Mormon Helping Hands Volunteers Share the Gospel Subtly through Service
By Márcio Roberto Patelli, Public Affairs Director, Campo Grande Brazil Monte Líbano Stake
Today Renata Targas is a member of the Church in the Campo Grande Brazil Stake and is a regular volunteer in the Mormon Helping Hands program. But just a short time ago she was neither.
Her exposure to the Church began when she was watching a popular television program “O Povo na TV” (“The People on TV”), which was reporting on the humanitarian assistance the Mormon Helping Hands program provided—specifically regarding wheelchair donations.
Sister Targas relates that she “felt touched by the work and wanted to help too” by donating a wheelchair in her home that was not being used. She called the telephone number on the screen and spoke to Josiane Freire, assistant director of public affairs of the Campo Grande Stake, who set up an appointment to come to her residence.
From that time forward, Sister Targas was a friend of the Church. She and Sister Freire went together to donate the chair to the Dom Bosco rest home.
But that was just the beginning of Sister Targas’s Helping Hands service. After that experience, she became a regular volunteer with the Helping Hands program, participating in a variety of activities throughout the region. Little by little she began to receive the missionary lessons and later said, “I was already LDS but just didn’t know it.”
After receiving all of the missionary lessons, Sister Targas decided to be baptized. On the day of her baptism, May 19, 2012, she participated in an activity stocking food at a storehouse as a volunteer and then went to the Monte Castelo meetinghouse to be baptized.
Laura Helena of the Campo Grande Brazil Stake was also baptized as a result of the Mormon Helping Hands program.
Sister Helena’s family had met several times with the missionaries, and Sister Helena had even scheduled her baptism, but she still had some doubts. She was invited to participate in a food-stocking activity in conjunction with the Helping Hands program, which fell on the same day as her baptism.
She relates that as the day grew closer, she decided not to be baptized but went to the activity anyway. At the storehouse, as she observed people around her gathering to help provide food to others they did not know, she felt the Spirit very strongly—so much so, in fact, that she told the missionaries right then that she wanted to be baptized.
Since other baptisms were already scheduled for after the activity, Sister Helena was baptized that day along with her two daughters, Ivone and Gabriele. Afterwards, she even went back to the storehouse to help finish the project.