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There’s No Upside...

Michael Leavitt shares his innermost thoughts as they relate to his personal and family life. He can be heard to say often to his kids... “There’s no upside!”

NOTE: If you are interested in Michael’s business inspection related blog, then click on Bloggers in the left column and select Michael - Inspector.

LDS Missionary Companion - Elder Pierina

LDS Missionary Companion - Elder Pierina

ML2014NOVEMBER 17, 2016 - It was such a pleasure to open up Facebook today and see the new profile pic of Jose Carlos Pierina. About 29 years ago Elder Pierina and I served together as LDS (Mormon) missionaries proselyting amongst the people of Southern Brazil. We were assigned the Novo Hamburgo area, which was one of the strongest German influenced areas of Brazil. Many of the German SS leaders fled to this part of Brazil at the conclusion of World War II. It was not uncommon for us to knock on a door and a kind little German woman would answer. She would speak no Portugese or English, and neither my companion or I spoke German, so we would smile shake hands and wish her a good day. People mistook us for two Americans, when in fact it was just one, as Elder Pierina was Brasilian through and through.  Here is Elder Pierina's latest Facebook photo...


 As you can see, Elder Pierina has aged well and become quite a distinguished man. I am sitting here in my office as the first snowfall is blowing by my home office window flashing back on my mission memories. Look at the cover photo of this blog. Elder Pierina and I were standing atop the nicest apartment in the mission with the city of Novo Hamburgo behind us. I was at the 18 month point of my mission and Elder Pierina was about 10 months into his. I had become fluent with the language, fluent with our discussions, and having a blast teaching the people in our zone.  I was a long time Zone leader at that point and Elder Pierina had just received the calling of Zone Leader. He was willing to learn and our time was very divided between working in our own assigned area and doing regular divisions to work with the other 24 missionaries in our zone. He was excited by the new responsibilities and I had just had about enough of all the issues we had to deal with that kept us from just working with the people and sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  I absolutely loved bringing the message of the "Plan of Happiness" to the warmest and friendliest people I have ever met. All of the leadership responsibilities were a huge distraction to the normal proselyting work teaching families.

Here is a blog entry from December 6, 1987...


This entry confirms my memories of Elder Pierina's enthusiasm for the work. This is one of the most needed qualities for a Mormon missionary. Having a clear vision of the work and a strong testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ make for successful work. This equals being able to feel His love and share it with others. Reading the last paragraph from the entry above is also quite revealing of my desire to be able to just go out with the people. I will have to take time to share my request later in my mission to be released from the responsibilities of being a Zone Leader.... That was a life learning moment!... But more on that later.

Here is another great entry while working with Elder Pierina 6 days later...



This entry is also very revealing because I talk about my role as being a teacher and inspiration for other missionaries. We start our missionaries with our sites on converting thousands, and later realize that we can only touch a limited amount of people directly. The incredible realization is that our efforts are generational. As we taught the people, they became converted and their testimony's touched others, and so forth. I also found it important to inspire my fellow missionaries and help them achieve their fullest potential. Passing along tips and instilling confidence made them better, and thus even more people were touched.

HEARTBREAK - In my time spent in Brazil I went to the orphanages on a regular basis. The hardest part is that there was only so much we could do with them directly. My heart ached for them and I had to console myself to the fact that if I helped strengthen the grown-ups in my area, then their conversion could help strengthen the abandoned youth of the area. I have a friend from my junior high school years named Corenne Garrison (Smith) that married and her and her husband have devoted their lives to a Christian ministry that has placed them long term in Brazil where they are working with families and those abandoned souls. It is great to see how it takes the work of many to help bring about the saving 9helping) of souls in Brazil. I applaud all who devote their time to helping mankind, especially the tender of heart and abandoned youth in Brazil.

So let's come full circle in this blog entry, Elder Pierina and I loved the phrase, "Tough Guys Wear Black!" We deemed tough guys to be those willing to stand up for goodness and Godness! I invite each of you to join us as a "Tough Guy" and make this world a kinder place.

Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah


RIP Dad - Alfred Lloyd Leavitt Departed Mortality


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