then the Brazil Brasilia Mission found success in Manaus.
On July 1, 1990, the Church opened the Brazil Manaus Mission; Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy and president of the Church’s Brazil Area, served as the first president of the new mission. The city was young and had just one stake—created two years earlier in 1988.
But members were faithful and sacrificed much for the gospel of Jesus Christ. An example of this dedication was the faithful temple attendance of those who lived in Manaus.
On November 25, 1992, a small group of pioneer members left the Amazon River Basin and traveled the 2,389 miles to the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple—which is farther than the distance between Salt Lake City and New York City. They arrived at the temple on December 10, 1992, after a long and difficult journey by boat and bus. “It was very expensive for these pioneers to travel,” recalled Elder Costa. “They sold many things they had. Many sold pieces of land. Many sold their cars or motorcycles or furniture. Everything they had that was possible to sell, they sold to pay for the trip.”
Francisco Reghin, an earlier pioneer member in Manaus, was serving as a counselor in the stake presidency in 1992. His wife, Suely Reghin, was a member of the first temple caravan.
Brother Reghin reported that when the first group reached the temple in Sao Paulo, they were sick from traveling for a long time in a confined space but “very happy.”
For almost 20 years, other members in Manaus sacrificed to visit the temple, traveling by caravan to attend the temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil—a 15-day round-trip journey by boat and bus—and then Caracas, Venezuela—an eight-day journey by bus. Often buses broke down; on one occasion, a bus was assaulted by robbers; later a bus wrecked traveling home from Caracas.
Today members need not sacrifice in that way to attend the temple. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the Manaus Brazil Temple on June 10, 2012.