From Ron Sasine: [Ron Sasine is an American member of the Church living and working in Campinas, Brazil. During April General Conference, President Hinckley announced that a new temple would be built in Campinas. Ground was broken for a temple in Recife, Brazil last November. Ron provides a brief history of the Church in Campinas: ]

Campinas is located in Southeastern Brazil in the interior portion of the state of Sao Paulo, about 60 miles from the city of Sao Paulo. Campinas has long served as a major agricultural center, having grown up during the coffee growing cycle in the early part of this century. The city was settled primarily by Italian and Portuguese immigrants, and to this day the region retains a strong European influence.

The Church came to Campinas in the 1940's, and despite the lack of North American missionaries, membership grew and a branch was organized, one of the first units of the Church established in Brazil. Baptisms were performed in the Atibaia River, in a part of town known as Sousas, where a separate branch of the Church has now been organized and where a chapel was recently dedicated.

In the early days of the Church in Campinas, local members took on important leadership roles, and many of them still reside in the area and provide continued strength to the Church. Brother Remo Roselli, a counselor in the first presidency of the Campinas Branch, was also one of the first Brazilians called to serve as a full-time missionary. His sister, Neuza, also served as a full-time missionary among the German settlers in Joinville, in southern Brazil.

With the passage of time, the Church continued to grow, and chapels were constructed throughout the city, many through the efforts of local members and Church construction missionaries. The dedication of the Sao Paulo temple in 1978 allowed the Saints in Campinas the opportunity to travel to the temple frequently, inasmuch as a bus trip from Campinas to Sao Paulo takes less than two hours and is generally within the budget of most members. Stake temple trips are held monthly, and many members currently serve as temple workers.

A mission in Campinas was formed in 1986 under the direction of President Sheldon Murphy, and missionary work in the region began to accelerate. This trend accompanied the growth of Campinas as a major regional center. The city has grown to over a million people in recent years and is surrounded by a series of medium-size and small towns. Missionary work has spread to these smaller towns, and since the mission's creation in 1986, it has been divided twice, with the creation of the Ribeirao Preto Mission in 1992 and the Marilia Mission in 1995. As people have moved to Campinas and the surrounding communities from other parts of the country, many have found the gospel through the work of their new neighbors. Wards and branches are made up of native "Campineiros" as well as members from all over Brazil--the North, the Northeast, and the South.

Units of the Church have grown and divided many times over, providing opportunities for many young Church leaders to serve their fellow members. Full-time missionary service is often the first opportunity some young converts have to learn the gospel as they teach others. Samuel Batista, son of a Baptist minister, joined the Church as a young man in nearby Jundiai. Guided by a wise and loving bishop who challenged him to serve a full-time mission, Samuel felt the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and left his home to serve in the Brazil Brasilia Mission for two years, without the support of his family. Since his return, he has served as a branch president, bishop's counselor, and stake high councilor. He is currently serving as stake young men's president, guiding other young men as he himself was guided by his youth leaders.

Likewise, "pioneer" families, like the family of Florindo Calssi, are now well into their third generation of Church membership. Brother Calssi joined the Church in 1950, after several years of investigation of the Church and its doctrines. He now serves as a member of the Campinas Flamboyant Stake High Council and as a temple worker in Sao Paulo. His children have followed his example of service, including several who have served full time missions and have also served as bishops. His grandchildren are now serving in callings in the youth and young single adult programs.

Saints in Campinas received an unexpected but thrilling surprise in April 1997 when President Gordon B. Hinckley announced in General Conference that a temple would be constructed in Campinas, indicating that "the need is great" for a temple in the area. With the great number of members of the church in Brazil, the Sao Paulo temple is now functioning on a 24-hour schedule during weekends, fulfilling prophecy of the day that temples would operate around the clock. The temple in Campinas is expected to relieve some of the heavy demand on the Sao Paulo temple, while providing closer access to the many members living in the interior portion of the country. The temple site selected by President Hinckley rests above a major highway linking Campinas to both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and overlooks the downtown area of Campinas and several outlying areas, including Sousas, the site of those first baptisms over fifty years ago. It will be a prominent location, and the temple will be visible to thousands of people who pass along the highway each day. When completed, the Campinas temple will be approximately 70 miles from the Sao Paulo temple, making the two temples the closest set of temples outside of the Wasatch Front, a testament to the faith of the members in the region.