The Lord Is My Strength


From the time I was a little girl living in Brazil, I dreamed of accomplishing great things. But I was very shy and insecure. I felt incapable of doing anything important. Because of my shyness, I was often misunderstood by others and failed at most projects I attempted.

As the years went by, I felt an increasing urgency to leave the anonymity in which I had hidden myself. I knew that God expected something of me, but I did not know what. And though I sensed that there was a way—a path—out of my inadequacy, I did not know where to find it.

When I married and gave birth to two sons, I became even more worried about finding that path; I had my children’s future to think of now, too. What would they do when they grew up? What could I teach them? All I had to share were the experiences of a shy person who had failed many times.

Then came the day that two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on our door. As they taught us, I began to see a path to a better future. But I still had to find out if it was the right path. It was a difficult decision because, in the beginning, my husband didn’t want to join the Church. After we had received the discussions, we decided to wait to be baptized. But we still continued attending the Church’s activities.

Two years later, my older son was in an accident, and I was reminded how fragile life is and how important it is to prepare for eternity. I decided that I was going to join the Church. When my husband realized I had made a firm decision, he also decided to be baptized. And thus, on 26 June 1976, the four of us were baptized members of the Church.

I had found the path I had been looking for. I knew I had a Heavenly Father who had given me talents and wanted me to develop them. I found myself loved by people who accepted me the way I was and who taught me how to grow as a person, as a mother, and as a wife. I knew that I had a Father who expected something from me and that I could no longer hide behind my shyness.

I began to learn and progress. I fulfilled several callings in the Church. Through the Relief Society, I learned many things that have helped me grow materially and spiritually. I have participated in dances, theater, and choir. I have organized programs. I have learned several crafts, and now I am studying music.

My husband and my two sons have continued to grow in the gospel, too. My younger son was a full-time missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission. We all remain active in the Mogi Centro Ward in São Paulo.

Today I am nearly 60 years old and currently serve as education counselor in the stake Relief Society presidency. My husband and I also serve in the São Paulo Temple. I am still shy, but I don’t hide myself when I am doing God’s work. The Church has taught me that in the eyes of God there are no inadequate people.

My objective is to prepare for eternal life by growing in wisdom and spirituality, developing my talents, and being humble. I want to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence someday as a person who, though not always able to achieve, never gave up.

But whatever I do, I will always remember that the glory belongs to our Heavenly Father. I owe everything I have become to him and to my membership in his church.

[photo] Photograph by Cleumar Macedo