Several years ago, I recall hearing President James E. Faust (1920-2007) speak about his mission to Brazil. I researched the year he was called to serve; it was 1939, just prior to WWII. This is a picture of him around the time he served his mission. Doesn't he have a resemblance to Harrison Ford? He mentioned that at times it was discouraging for him and the other missionaries there because of their low baptism rate. Those were the early days of missionary work in South America. During one particularly slow year of President Faust's three-year mission, there were only three convert baptisms among the 70 missionaries serving in Brazil. Still, he and his fellow missionaries worked hard.
According to the LDS Newsroom, these are the current statistics for membership in Brazil today.
- Membership 1,060,556
- Missions 27
- Temples 5
- Congregations 1,849
- Family History Centers 299
The effects of President Faust's missionary efforts weren't immediate. He eventually saw the growth of the Church in Brazil as a General Authority of the Church. He shared this experience to teach that we must never give up on building the kingdom of God, and never deny what you know is TRUE. Continue to share your testimony even when you feel like no one is listening.
There are many heroes in the Book of Mormon, but Abinadi is one that I have always admired. He taught the truth, no matter what. I'm sure he felt like no one was listening to him when he spoke to Noah and his priests. But he taught what he knew was true about Christ and put his life on the line for it. That's integrity. If we were faced with giving up our lives to defend our faith, would we? Could we? Abinadi's testimony converted at least one person that we know of; Alma. Abinadi's testimony, through Alma, had an effect on the entire Nephite nation, and continues to do so with us in the Latter-days.
When we speak the truths of the gospel, it gives the Spirit the opportunity to teach others by testifying to them that what we are saying is true.
I wrote a little note to myself in my scriptures about Abinadi at the end of Mosiah 17. Isn't he one of your heroes too?