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Brazil praises Church’s contribution to country

The Church was very visible throughout Brazil in November as a major television station produced a series on Nov. 5-9 that was viewed by an estimated 45 million people. On Nov. 22, the Federal Senate held a special plenary session to recognize the humanitarian work of the Church, and to honor missionaries of the past 80 years.
Courtesy Brazil AreaElder Claudio R.M. Costa meets with reporter Fabio Panunnzio.
To produce the television series, a team of reporters and photographers from TV Bandeirantes, including the well-known reporter Fabio Pannunzio, visited Utah. Reporter Pannunzio has made exclusive reports from 13 countries in the past year. In Utah, he visited historic sites, examined Church programs, listened to the Tabernacle Choir, searched his ancestral roots in the Family History Center, learned about the Church’s humanitarian and welfare systems, and visited BYU. The report also included an interview with Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy, a Brazilian.
The reporter told how the Church helped in the aftermath of the Peruvian earthquake, noting that the Church was one of the first international organizations to respond.
The respected journalist said the Tabernacle Choir “was incredible. What a beautiful sound!” He also attended the Missionary Training Center, where he was impressed by the quality of Portuguese speaking among teachers and department directors. At the Family History Library, he was amazed at how quickly he found information about the birth of his grandfather, and even printed a copy of his birth certificate.
These documentaries, which presented the Church in an even light, were watched from north to south of Brazil. The outcome was so positive that in Rio de Janeiro, Macae region, “missionaries were stopped on the streets, and people would applaud and congratulate them for their work,” said President Joao L. Oppe of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission.
Elder Savio Linhares, Area Seventy, said, “The effect the media has in Brazil is extraordinary. In my life as a member I have never seen anything like this.”
The plenary session of the Brazilian Federal Senate was sponsored by Senator Edison Lobao, who visited Utah in August. Other senators who joined him were Alvaro Dias, Romeu Tuma, Mao Santo, Eduardo Suplicy and Gerson Camata.
Two missionaries honored were Wayne and Evelyn Beck, representing thousands who have served in Brazil.
Courtesy Brazil AreaDuring a plenary session of the Brazilian Federal Senate, various senators, including Senator Alvaro Dias, praised the Church and its programs saying it has contributed to the sense of humanitarianism and community, especially in Brazil.
Senator Lobao described the Church as one of the fastest growing in the world, and noted that it has a unique place in Brazil.
In his address to the senate, Senator Dias said that the Church had contributed to the sense of humanitarianism and community, especially in Brazil. About 163 countries have received Church aid, in both funds and supplies. He also mentioned the Church’s program, Mormon Helping Hands. This nationwide program continues to increase in the number of projects and the number of participants. As recently as Sept. 7, some 284 public schools were cleaned and spruced up by some 60,000 volunteers.
Senator Alvaro Dias and Senator Romeu Tuma were emotional several times as they remarked about the Church’s emphasis on family, and training in the home, and the importance of having God’s support during the difficult moments of life.
Also present was former Deputy Moroni Torgan (an elected position similar to a U.S. representative), who is LDS. Senator Tuma mentioned that Deputy Torgan was his friend and companion in the legislative body for 15 years. He openly thanked him for his faith, spiritual demeanor and love for family.
Representing the Church at the event was Elder Ronaldo da Costa, Area Seventy, who was invited to sit with the senators.
“It was very emotional,” said Elder da Costa. “I shed tears many times. It was incredible to me (for the Church) to receive this recognition from the senators. We were honored to be here.”
Courtesy Brazil AreaChurch members meet members of the Brazilian Federal Senate.

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