Latter-day Saint Life

Why Brazilian billionaire Carlos Martins and his family are so missionary-minded

Carlos Martins with wife, Vânia and their son Elder Nicholas Martins.
Provided by Carlos Martins via Church News.

As Antônio Martins entered an elevator in Curitiba, Brazil, in the late 1960s, he noticed the elevator operator reading a book that looked like a Bible. “Brother, are you reading the Bible?” the young father and businessman asked.

José Athaydes, the elevator operator and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, replied: “I am reading the Book of Mormon. Are you a Mormon, too? To which branch do you belong?”

Antônio Martins, who wasn’t familiar with the Church, answered, “I belong to the branch of business and commerce.”

With a smile, Athaydes asked if he could send missionaries to visit his home. When Antônio Martins asked what they were going to talk about, Athaydes simply said, “About Jesus Christ.”

It’s a story Carlos Wizard Martins, the oldest of Antônio and Hilda Martins’ seven children, often tells. He remembers well the day the missionaries dressed in suits, white shirts, and ties came to their home, accompanied by Athaydes. Carlos and his parents joined the Church when he was 12 years old.

Now a 65-year-old father, grandfather, and one of Brazil’s most successful entrepreneurs, Carlos Martins’ eyes fill with tears when he thinks about Athaydes, his willingness to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the influence he has had on generations of the Martins family.

“He was a very simple man,” Carlos Martins said of Athaydes. “He rode a bicycle to work. He didn’t have much instruction. He was never a leader in the Church; he was just a member. But somehow he believed that every member was a missionary.”

Read the full article at Church News.

To hear more from Carlos Martins and his missionary efforts, you can listen to his interview on the All In podcast earlier this year in the player below.

► You may also like: Why a multi-million dollar company printed missionary pass-along cards in the back of its books

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