Brazil stake stresses activation, retention

An area-wide emphasis on retention of new converts and activation of those who may have fallen away from Church activity is making a difference throughout Brazil.

One of the stakes where the emphasis is particularly effective is the Sao Paulo Vila Sabrina Brazil Stake. Stake Pres. Jose Olimpio Fabrizio reported in a recent stake general priesthood meeting that of the 200 men and young men in attendance, half were active as a result of this emphasis.Elder Harold G. Hillam of the Presidency of the Seventy and former Brazil Area president explained: "The first step is to baptize whole families. When men join the Church, the entire family then has a focus on the gospel. Even with families joining together, however, we, too, often don't follow up properly and as a result lose some of those new brothers and sisters. With proper follow-up, leaders paying attention to basic details, new members will stay and grow, and the less-active members will become full participants."

He explained that constant communication between mission and stake and ward leaders, meaningful callings, dates set for major goals, support by the auxiliaries and close monitoring by priesthood leaders are among the steps of the emphasis.

"Leaders like Pres. Fabrizio who roll up their sleeves and do it, following the steps, see results," said Elder Hillam. "The participants stay active or return to activity, gain a testimony and receive the blessings of the temple."

He explained that the emphasis is not a new program, but rather is a structured use of the existing program. In the emphasis, missionaries and leaders are instructed on how to interest and teach men the gospel. Men are ordained promptly and given meaningful callings and are assigned as home teachers.

The elders quorum works closely with each man, and the auxiliaries work closely with each woman and child.

Pres. Fabrizio said that since this emphasis was started in September 1994, only three new male converts had not participated actively in the stake's priesthood activities - one of the three had died and two others had moved away.

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