The Lord’s plans are ‘bigger than we can imagine’ says new Sunday School leader Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo

In 1957, while pregnant with her son, Milton, Nair Belmira da Rocha Camargo made the decision to follow her husband’s example and be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Helio da Rocha Camargo, a former Methodist minister in Brazil — who was later called as the first Brazilian General Authority of the Church in 1985, — had taken nearly a year to decide to be baptized. But the Camargos’ combined decisions have blessed their future generations, Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo said.

Born on March 10, 1958, in Taubate in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, Brother Camargo said he was lucky to grow up in a family where the restored gospel of Jesus Christ was an integral part of life.

“It was with my mother that I really learned how to pray,” said Brother Camargo, who was sustained April 6 as first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.

Meet the 10 new General Authority Seventies, Sunday School presidency called in general conference

“I still remember when I was around 8 years old and my mother decided to pray, alone with me, every night. We would kneel by my bed. She would pray, then ask me to pray. She did that for many days, until she felt I had learned and would continue that practice by myself,” he said, recalling the experiences from his youth that served to shape his testimony.

“I will be eternally grateful to my mother for that, because I learned to talk to my Heavenly Father in a very personal and meaningful way.”

Later, while serving as a missionary in the Portugal Lisbon Mission, Brother Camargo came to a clear understanding and recognition of how the Holy Ghost communicates with him.

Although he received many promptings before his mission, he said it was only as a missionary that he realized the impressions he felt in his younger years had come from the Holy Ghost.

“I consider this discovery a very sacred experience for me,” he said.

After concluding his mission in 1979, Brother Camargo returned to Rio de Janeiro, where his parents were serving as mission president and companion. There he reconnected with the young woman who would become his wife.

Patricia Monteiro de Brito was baptized at a young age with her parents and younger brother. The Brito family, the first in the city of Sao Goncalo in the state of Rio de Janeiro to be baptized, was a pioneer family of the Church in the area.

Brother Camargo had met Patricia prior to his own mission, when his parents were called to preside over the Rio de Janeiro Mission, but it wasn’t until after he returned from Portugal that their relationship flourished.

At the age of 19, Patricia had been thinking about the qualities she wanted in a future husband, settling on two important traits. She wanted someone who could speak English and play the piano.

“She got those with me,” said Brother Camargo with a laugh, recalling how he tried to impress his future wife by playing the piano and speaking English for her just a few nights after returning home from his mission. And although they joke about how they impressed one another, it was their shared love of the Lord and missionary work that really brought them together.

The young couple married just a year later on Jan. 4, 1980, and were sealed the following day in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple.

While living in Rio de Janeiro during the early years of their marriage, Brother Camargo completed a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Instituto Militar De Engenharia in 1982 and received an MBA from Brigham Young University in 1991.

From 1997 to 2000, Brother and Sister Camargo served as mission president and companion in the Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission.

“Serving together deepened our love for each other. We also experienced Christ’s love as we developed a deep and lasting love for our 522 missionaries,” Brother Camargo said.

He added that in his other callings — including as an Area Seventy in both Brazil and Spain from 2005 to 2013 — helped his testimony to grow as he witnessed the kingdom of God expanding in marvelous ways.

“I could see some of the revelations from the Book of Mormon become reality in front of my eyes, and once again I was able to feel the influence of the Spirit in that sacred calling,” he said.

Brother Camargo has worked in different industries across various countries over the years, but in the last decade he has dedicated his time and energy to the education of others.

As an employee of Laureate Education group, he worked as president of three universities in Brazil and one in Mexico — Universidade Potiguar in the city of Natal, Centro Universitario Uninorte in the city of Manaus, Laureate Brazil Online University in the city of Sao Paulo, and Universidad Tecnologica de Mexico in Mexico City.

Most recently, Brother Camargo joined BYU-Pathway Worldwide as the vice president of curriculum.

In their almost 40 years of marriage, Brother and Sister Camargo have moved 24 times, but each time they make life-changing decisions, they seek the guidance of the Spirit.

His plans for each of us are bigger than we can imagine.

“I can see the Lord directing us in every single step of our lives, and that has been a blessing,” Brother Camargo said.

For Sister Camargo, searching the scriptures has always been a key part seeking the Lord’s guidance in her life.

“The Lord has answered many of my questions and directed me in key decisions through the scriptures, fasting and prayers,” she said.

As Brother Camargo’s job has taken him and his family to many unexpected places all over the world, he said that no matter where they have lived and worked — from Brazil, to Spain, to Mexico and the U.S. — for the Camargos, family and the gospel always come first.

“Our hobby is to be together,” Brother Camargo said of his wife, three children and 13 grandchildren. They spend a lot of time sharing music together, playing violin and piano for family talent shows.

And despite feeling taken by surprise with his new calling in the Sunday School general presidency, he said his testimony has once again been strengthened since he was called in April. Through his new calling he has had opportunities to interact with members and families and that it has been a blessing to witness how their lives are blessed by the continuing revelations of the Church.

New Sunday School General Presidency, Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo, first counselor, Brother Mark L. Pace, president, and Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor pose for a photo at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 8, 2019.
New Sunday School General Presidency, Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo, first counselor, Brother Mark L. Pace, president, and Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor pose for a photo at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 8, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, Deseret News

“‘Come, Follow Me’ is a blessing for all individuals and families,” he said. “As families study together during the week and share what they have learned in Sunday meetings, their testimonies grow stronger, deeper and lasting.”

In this calling, as in all those he has had before, Brother Camargo said he’ll follow the patterns he and his wife have established to grow together in the gospel, by listening to the Spirit and doing as the Lord commands them.

“The Lord knows us individually,” Brother Camargo said. “His plans for each of us are bigger than we can imagine, as long as we are willing to do His will.”