Commissioned artist grateful for conversion

RIO CLARO, Brazil — "The minute that I entered the Church I felt something very special," said Ozeias Alves, 35. "I knew at that very moment that this was the place for me. I know now that this was the Holy Ghost resting upon me."

A member of the Limeira Ward, Rio Claro Brazil Stake, Brother Alves said he had been invited three times to attend services by his uncle in Piracicaba, but he was not interested in going. Right after he finally accepted an invitation to attend, he began listening to the missionaries in his home. Brother Alves said with emotion, "Each time I remember the day of my baptism, I cry tears of gratitude."

He said the missionaries were very attentive and concerned for his welfare because he is but three feet in height, and was born with problems that make it impossible to walk upright normally.

"They literally carried me on their shoulders to the Church on the day of my baptism," he recalled. "It was like a horseback ride. I held onto the elder's neck as he rode the bicycle. I will never forget this love and concern. Then after the baptism we even stopped to buy cookies and Guarana [soft drink]. This was the way that they commemorated my baptism and my birthday. It was the most important day of my life."

From that day forward, Brother Alves never missed Church meetings and has had many different callings, including serving as an officiator in the Sao Paulo Temple and a home teacher; he is the ward's Liahona magazine representative. He professes that the articles in the magazine have a way of taking one right to general conferences. "I am able to feel just like I am in Salt Lake City when I read the Liahona."

Along with serving in the Church with great happiness and faith, Brother Alves is an excellent artist.

"I was motivated by friends and members of the Church to take a painting course given by the City of Limeira. After receiving a lot of encouragement I decided to take the classes and from that time to the present I have painted more than l50 pictures," he said.

His paintings, beyond reflecting his talents, have assisted with the family budget. Many people commissioned his work. Brother Alves spends approximately seven to eight hours a day painting.

"I am very happy," he said. "I have the opportunity to work at something that I love. I also love to help my neighbor.

"When I sell a picture, the first thing that I do is separate out my tithing," he said. "It does not belong to me."

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