New Brazilian General Authority shares his faith that the Lord knows best

Elder Ciro Schmeil has always strived to be obedient to the Lord, even if not understanding the reasoning behind a specific commandment. 

For instance, “When I left to [serve a] mission, I did not have a huge desire to go on a mission,” he said. But in doing so, he discovered the truth contained in the promise found in Doctrine and Covenants 130: 20-21

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

By being obedient and choosing to serve in the Utah Ogden Mission (1989-1991), “I was able to see the hand of the Lord in my life [and] to really strengthen a testimony of the of the Book of Mormon.” 

Elder Schmeil — sustained as a General Authority Seventy in the April 2020 general conference — was born in April 1971 in Ponta Grossa, Paraná, Brazil, to Bruno and Erica Schmeil. Both his parents are converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They raised their six children in Curitiba, Brazil.

At about the time his parents were called to preside over the Brazil Campinas Mission, he left to serve in the Utah Ogden Mission. Upon completing his mission service, Elder Schmeil attended the University of Utah. 

Towards the end of his schooling at the University of Utah, he met Alessandra Machado Louza, a masters student at Brigham Young University from São Paulo, Brazil. They met at a devotional for Brazilian members of the Church, the Sunday evening after general conference. 

“When we met for the first time at the devotional, she totally ignored me,” Elder Schmeil said. But for him, it was love at first sight.

Fortunately, he learned in the mission field how to be persistent. They were married in the São Paulo Brazil Temple in July 1994 and are the parents of two children — a daughter and a son.

Elder Schmeil earned a Bachelor’s degree in architectural studies from the University of Utah and an executive MBA from Ohio University.

Elder and Sister Schmeil returned to Brazil for 20 years before moving to Colorado and then to Florida. He has worked for Walmart Brasil as head of real estate development, as chief operating officer of Scopel, general manager of Cia City and as head of real estate for JBSSA.

Moving from Brazil back to the United States with two teenagers after 20 years was challenging for the Schmeil family. Although their children knew the basics of English, they weren’t proficient and had to learn the language. Additionally, they had to make new friends in Colorado.

However, Elder Schmeil said, “as a family, we learned that, with God’s help, we could do hard things.”

Their son especially struggled with going to school or Church because he understood very little English. “He essentially learned to speak English reading the Book of Mormon,” Elder Schmeil said, explaining how his son promised the Savior that he would read it in English every day. “That’s essentially how he was able to pick up the language very fast.”

Moving again — to Miami, Florida — two years later was an even more difficult move for their children, Sister Schmeil said. “But as we look back, we see that it was a time of a lot of trials, but also the time that we most felt the Lord’s hand in our lives. It was a way of getting us closer to the Lord and also closer to each other.”

One thing that Elder Schmeil had been taught by his parents, and adopted since the early days of his marriage, “was always to do our best and to put God first in our lives,” Elder Schmeil said. Their family has “always, always put God first in our lives.” 

That can mean many things, he said, from paying tithing to keeping the commandments to “always finding time to serve.”

“Every calling has its purpose for us to learn and to develop,” said Elder Schmeil.

Callings as a bishop and stake president allowed him “to minister and be close to the members.” He treasures the experiences where he’s been able to see the Church grow, “and more than that, to be able to see people changing their lives because of the testimony of the Savior and of the Book of Mormon.”

Travel obligations for his job made finding time for the callings difficult. “But I did learn to trust in my counselors,” he said. “I was blessed both times as a bishop and as a stake president that I had very good counselors. They were a great source of help and support, and to this day, I treasure those relationships. I was only able to serve because they were there to help me.”

During Elder Schmeil’s service as an Area Seventy, Sister Schmeil witnessed how the Lord gave him strength that “was not his own.”

Oftentimes, she wouldn’t travel with her husband on his assignments. But for a short period of time, she was able to join him on a couple mission tours. The experience left her exhausted when they returned. “I was blessed that I worked at home,” she said. “So the next day I could rest a bit.”

Elder Schmeil, on the other hand, had to still get up at 5:30 a.m. to go back to work.

She shared her testimony that those who are called by the Lord “are blessed with a strength that is beyond their own,” she said. “It was hard to keep up with them.”

Looking forward at the responsibilities and challenges of this new calling, Elder Schmeil said, “We’re just very, very happy for the opportunity,” even if they don’t know what exactly lies ahead.

Sister Schmeil was reminded of the experiences of the Latter-day Saint pioneers. “We have faith that the Lord knows what’s best, just like He did with the pioneers,” she said. “He knows what’s best for us and He will guide us.”