Members of the Brazil Area Presidency recently met with First Lady of Brazil Michelle Bolsonaro to discuss humanitarian aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a March 17 Brazil Newsroom release.
Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Brazil Area, highlighted several projects The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is developing in the country and around the world, including the donation of wheelchairs, the Helping Hands initiative, neonatal resuscitation training and emergency aid.
Bolsonaro chairs Pátria Voluntária (Voluntary Fatherland Program), which was created by the federal government in 2019 to promote participation in voluntary work for the most vulnerable populations and to offer emergency aid.
The Church of Jesus Christ collaborated with Pátria Voluntária to donate 5,000 basic food baskets in Manaus in February to benefit those economically affected by COVID-19. In Fortaleza, 300,000 disposable surgical masks were donated through the “World Vision” institution.
Elder Joni L. Koch, second counselor in the Brazil Area Presidency, spoke of the Church’s interest in supporting additional humanitarian initiatives, including those Pátria Voluntária develops.
The meeting took place at the president’s home, the Palácio da Alvorada in Brasília, and was also attended by Adriana Pinheiro, executive secretary of Pátria Voluntária, and Silvana Neitzke, from the Secretariat of Communication.
The First Lady was presented with a porcelain figurine titled “The Family” in addition to other materials.
Elder Parrella told her, “We want to serve. Our teacher is Jesus Christ and we testify that He lives.”
The Church has been present in Brazil since the late 1920s. Home to nearly 1.5 million members in 279 stakes, the South American country has 36 missions and seven temples in operation with four announced or under construction — in addition to the Rio de Janeiro Temple which is completed and awaiting dedication.
Read more about this historic meeting on the Church’s Brazil Newsroom website.