Elder Helio R. Camargo

The Camargos had been members of the Church for a little over a year when they started noticing something was wrong with their baby. One-year-old Milton couldn’t sit or stand up; any pressure on his legs was extremely painful. Doctors suspected polio.

Since Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve was coming to Rio de Janeiro for conference, would it be possible, they wondered, for him to give their baby a blessing? (At the time, Brother Camargo hadn’t yet received the Melchizedek Priesthood.) Elder Kimball and mission president Wm. Grant Bangerter were happy to respond.

When Brother Camargo came home for lunch the next afternoon, he found the baby playing in the crib. To his surprise, the little boy pulled himself up into a kneeling position, and then, holding onto the rails of the crib, stood up for the first time! The child was smiling—the pain and problems had disappeared.

“President Kimball is very special to our family,” says Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo, recently sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I know he is a prophet of God.”

There was a time earlier in his life, however, when he didn’t know anything about living prophets. Young Helio had graduated from Academia Militar de Agulhas Negras (the Brazilian equivalent of West Point), had been an officer in the army, had studied business administration, and had worked in a bank. In 1956, while he was studying in a Methodist seminary and serving as pastor, he and other theological students became interested in knowing more about other religions. Brother Camargo looked up a number in the phone book and called the LDS mission president, asking if a representative could come and speak to the group. The two young missionaries who came gave an excellent presentation, concluding with a baptismal challenge. “No one accepted the challenge at the time,” he remembers, smiling. They also left copies of the Book of Mormon and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Months later, when Pastor Camargo experienced a crisis in his faith, he turned to the books the missionaries had left and found the answers and the peace he was searching for.

Since their baptisms in 1957, Elder Camargo and his wife, Nair, have given years of service to the Church. Sister Camargo has served as a teacher and as Relief Society and Primary president. Elder Camargo has served as a teacher, bishop, counselor to two mission presidents, stake president, mission president, and regional representative. Both have sung in the choir for many years.

“I believe every calling is important,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a deacon, a home teacher, or a General Authority. I would love to be a Sunday School teacher again.” But he senses the immense responsibility associated with his new calling: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with the Saints, to work hard, and to serve the Lord.”

Of great joy to them is their family—twelve grandchildren and five living children. All of their children have been married in the temple and are working actively in the Church. They love to get together at the family “farm,” a picturesque mountain setting located between Rio and Sao Paulo. As a family, they love to swim and play games, study together, and sing and play the piano.

“When President Hinckley asked me if I would accept this calling,” says Elder Camargo, “I told him I would because I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ and He is in charge. I know that with the Lord’s help, I can do this work—even with my limitations. I don’t have any doubts that He is in charge.”