A Prayer in Itacoatiara


My name is Chrislaine Da Silva Brasil. I’m 12 years old. I live in a town called Itacoatiara in northern Brazil. (Yes, my family and my country share the same name.) Itacoatiara is on the Amazon River just below the equator. It’s very hot and humid here in the summer, and it rains heavily in the winter.

The Amazon River is very important to people in my town. Some men make a living catching and selling the many different kinds of fish in the river. My Mom cooks great fish dinners that we eat with rice, beans, and salads. We have a lot of fresh fruit to eat as well.

The river is also like a highway. People travel on it in boats of all sizes.

My family took a special boat ride on the river in December 1993. With other members of the Church, we made the long journey south to the temple in São Paulo. Mom and Dad were going for their own temple work and to be sealed together in marriage for time and eternity. Then we were to be sealed together as an eternal family—Mom, Dad, my younger sister Joyce, and me.

My family made plans for the trip many months ahead. It costs a lot of money to get to the temple. We saved by not buying many of the things we liked, even our favorite soda pop.

As the time came closer to leave, we became very excited.

And then I had to make a big decision.

At the time, I was in grade school and would soon graduate. But first, I had to take the final exams of the school year—and the exams were scheduled for the same time we were planning to go to the temple.

Mom went to the school and told my teacher I would be absent for 10 days because our family was going to São Paulo. The teacher said I couldn’t leave school then. If I did, she warned, I wouldn’t be able to take the exams and graduate.

I didn’t like the thoughts of that.

I began praying in my mind for Heavenly Father to help me do what was right so that everything would work out well for all of us.

That night before dinner we had a family council. Mom explained what had happened and then said, “Chris, you need to make a decision. Either you take the exams and graduate, or we all go to the temple.”

I felt tears running down my cheeks as I said, “Let’s go to the temple.”

At that moment I felt the warmth of the Spirit, and I knew things would work out.

And they did!

For some reason, the final exams were held earlier than expected, and I was able to take them and graduate before we left for the temple.

We were on the boat for three days, then had to travel by bus for another three days. We had meals on the boat and at special bus stops along the way. In São Paulo, we stayed at the Missionary Training Center, where we cooked our own meals. We spent a few days in São Paulo, in the temple and visiting the city, and then made the long journey back home.

This wonderful experience helped me understand that Heavenly Father answers prayers when we try to do what is right. I’m grateful I was able to graduate. But I’m even more grateful that we can be a family together forever.

[photos] Photography by David Mitchell

[photos] Chris, left, cuddles new kittens born to the Brasil family’s cat Princesa (Princess). Above: The Brasil family, from left: 8-year-old Joyce; Chris; dad, Antonio; and mom, María.

[photo] A neighborhood dog knows it will always get a friendly welcome from Chris.

[photo] Chris offers a helping hand as her younger sister, Joyce, does her school homework.