The Camargos had been members of the Church for a little
over a year when they started noticing something was wrong with their baby.
One-year-old Milton couldn’t sit or stand up; any pressure on his legs
was extremely painful. Doctors suspected polio.
Since Elder Spencer W. Kimball
of the Quorum of the Twelve was coming to Rio de Janeiro for conference,
would it be possible, they wondered, for him to give their baby a blessing?
(At the time, Brother Camargo hadn’t yet received the Melchizedek Priesthood.)
Elder Kimball and mission president Wm. Grant Bangerter
were happy to respond.
When Brother Camargo came home for lunch the next
afternoon, he found the baby playing in the crib. To his surprise, the
little boy pulled himself up into a kneeling position, and then, holding
onto the rails of the crib, stood up for the first time! The
child was smiling—the pain and problems had disappeared.
“President Kimball is very special to our family,”
says Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo, of the
First Quorum of the Seventy. “I know he is a prophet of God.”
There was a time earlier in his life, however, when
he didn’t know anything about living prophets. Young Helio had graduated
from Academia Militar de Agulhas Negras (the Brazilian equivalent of West
Point), had been an officer in the army, had studied business administration,
and had worked in a bank. In 1956, while he was studying in a Methodist
seminary and serving as pastor, he and other theological students became
interested in knowing more about other religions. Brother Camargo looked
up a number in the phone book and called the LDS mission president, asking
if a representative could come and speak to the group. The two young missionaries
who came gave an excellent presentation, concluding with a baptismal challenge.
“No one accepted the challenge at the time,” he remembered, smiling. They
also left copies of the Book of Mormon and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
Months later, when Pastor Camargo experienced a crisis in his faith, he
turned to the books the missionaries had left and found the answers and
the peace he was searching for.
After their baptisms in 1957, Elder Camargo and his
wife, Nair, gave years of service to the Church. Sister Camargo served as a teacher and as Relief Society and Primary president. Elder
Camargo served as a teacher, bishop, counselor to two mission presidents,
stake president, mission president, and regional representative. Both
sang in the choir for many years.
“I believe every calling is important,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a deacon, a home teacher, or a General
Authority. I would love to be a Sunday School teacher again.” But he sensed
the immense responsibility associated with his new
calling: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with the Saints,
to work hard, and to serve the Lord.”
Of great joy to them was their family—twelve grandchildren
and five living children. All of their children were married in the
temple and are working actively in the Church. They love to get together
at the family “farm,” a picturesque mountain setting located between Rio
and Sao Paulo.
“When President [Gordon B.]
Hinckley asked me if I would accept this calling,” says Elder Camargo,
“I told him I would because I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ and
He is in charge. I know that with the Lord’s help, I can do this work—even
with my limitations. I don’t have any doubts that He is in charge.”
Elder Camargo served four years of his five-year call
in the First Quorum of the Seventy before being called to the then newly created
Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 1989. He served faithfully in
the Second Quorum for a year and a half before being honorably released
on October 6, 1990.
But the Lord was not through with Elder Camargo. After he was released from the Seventy he was called as the president of the Sao Paulo Temple.