Look inside the first visitors’ center in South America

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Guided on a tour by sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visitors walk through the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple Visitors’ Center.

Sister Kendra Earl and Brittni Burleigh speak about the Church and its history in this nation with 1.4 million members, 273 stakes and seven temples.

Pointing to photographs of pioneer members in Brazil, Sister Earl details the growth of the Church in South America.

Many visitors have a natural connection to the men and women who built the Church in the country, she said. They show “how God prepares individuals to do His work.”

Sister Emma Loftus and Sister Brooke Williams hold their copies of the Book of Mormon in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple visitors' center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug. 31, 2019.
Sister Emma Loftus and Sister Brooke Williams hold their copies of the Book of Mormon in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple visitors’ center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug. 31, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred

The visitors’ center — which includes interactive exhibits and a Christus statue — was dedicated on Jan. 21. It is one of 12 visitors’ centers worldwide and the first in South America.

Shortly after the visitors’ center opened, the city opened a new transit station nearby. Crowds that came to see the temple found an additional uplifting experience in the visitors’ center.

People of many faiths have come to the center. “People here love God and they love Christ,” Sister Earl said.

The visitors’ center director, Elder Antonio Casado, said the center reflects the love of the Brazilian people for one another and for the Savior.

It also reflects the efforts of those called to represent the Savior. The visitors’ center also includes an online teaching center where the 42 sister missionaries and three senior couples can teach online lessons. “This is a great strength to the missions around Brazil,” Elder Casado said. “The sister missionaries here teach two lessons and send the contact to local missionaries.”

Sister Sonia Milani Casado said people are drawn to “the spiritual strength they find” on the temple grounds and in the visitors’ center. “We are in the shadow of the temple,” she said. “They see the beauty and feel something special here.”

Photos are taken in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple Visitors' Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug. 31, 2019.
Photos are taken in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple Visitors’ Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug. 31, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred