Friend to Friend

Serving in the Church

From an interview with Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president; by Lena Harper

Sister Julie B. Beck
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Be true, be true, and stand for the right (Children’s Songbook, 159).

From the age of four until I was nine, I lived in São Paulo, Brazil. My father was a mission president there, so I grew up in a mission home. I was baptized in Brazil, and I saw many people get baptized. A number of missionaries lived in our home, so missionaries ate at our dinner table every night. I listened to their stories of faith and heard about who they were teaching the gospel to. My brothers and I often pretended we were missionaries and practiced teaching about the Church. It was wonderful to feel like I was part of the missionary work.

Our Primary in Brazil was very small at first. Only a few Primary songs had been translated into Portuguese. My favorite song was “The Light Divine.” I also loved singing the hymns “Secret Prayer” and “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” in Portuguese.

Being a mission president was just one of my father’s many callings. My parents were always serving in the Church. They taught my nine brothers and sisters and me that serving in the Church is an important part of life. They taught us to shake hands, say hello, and greet people. Our parents taught us not to be shy. Smiling, shaking hands, and saying hello were some of the ways we served in the Church.

When my parents visited other wards for their Church service, they weren’t home on Sundays. Yet, even when we were alone, my brothers and sisters and I would get ourselves to church. We knew that we were expected to take the sacrament and do our part. People in the ward would ask my mother how she got us to go to church by ourselves. She would reply, “They just get up and go because that’s what they’re expected to do.”

I believe that the testimonies of children are powerful. I hope you hang on to your testimony throughout your lives, and that you stay in the true Church. That’s all you have to do—stay in and do the things the Lord asks you to do—and you will be all right.

map of South America

Map by Mark Robison

São Paulo, Brazil, was my home for five years.

Our family while living in Brazil

I liked to ride my tricycle down our steep driveway, which was paved with bumpy cobblestones.

Sister Gloria Silveira (on the right) was my Primary teacher, and her daughter Marisa was my friend. We had a reunion in São Paulo in 2008.

Here I am with my parents, Elder William Grant Bangerter and Sister Geraldine Hamblin Bangerter; my baby sister, Peggy; and Elder Spencer W. Kimball and his wife, Camilla, when they visited Brazil.

In Primary I learned the Articles of Faith in Portuguese.