By Luiz Correa
Translated by Joel McDonald
In 2017, Affirmation Brazil was able to exercise our love for the Savior and for our neighbor. It was a year when so many sought Affirmation. It wasn’t just LGBT Mormons. It was also their families and people from other denominations who understood the purpose and mission of Affirmation Brazil.
It was a year where Affirmation sought to open doors by participating in LGBT events in the community, sharing its principles and values so that everyone knows the work that we do.
Many in Affirmation came to know the organization this year and are already donating their time to help with personal and organizational growth. Below some of them share what it’s like to be in Affirmation:
“I never lost the assurance that the heavenly Father loved me unconditionally independent of my choices, but for a period of time, I began to lose faith as I saw the leadership of the church treating issues as homosexuality with disdain and demonizing those who had such tendencies. In coming to know Affirmation, and people who think and live as I have, it has given back to me the hope and faith that Heavenly Father loves me. Affirmation for me is a new dawn of hope. It is the giving back of self-esteem, of self-acceptance! It is the rebirth of faith in God and in His work, which is to bring immortality and eternal life! Affirmation made me believe that my husband and I are really a family! I am eternally grateful to Affirmation and to new friends and brothers! Today I’m stronger because I know I’m not alone.”
José Denilio Dos Santos
“A friend introduced me to Affirmation. I was confused at first because I didn’t know if it was an NGO or a religion. I thought it was a church, which was not what I was looking for. Then I went to an Affirmation meeting. I came to understand that the organization is not a religion. Today I am grateful for it. I found many hugs and friendly words at Affirmation. In the most difficult times here in São Paulo, I found support in Affirmation. I am grateful for its existence and the opportunity it gives me to serve others. I feel more Christian than I did in sixteen years in the church.”
“Being an active member of the church for almost 15 years and feeling pressured to decided whether to follow your heart or turn away from friends and serving God is something that left me sad. I put it off for years but eventually came to a point where I could not bear it anymore. I had relationships with other women and stopped going to church. In Affirmation, I found the balance I needed. Having my spirituality back is wonderful, as is the conviction that out Heaven Father loves me and each of his children.”
Moisés Rodrigues Almeida
“I came to know Affirmation through a friend. Since I’ve never been a Mormon, I understood very little about child-related things. I understand that Affirmation is a family. I understand that Affirmation was created to support LGBT Mormons who suffer because of their love for a gospel that excludes them. I have found support in Affirmation. It is a wonderful and serious organization. I have had the opportunity to give server, which has made me feel more human and Christian. Thank you. You are my family.”
Karen and Rafael
This is a non-Mormon family who came to use this year when their son, Rafael, came out. They did not know how to face this situation within their family and with their friends and extended family.
“Please continue this wonderful work. Our discussions were so fruitful. Rafael’s father allowed Rafael’s boyfriend to come into our home. Thank you again.”
With the support of these wonderful people and others who have arrived, we can continue this work that is bringing love, comfort and hope to those who have not yet met in this world in any way.
With the support of these wonderful people and others who came to Affirmation this year, we continue this work of bringing love, comfort, and hope to those in need who have yet to connect with us.
The Presidency of Affirmation Brazil is deeply grateful for all the help, prayer, and support given over this past year.
May the year 2018 be a year of more work and dedication for all of us, for there is still much to be done.