Elder Aidukaitis grateful for family’s path to gospel

When asked what the most significant event of his life has been, Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis quickly replied with a smile and said, “The most important day of my life is June 2, 1940.” Of course, he then adds, he was not yet even born. Rather, the date marks the day his father joined the Church, forever changing his family’s path.

Elder Aidukaitis, sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy during April general conference, sat with his wife, Luisa, for a Church News interview during which they spoke of his new calling, their love for the Savior and the courage to do what is right.

Serving as the president of the Brazil Brasilia Mission, Elder Aidukaitis said the news of his calling to the Seventy was overwhelming. “The only thing that comforts me,” he said, “is that I do believe that I was called by God. That is a comfort to me because if I didn’t believe that, maybe I would say, ‘I can’t accept this.”‘

Still, he said it is his father’s example as a pioneer of the Church in Brazil that gives him the courage to do the Lord’s will. Speaking of his father, Antony, he said, “It is unbelievable to me that he accepted the gospel the way it was presented back then.”

Elder Aidukaitis described a time when Brazil had fewer than 300 members and not a single chapel in this country nearly the size of the U.S. Adequate translation of Latter-day scripture in Portuguese would not be available for years and anything published about the Church was always negative.

However, as a native of Scotland, Antony Aidukaitis read the Book of Mormon in English, gained a testimony and joined the Church. “My father read the Book of Mormon and he believed it,” said Elder Aidukaitis. “And even though his mother was against it, even though he had vices … his wife wasn’t interested … he joined a Church that didn’t exist (in Brazil). I love my father for having the courage to do that.”

Standing outside the recently opened Sao Paulo Brazil Temple Visitors' Center is, from left, Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, second counselor in the Brazil Area presidency; Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, president of the Brazil Area; and Elder W. Mark Bassett, first counselor in the Brazil Area presidency.
Standing outside the recently opened Sao Paulo Brazil Temple Visitors’ Center is, from left, Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, second counselor in the Brazil Area presidency; Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, president of the Brazil Area; and Elder W. Mark Bassett, first counselor in the Brazil Area presidency.

Marcos Aidukaitis and Luisa Englert were childhood friends. However, she was not a member of the Church and they lost contact when he left to serve in the Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission and later to school at BYU. After two years in Provo, Utah, he returned briefly to Brazil where they met once again and began writing one another. After more than a year of correspondence, she joined the Church and they were soon married. Sister Aidukaitis said every time they spoke of the gospel, she would feel “hungry” for more.

A year later they were sealed in the Provo Utah Temple. Since then, her brother and a cousin have joined the Church along with their families.

Elder Aidukaitis admits that none of his accomplishments would be possible without the balance his wife brings into his life.

She smiles and reaches for his hand as he says, “Really, I want to be a better person because she is with me. She has this effect on me. Because of her, I am never satisfied with the way I am because I always feel like I have to be better to match her. She is the one that keeps me straight.”

Balance in life is important. Elder Aidukaitis said this was a lesson he was clearly taught by his oldest son when he was 7 years old.

One day young Lucas was asked in class to draw a picture of his family. He drew a lovely house, himself, his mother, his sister and even the dog. However, the teacher knew the boy had a father. When asked why he had not included his father in the picture, Lucas explained, “Oh, my father is working.”

At the time, Elder Aidukaitis was an executive for a multi-national company and was constantly traveling. Additionally, as a stake president he had many other obligations.

“I made the decision that day that I would never have another kid draw the family without me,” he said. “So I changed my habits. I changed my priorities — I even changed jobs because I started looking for different opportunities that wouldn’t force me to be so absent from my family.

“We already did family home evening, read scriptures daily and had family prayer. But from that day on, we became much more diligent and that’s a testimony to me because that makes a whole difference in a family.”

Sister Aidukaitis said love has always been an important part of their home and her husband has been a great example to them, especially his love for the Savior.

“I think that helps him serve — his love for the Savior and for what He’s done for us.”

Another reason for his optimism is that he has learned from first-hand experience how ofttimes the fruits of our labors will not immediately become evident.

While on his mission, Elder Aidukaitis decided to find the missionaries who taught his father to thank them for their service. Only one of them was still alive, an Elder McDonald. They exchanged letters and the two became good friends. “When Elder McDonald passed away, I found out that my father was his only baptism and, up to the day he received my letter, he thought his mission had been a waste.”

Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis Credit: IRI

Although it took nine years, Elder Aidukaitis’ mother eventually joined the Church and converted her entire side of the family. All three of his siblings joined as well; his brother has served as a mission president and another brother as a stake president.

He said he learned, “You can count how many seeds you have in a fruit, but not how many fruits will come from a seed.”

He said of his new responsibilities as a member of the Seventy, “I recognize that I am an unprofitable servant…I know I can’t do much. He will have to do things through me. But if I decided not to do it, then I would be ungrateful. Whatever He asks me to do, I’ll do because after what He did for me, what else could I do?”